Austin Peay seemed to have all the answers Thursday in a 77-65 final over SIUE women’s basketball at the Dunn Center.
The Governors hit 10 of 23 three-pointers (43.5 percent) and connected on 23 of 27 shots (85.7 percent) from the free-throw line. Austin Peay grabbed a 33-16 lead by halftime and clawed back to .500 overall (11-11) with the win.
“We did some great things in the second half,” said SIUE head coach Paula Buscher. “We just put ourselves in too big of a hole.”
SIUE, 10-12 overall and 5-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference, was down by as many as 19 points in the second half but pulled within single digits in the fourth period. Micah Jones led the push with 13 of her team-high 17 points coming in the second half.
“We started to get aggressive and were doing some of the things we needed to do on the offensive end,” noted Buscher. “We made a good comeback.”
Christen King added 12 of her 14 points in the second half with the Cougars hitting 50 percent (17-34) in the final 20 minutes.
But the first half is when Austin Peay grabbed its lead and held on. Arielle Gonzalez-Varner recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Nieja Crawford and Brandi Ferby joined Gonzalez-Varner for Austin Peay scoring honors with 13 points each. Keisha Gregory finished with 12 and a team-best four assists.
SIUE was held to just eight points in each of the first two periods after shooting 7 of 22 from the field (31.8 percent) and appearing on the line four times, but flexed its offensive muscles in the third and fourth periods, collecting 25 and 24 points respectively.
The Cougars also controlled the boards with a 39-28 edge over the Governors. SIUE turned its 18 offensive rebounds into 22 points.
SIUE now heads to Murray State for a 5 p.m. matchup Saturday.