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Double-overtime OVC battle goes to Lady Govs by two points

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Tech mixed things up Thursday night, changing the starting lineup for the first time in 18 games and sprinkling in a whole lot of minutes for five freshmen, and the Golden Eagles almost found the right combination at Austin Peay.

Almost.

The host Lady Govs escaped with an 83-81 double-overtime Ohio Valley Conference victory in the Dunn Center.

Freshmen Tacarra Hayes came off the bench to lead the Golden Eagles. She was the last player to score for Tech in both overtime periods, the first time giving the Golden Eagles a one-point lead with 1:08 remaining before APSU tied it with one free throw. Hayes hit a jumper with 1:19 to go in the second overtime to get the visitors within one point, and she took the final shot of the night in a desperation attempt to reach a third overtime.

Hayes scored a career-best 20 points and had six rebounds and two blocked shots. She was 10-for-11 at the free throw line.

Sophomore Jasmine White's buzzer beater layup sent the game to its first overtime. White finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Senior Blair Bowens added 14 points and five assists, while Stirrup had 13 points. Freshman Kelleshia Cook, playing a career-high 29 minutes, led Tech with six assists and added five rebounds. Senior Meagan Lyons chipped in with seven points and 10 rebounds.

Whitney Hanley led APSU with 19 point sand six rebounds, while Ashley Herring added 18 points and five boards. April Thomas scored 16 points and grabbed five boards. Brooke Faulkner had nine points and 10 rebounds, while point guard Emily Pollock contributed eight points, seven assists and four steals.

Tech led 34-31 at halftime after the Golden Eagles overcame an early seven-point APSU lead.

Tech's largest lead of the night was five points, when Lyons hit a jumper to open the second half and make it a 36-31 Golden Eagle lead.

The score was tied for its 10th time, 55-55, before Stirrup scored nine consecutive points for the Golden Eagles to push Tech to a 58-55 lead with 6:16 remaining. The score was tied again at 62-62 before APSU went on top by four, 68-64, with one minute to play.

White scored Tech's final five points of regulation including a layup with 39 seconds left to make it a one point deficit, 68-67. After Hanley made one free throw with 13 second to go, White grabbed a missed 3-point try by Bowens and put it off the glass as the buzzer sounded to send it to the first extra session.

APSU scored the first three points of the overtime before White scored four in a row for a one-point lead, 73-72. The teams exchanged baskets, with Hayes making it 75-74 before Pollock's free throw with 16 seconds left tied it for a second overtime.

A big 3-pointer by Herring followed a Hayes layup, and put APSU on top to stay, 80-77. The Lady Govs went up 82-78, but Tech continued to battle back. First, Lyons made two free throws to cut it to three, then Hayes dropped in a pair to make it 82-81 with 1:19 to go.

Herring made one free throw for an 83-81 lead with 17 seconds to go, and Tech couldn't get another tying basket.

The Golden Eagles will visit Tennessee State Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. contest against the Lady Tigers in the Gentry Center.

GOLDEN NUGGETS: It was the first overtime game this season for the Golden Eagles...It was Tech's first double-overtime game in 11 seasons, since falling in three overtime periods at Eastern Kentucky in the 1997-98 season...It was the first double-overtime game for APSU in 12 years....It was the first career start for Simone Rutledge, who was in the lineup in place of Vivian Nwosu...Tech leads the all-time series with Austin Peay, 66-14...the win for APSU snapped a three-game win streak over the Lady Govs by the Golden Eagles.