Tech falls to in-state OVC rival Austin Peay 87-84 in overtime thriller

Tech falls to in-state OVC rival Austin Peay 87-84 in overtime thriller

By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Tech women's basketball team (4-12, 1-2 OVC) fell to Austin Peay (7-9, 1-2 OVC) in an overtime thriller on Thursday. A three from Hannah Goolsby with a second on the clock sent the game into overtime, however, the Governors held on to sneak out an 87-84 victory over the Golden Eagles.

The victory for Austin Peay brought the series score to 76-20, however, still in favor of Tech. This also marked the first overtime contest the two teams have competed in since 2009, when the Governors defeated the Golden Eagles 83-81 in a double overtime contest in Clarksville.

Austin Peay went away with it in the beginning of the first quarter, opening with a 13-4 lead over Tech. But it was a game of runs as the Golden Eagles quickly recovered their deficit to pull within three points of the Governors at 17-14 with a layup from Asia Harper and 2:35 to go in the quarter. However, staying true to the theme of the quarter Austin Peay closed out action with an 8-0 run to lead Tech 28-14 heading into the second.

As second quarter play opened up, the Golden Eagles quickly pulled back within four of the Governors with a three from Yaktavia "Shug" Hickson at the 7:35 mark drawing the score to 28-24. From there, Tech and APSU held a tight contest as the Golden Eagles tied things up at 31-31 with a jumper from Goolsby and 1:22 on the clock. Tech continued to play strong as they outscored Austin Peay by a 16-9 margin in the quarter. However, the Governors ended still with the slight advantage at 34-33.

 At the break, the Golden Eagles were shooting 41.7 percent from the floor, 50 percent from the three-point range, and 50 percent from the free throw line while Austin Peay was shooting 59.1 percent from the field, 62.5 percent from downtown, and 50 percent from the charity stripe. The Governors outrebounded the Golden Eagles by a 17-15 margin, however, Tech forced 13 APSU turnovers while allowing just nine.

With play starting up in the third quarter, both the Governors and Golden Eagles were ready to fight. A jumper from Lindsey Jennings at the 5:54 mark held Tech within two at 39-37. However, Austin Peay quickly generated a lead again at 44-37 with a three from Falon Baker. The Governors began to pull away at 48-42 with a jumper from Beth Rates and 1:30 on the clock. But a late quarter surge and two at the line from Harris before the buzzer kept the Golden Eagles right in it at 51-48 heading into the fourth quarter.

Austin Peay and Tech opened the fourth quarter neck-and-neck. The Golden Eagles continued to ride their third quarter momentum and took a slight lead at 52-51 with a layup from Harper. The Governors refused to relent and quickly retook a four-point lead at 60-56 with a jumper from Sydney Gooch at the 6:24 mark. From there, the Golden Eagles held on and pulled back within one at 65-64 with a layup from Harris and 3:30 now remaining in regulation. Things began to seem bleak for Tech, but the Golden Eagles would not give up faith. Austin Peay pulled ahead by six at 72-66 with a minute remaining in the quarter. But just when the Governors thought they had the game in the bag, the Golden Eagles stormed in and cut the Austin Peay lead down to five points (77-72) with 24 seconds to go. The crowd grew excited as Tech began to edge closer and closer to the Governors lead. With 14 seconds on the clock an Austin Peay foul sent Goolsby to the line who knocked down two-of-two to edge Tech even closer at 74-77. Finally, an ill-timed (on Austin Peay's behalf) turnover set up the perfect opportunity for the Golden Eagles to retaliate and a Goolsby three-pointer with a second to go in the matchup got everyone on their feet as Tech had tied things up at 77-77 and forced the contest to overtime.

Into overtime, everyone in the Hooper Eblen Center was hyped. Two early fouls sent the Governor's Tearra Banks to the line who connected on all four attempts, quickly giving Austin Peay the 81-77 advantage just 30 seconds into the overtime. But Tech would not let that get them down. The Golden Eagles battled back to one point (83-82) of the Governors with a Harper layup and 1:52 to go in the contest. Tech remained in hot pursuit of APSU and went on to retie the game at 84-84 with a Harris jump shot at the 1:18 mark. However, it did not fall into place for the Golden Eagles this time as the Governors slipped away with an 87-84 victory, closing the contest with three points at the charity stripe.

Goolsby led Tech with 18 points, six boards, and three assists, while teammate Hickson totaled 17 points with five boards and a career-best five steals. Harper also scored in double-figures notching a 11 points in the contest accompanied with three assists, while teammate Akia Harris tied her career-high with 12 points and dished out a team-high nine assists and grabbed seven off the glass for the Golden Eagles. Jennings also posted double-figures in the matchup with 14 points, adding six boards and two steals to her efforts.

Five APSU players scored in double figures including Bri Williams who tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Other Governors with double digit points were Tearra Banks with a game-high 22, Falon Baker who totaled 19, Keisha Gregory who recorded 13, and Beth Rates who posted 12 in the contest.

As a team, Tech shot 40.8 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 70.8 percent from the free throw line, while Austin Peay shot 47.3 percent from the floor, 52.6 percent from the three-point range, and 75.8 percent from the line. The Governors corralled 41 rebounds to the Golden Eagle's 39, however, APSU allowed 21 turnovers to Tech's 18.

Tech will return to action on Saturday when the Golden Eagles host Murray State in a 5:30 p.m. contest at the Hooper Eblen Center.

Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information