Freshman Molly Heady led Tech with 12 points Saturday
COOEKVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay invaded Eblen Center and stole a 63-57 Ohio Valley Conference victory Saturday night, denying Tennessee Tech the chance to clinch the league title outright.
Tech, which has earned at least a share of the 2011 crown, heads out of conference play next Tuesday, then returns to Eblen Center Saturday to host Jacksonville State to finish the regular season.
Despite the loss, Tech (20-6/14-3) still owns a one-game edge on Morehead State and UT Martin. The Lady Govs (12-16/11-6), meanwhile, kept their hopes alive of a second-place finish.
Four APSU players scored in double figures, led by Brooke Faulkner with 14. Nicole Olszewski had 12 points, while both Jasmine Rayner and Meghna Bussabarger netted 11. Bussabarger and Shyra Brown grabbed eight rebounds each for the Lady Govs, helping them to a 44-34 rebound edge.
Freshman Molly Heady topped Tech in scoring with 12 points while Briana Jordan added 11 and Tacarra Hayes had 10points. Hayes and Brittany Darling led Tech on the boards with six each.
The first half was a classic tug-of-war, with the score tied seven times and the lead swapping benches 13 times. Tech's largest first-half lead was three points, which they gained twice, the last being at 16-13 with 11:42 remaining.
Austin Peay's biggest advantage was five points, coming on a jumper by Brooke Faulkner at the 7:08 mark to make it 24-19.
Tech battled back to tie things at 30-30, before Kaitlyn Hill's basket with 33 seconds to go put APSU in the lead, 32-30, at halftime.
The lead changed hands eight more times in the second half, and was knotted four more times as the battle waged on.
After the 11th tie score at 52-52, a 3-pointer by Jordan with 2:10 remaining pushed the Golden Eagles into a 55-54 lead, which would prove to be their last.
Hanley answered with a 3-pointer at the 1:46 mark to put APSU up, 57-55, and the visitors added three straight free throws to make it 60-55 with 38 seconds to play.
Bussbarger's charity toss with 23 seconds made it 61-55, before Rachel Glidden hit two for the Golden Eagles following a technical foul against Hanley. That made it 61-57, and Handley added two free throws for the final margin.
Tech steps out of conference play for the final time during the regular season, visiting future OVC foe SIU Edwardsville on Tuesday as part of a doubleheader with the Golden Eagle men's team. Tipoff time is at 5:30 p.m.
The next home game in Eblen Center, and the final home game of the year, is next Saturday (Feb. 26) with an OVC doubleheader against Jacksonville State.
For tickets, call (931) 372-3940 or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center.