Karle Pace drives in during a loss against Belmont. Zoe Mills|The All State

The Austin Peay Women’s Basketball team saw their season come to an end Friday afternoon, as the Governors lost in the OVC semifinals to one-seeded Belmont, 63-51. 

APSU was competitive for most of the game, but big runs by Belmont in the first and third quarters proved to be too much for the Govs.

“Overall, I am very proud of the fight our team had tonight.” Austin Peay Head Coach Brittany said. “When Belmont went up in the third quarter we could have easily hung our heads and allowed a big lead to continue to grow, but you saw what Austin Peay Women’s Basketball is and these ladies fought until the end.” 

Austin Peay showed an inability to stop the Bruins inside, as they allowed 34 points in the paint and 20 total points from Belmont center Madison Bartley. The only player for Austin Peay that consistently showed the ability to stop Bartley, Shy Booker, was in foul trouble for most of the second half, which allowed Belmont to grow their lead. 

APSU had a response for Belmont’s runs, however, and most of those responses were led by Senior Karle Pace, who finished with 10 points for the game. 

Pace, a graduate senior, has been the number one option for APSU all season. She is originally from Clarksville, but played her previous four years of college at Eastern Illinois, before transferring to Austin Peay to finish out her college career. 

“It just felt really good to be home this season with my family in the stands for every game,” said Pace “I think we’ve let people know that Austin Peay is here and we’re not going anywhere.”

This was Head Coach Brittany Young’s first season at the helm of the Austin Peay program. The Governors finished with a 19-11 record, while winning their first conference tournament game since 2012. 

“Coming here to this program, the goal for my staff and I was to turn Austin Peay Women’s Basketball into a national program that’s known and one of the top mid-major programs in the country. Those goals don’t change.” said Young. “You can’t accomplish those things without a group of ladies like we had this season. Somebody has to set the tone and usually that happens in year two or year three, but we’re so blessed, in year one,  to have a group that immediately flipped the script and turned the page for this program.”

Belmont Head Coach Bart Brooks was also very impressed with Coach Young’s first season as head coach and the direction of the Austin Peay program going forward. 

“She really pushes you as a coach,” said Brooks. “To do that as a first year coach shows that she has that program in a different place of confidence. That was a really good team that we beat and I really can’t say enough great things about her.”

This will be the final OVC tournament appearance for the Governors, as they will transition to the A-Sun conference starting next season.