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Champs battle on the road to three-peat

By MARLON SCOTT | Senior Staff Writer

Instead of new year’s resolutions, the Lady Govs are focused on earning their third straight OVC Championship.

“We want to win a conference championship, and to do that we have to bring it every night,” said Lady Govs head coach Carrie Daniels.

The team began the year in the middle of a six-game road trip. They have played six games in January so far, five in the OVC.

The Lady Govs went 3-3 in those games including 3-2 in the OVC. They are currently ranked fourth in the conference with a 7-14, 6-3 OVC record.

Sunday, Jan. 2, at UAB; 55-60

The Lady Govs were their own worst enemy against the Blazers. They committed a season-high 27 turnovers. After a quick start the Lady Govs hit a scoring drought that put them behind 35-20 at halftime.

Despite the turnovers, the team battled to a 48-48 tie with 4:20 left in the game.

However, it was the Blazers who finished strong. Blazer Amanda Peterson ignited a game-ending 12-7 run with a 3-pointer.

Lady Govs senior guard Brooke Faulkner led the team with 17 points.

Junior center Jasmine Rayner and freshman guard Nicole Olszewski both added 12 points.

Thursday, Jan. 6, at Tennessee Martin; 54-78

The Skyhawks dealt the Lady Govs their fourth loss in a row. They dominated the Lady Govs in the second half of the game, outscoring them 45-26.

The Lady Govs shot just 27 percent (9-of-34) in the second half and 30 percent (20-of-66) from the field in the game. After they tied the game 23-23 at the 4:28 mark in the first half, the Lady Govs would remain behind the rest of the game.

Junior guard Whitney Hanley led the team with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Delilah Thomas scored 10 and sophomore guard Neika Smith scored nine points. Rayner pulled down 11 rebounds, but scored only seven.

Saturday, Jan. 8, at Murray State; 71-55

The Lady Govs losing streak ended at Murray State. The team started the game behind the Racers 14-2, but went on a 24-6 run to take control of the game. They led 35-22 at halftime and pushed it to 20 points, 54-34, with 9:10 remaining. The Racers were unable to close the gap.

Hanley scored her second double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Olszewski added 17 points to go with five rebounds and five assists. Freshman center Shyra Brown scored 14, the first points of her college career.

Saturday, Jan. 15, at Tennessee State; 60-45

The Lady Govs earned their second OVC win in a row against the Tennessee State Lady Tigers.

The game remained close until the second half. The Lady Govs led by only one point, 28-27, with 17:13 left in the game.

However, by the 6:14 mark, the team’s defense had shut down the Lady Tigers and established a 51-35 lead. Tennessee State was held to just six second-half field goals. They committed 23 turnovers and were held to 26 percent (14-of-55) shooting.

Sophomore forward Meghan Bussabarger earned her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Rayner scored 12 points and pulled down six rebounds. Olszewski added 11 points.

Thursday, Jan. 20, vs. Tennessee Tech; 65-69

After six games on the road starting in December, the Lady Govs finally got to come home.

Despite their best efforts, their return home ended with a loss to conference opponent Tennessee Tech.

The game came down to the wire. With 35 seconds remaining in the game, Olszewski made a pair of free throws to bring the Lady Govs within one, 61-62.

However, fouls sent Tech’s Rachel Glidden to the free throw line where she scored four consecutive points. Both Olszewski and Rayner scored in the last 26 seconds, but it was not enough to get the win. Tech won the game from the free-throw line.

Rayner earned her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Olszewski scored 15 points and both Faulkner and Hanley added 12.

Saturday, Jan. 22, vs. Jacksonville State; 65-54

The Lady Govs earned their sixth OVC win of the season at home against the Gamecocks.

Despite making only nine field goals in the first half, the Lady Govs went into halftime trailing by only one, 31-32.

Opening the second half with a 10-4 run, the Lady Govs scored 34 points while holding the Gamecocks to only seven field goals.

They led by as much as 16 points before finishing the game with the win. Bussabarger recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Rayner scored eleven points and Thomas added 10. Hanley grabbed 12 rebounds to go with her nine points.

According to APSU Sports Information, Daniels described her team’s effort after their latest win.

“The excitement, the emotion, the energy, everything that we have been talking about, they put on the floor,” Daniels said. TAS

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