Austin Peay defeated Jacksonville State 61-51 during Saturday’s OVC game at the Dunn Center. ROBERT SMITH | APSU ATHLETICS

The APSU women’s basketball team found themselves on the right end of a 9-2 run on Saturday, Jan. 23 to hold off a hungry Jacksonville State squad.

Despite holding a commanding 35-17 advantage at the break, the Governors saw their deficit trimmed to as little as three points in the fourth. Instead of being handed their fourth consecutive loss, the Govs scored nine of the last 11 points over the final four minutes to come away with their sixth Ohio Valley Conference victory.

After suffering three straight conference losses — including Thursday’s 66-61 defeat to Tennessee Tech — APSU needed a win to remain competitive in the conference standings. Governors’ head coach David Midlick had little complaints regarding his team’s play during their losing streak, but noted the importance of Saturday’s win.

“I don’t think we played poorly on Thursday,” he said. “I’m usually pretty critical when I watch the film…But I have not been displeased with how we’ve played, even with the three losses. We had three games where we didn’t shoot the ball well.

“Some things could be corrected with ball movement and pace of play, but I was happy for our ladies to have some success tonight. I’m sure in their mind, obviously, a win gives them more confidence than a close loss.”

The Govs started and finished the contest with positive scoring runs, eventually jumping out to a 20-11 lead by the end of one. Their 17-point edge at intermission was the largest of the game, and was emphasized by their eight first half assists on 12 made field goals.

Ella Sawyer hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds against Jacksonville State. ROBERT SMITH | APSU ATHLETICS
Ella Sawyer hauled in a career-high 10 rebounds against Jacksonville State.

Jacksonville State would slowly climb back into the game, however. The Governors saw their lead dwindled to six points by the end of the third, thanks to the Gamecocks’ 21 free-throw attempts after the break.

With their second close game of the week hanging in the balance, Midlick expected his athlete’s minds to be far away from the late 7-0 run allowed on Thursday against TTU to give the Golden Eagles a win.

“I hope we didn’t have Tennessee Tech on our mind. We talk about it for about two minutes, show some clips of the good and the bad and move on…I don’t think that they panicked. They took what I said and what the coaching staff said during the timeout, we ran a few really good sets, got some good looks at the basket and a few shots fell.”

Consistent shooting from deep kept the game in APSU’s possession until the final buzzer. The Gamecocks allowed a season-high nine made triples in the contest, almost double what JSU allows on average defensively. Jacksonville State came into the game ranked first in the OVC for three-point defense.

The win plants the Governors in fourth place for the regular season OVC standings, with a conference record of 6-3. Their next game will be at home in the second installment of this year’s Battle of the Border. Mu**ay State travels to the Dunn Center on Monday, Jan. 25.