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Lady Govs’ basketball sizzle in second half to overcome flat first half

The Lady Govs’ basketball team was able to finish strong after starting slow in Sunday, Nov. 18’s game against Binghamton, pushing past the visiting Bearcats, 71-67.

The team’s performance in the first half could be compared to an old diet coke two-liter: flat and not up to standards, but the team was able to add some mentos to their performance (see http://youtu.be/9vk4_2xboOE for the reference), exploding in the second half in dominating and powerful fashion.

“We were just flat,” said Lady Govs head coach, Carrie Daniels. “I don’t think from the tip we were ready to go and play and they wanted it.”

The game looked like it would be dominated down low by APSU early, but an injury would set the Lady Govs back. Just over two minutes into the game, senior forward and leader Meghan Bussabarger went down awkwardly on her back, leaving the game and being taken to the hospital for x-rays on her neck for precautionary reasons. Bussabarger started strong, adding four points in her few minutes on the court.

After going back and forth, Binghamton would open up the game midway through the first half, erasing a four-point deficit and taking a 10-point lead into the half after ending the half on a 22-8 run to go into the locker room with a 31-21 lead. Sloppy play, including nine turnovers and poor shooting, along with the loss of Bussabarger and center Kaitlyn Hill to early foul trouble, hindered the Lady Govs. APSU was seven of 24 from the field in the half.

“In the first half, the turnovers were on us. They were things we were doing to ourselves,” said Daniels.

The second half was a different story for the Lady Govs, as they were able to erase the halftime deficit and double their point total in just over eight minutes.

“We talked about attacking them (at halftime)…I felt we did a much better job of attacking them in the second half,” said Daniels.

Leslie Martinez would take over the game for the Lady Govs, setting the tone for the half. Martinez picked up the slack left behind by the absence of Bussabarger. She finished the game with 20 points, 13 of them in the second half. She played all 20 minutes in the second half, and went six of eight from the foul line to help ice the game for the Lady Govs.

The Lady Govs would open the half with two consecutive three-pointers, and never slowed down. They were able to limit themselves to only three turnovers, while forcing 10 by Binghamton and responding with 10 points off those turnovers.

APSU would get a big lift from freshmen in the game, especially from forward Alexis Hardaway and guard Tiasha Gray. Gray came into the game for the first time six minutes into the second half, and never left the game. Gray had two steals on her first three possessions in the game, both of them leading to fast-break points and adding a spark to the team to help them overcome their deficit and build a lead.

“It was huge…I was very proud to see (Gray) step up…that’s the Tiasha we have to have each and every game,” said Daniels. Gray would finish with seven points and four steals, not turning the ball over once. Hardaway played 37 minutes in replacement for Bussabarger, accounting for 10 points and six rebounds. Hill, a senior, would return in the second half and add a big boost as well. Hill had 14 points and nine rebounds, six of them offensive, as well as adding a strong post presence on defense for the half.

The Lady Govs would reach their biggest lead at nine points with three minutes left to play and would hang on down the stretch despite a strong push from Binghamton.

The win is the first on the season for APSU, making their record 1-2, while Binghamton falls to 0-3 on the season. The team will travel to San Antonio over the break to take on Texas-San Antonio and William & Mary on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24.

About Daniel "Fig" Newton, Sports Editor

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