Tournament time is upon us.
APSU begins their 2020 conference tournament Wednesday and will vie for a conference championship as the seventh seed, alongside an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.
The Governors’ Ohio Valley hopes begin Mar. 4, who will face off against Belmont in the first round. Head coach Bart Brooks has lead his team to a second consecutive top-two seed in the OVC, producing a 16-2 record in conference.
The Bruins have won the previous six meetings against the Govs, a streak dating back three seasons, but were taken to the wire during a January game in Clarksville. Despite another strong defensive final period in the game, Ellie Harmeyer’s driving layup made all the difference in the contest. APSU would get an opportunity to walk away with a victory, in-bounding the ball with 1.4 seconds to play, but were unable to get a shot off before the final buzzer. The final score was 53-52.
If the Governors were to upset the second-ranked Bruins, the winner of Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee Tech would meet them in the semifinals. The Govs were swept by SEMO in the regular season by a margin of 25.5 points. The last victory against the Redhawks came a season ago in the Dunn, a 56-54 win Feb. 21, 2019.
As for the Golden Eagles, Tech defeated the Govs in their lone match up this season, winning 58-49 in Cookeville. An unfortunate fourth downed the Governors in that game, being outscored 23-10 in the final frame.
Following a semifinal victory, the Govs would advance to the OVC championship game Saturday, Mar. 7., with a first round match up against the Skyhawks of UT-Martin.
The Govs have dropped the previous five meetings against Martin, dating back to February 2018. A 65-61 loss at the Elam Center was the result of the most recent contest, a game that saw APSU knock down 12 three-pointers but, very similarly with Tennessee Tech, failed to stop UTM defensively, being outscored 22-10 in the final period.
“It’s a clean slate for us,” Ella Sawyer said on the opportunity to compete for a conference title, following a 21-point outburst against Morehead State. “We didn’t have the best conference, but hopefully we can do better [in the tournament]. We can beat some of the top teams, we’ve shown that we can compete with them. I think we definitely have the talent, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
The Governors will have an uphill battle when the ball tips off in Evansville, Ind., but will look for a Cinderella run throughout the entirety of the tournament. It’s time for March Madness.