This year’s first official taste of Austin Peay basketball brought something old and something new to those in attendance.
Clarksville native Karle Pace and College of Charleston transfer Cameron Copeland led their respective teams to exhibition wins on Thursday, Nov. 4.
Pace scores 14 in return to Clarksville
Eastern Illinois transfer and Rossview High School graduate Karle Pace put up 14 points and three steals in the women’s 67-44 win over Freed-Hardeman. Pace started out slow, but the graduate student came alive in the second half to lead the team in her return to Clarksville.
“It was definitely really good coming back and having the Austin Peay jersey on this time while I play,” she said. “I’m at home. It just feels good.”
“We want her to be a steady piece to our puzzle every single night,” added first-year head coach Brittany Young. “Someone that just kind of keeps everyone calm and is able to get to her spots and get her shots comfortably, which I think she did.”
The Governors forced 21 takeaways and scored 27 points off turnovers. After holding a four-point lead at the break, APSU benefited from a 39-20 second half to push past the Lady Lions.
Lyric Cole – a freshman from Memphis, Tennessee – tied Pace as the leading scorer with 14 points. Liz Gibbs, Nina De Leon Negron and Yamia Johnson all scored at least six.
Young said that each night, including Thursday’s exhibition, will be counted as a learning experience for the team and her staff.
“Any time a new group comes together like this, the identity of the team changes,” Young said. “The players have to find their own individual roles. They have to figure out how those individual roles fit collectively as a group.”
Copeland leads charge in commanding win over Life
Junior wing Cameron Copeland led all scorers with 18 points in a 92-63 win over Life University.
Copeland, who’s played at North Florida, McLennan Community College and College of Charleston, is one of eight newcomers to the men’s basketball team.
He matched his season high from last year on 6-of-7 shooting in the win.
“I have to step up now because we have a lot of freshmen,” Copeland said. “Out of all the colleges I’ve played (at), this is the one with the most freshmen. They gave me a challenge to step up and start showing them how Division I basketball is.”
The Governors scored 14 of the first 17 points and never trailed in the game. They shot 54% from the floor and had 42 points in the paint.
Six players scored at least 10 points in the contest: four-star recruit Elijah Hutchins-Everett, Caleb Stone-Carrawell, Drew Calderon, Corbin Merritt and Tariq Silver all finished in double figures.
Five of the six players were brought in by new head coach Nate James this offseason.
“All these guys are just discovering who they can be,” James said.
“Hopefully as we get into real games, all this offensive scoring and guys making shots continues. But I think, with our depth, we can really wear teams out with it.”
Both teams begin their regular season on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The men host UT Southern, and the women travel to the University of Evansville.