For the first time since March 4, the APSU women’s basketball team took the court. The Govs traveled to Florence, Al. and came away with an impressive 88-78 victory over the North Alabama Lions.

The recipe for any David Midlick-led team is to play aggressive defense, spread the floor for shooters and let those shooters shoot—his team was able to do just that against UNA.

Behind stellar performances from Shay-Lee Kirby and Brianah Ferby, the Govs were able to come away with their first win in very Governor-like fashion.

Kirby was on fire right out of the gate for APSU. She had eight after the first buzzer and by the half totaled 16 of her team’s 37 points. Midway through the third, Kirby broke her career-high in scoring that she set in her APSU debut last year against Kentucky Wesleyan. The Vienna, W. Va. native would finish the contest with 26 on a team-high five made threes, three steals and a pair of blocks.

Next to Kirby, Brianah Ferby also had a great game behind a 26-point performance. The senior simply took over during the final 20 minutes of play. She earned 20 second-half points and was only one three away from breaking her career high of 28, which she set in her freshman season. Ferby would finish 4-7 from deep with six rebounds and three steals.

Any win should be celebrated, but this one may deserve a bit more credit than what a box score could dictate. The Govs suited up just nine players for the contest, and were without five players entering the contest. Four contributors—Ella Saywer, Tahanee Bennell, Kasey Kidwell and D’Shara Booker—are dealing with indefinite suspensions handed down by the athletic department, while freshman Jayla Kimbrough was out with a season-ending injury she suffered over the offseason.

Brianah Ferby poured in 26 in the Govs season-opening game at North Alabama. MAISIE WILLIAMS | THE ALL STATE
Brianah Ferby poured in 26 POINTS in the Govs season-opening game at North Alabama.

With multiple key players out, and the entire sports world on day-to-day basis, Midlick credits his team for sticking together through the adversity.

“This team has a lot of reason not to come out and tuck their tail, and they decided to come together,” Midlick said. “We have had a really good week of practice [and] had a good pregame practice yesterday. With their effort, win or lose today, I have been really proud of them and what they have done in this past week under tough circumstances. To get a win against a well-coached and successful basketball team, there’s nothing more I can say other than I am proud of their effort.”

A key point to the victory that the coach mentioned after the game was his team’s passion to put on the red and black and return to the court after an unconventional offseason.

“They’ve done everything I have asked them to do and more,” Midlick said. “They have come together as a group. I think they were really excited to put on an Austin Peay uniform and be able to play a game. There have just been so many times from talking with them from late March all the way through before we even got on the bus and realized this was going to be a reality that you just wonder ‘Is this going to happen, is this going to happen?’ 

“We had nine players that were ready to play and they all contributed. They not only contributed in the game today, they contributed during the entire fall of practice and not losing hope and being able to be coached by me and my coaches and being good teammates.”

The Governors will return home and look to do battle with the Trevecca Trojans this Saturday. Tip-off is set for 1pm.

APSU is allowing fans for basketball home games, but with limited capacity as they look to give fans a safe and exciting environment to cheer on their Govs. For questions regarding the University’s plan for home games contact the ticketing office at (931)-221-PEAY (7329).