After falling 54-50 to the Belmont Bruins in the first round of the OVC Tournament, the most unprecedented season in program history has come to a close for APSU women’s basketball.
In a year that featured multiple game postponements and cancellations, record breaking performances, bragging rights over archrivals, late-game heroics and more, the 2020-21 basketball season was far from normal for David Midlick’s Governors.
After their brief four-game, non-conference schedule ended on a buzzer-beater falling the wrong way against Chattanooga, the Govs entered OVC play motivated to improve upon their 2-2 record.
Starting 5-0 against their conference competition, the Governors were off to their best start in league play since Susie Gardner’s 2003 OVC Championship run that saw the program post a perfect 16-0 record against the conference.
The team’s hot streak came to a close in Martin, Tenn. against the Skyhawks and began one of two three-game losing streaks sustained during the season.
As they had the year prior, the Govs swept The First Financial Battle of the Border against Mu**ay State. It marked their sixth win over the Racers in the last seven tries.
The Govs finished their final eight games of the regular season on a 3-5 stretch and entered the OVC Tournament in Evansville, Ind. as a seventh seed. Midlick and company were set to face off against the Bruins for the second consecutive year.
While APSU was unable to make it past the first round once again, the postseason appearance marked the program’s sixth tournament showing in as many years. With an appearance next season, Midlick would tie Gardner’s record for consecutive OVC Tournament trips that she set from 1997 to 2003.
Midlick’s 10-8 OVC record marked the second time the coach has finished with a conference winning record against the OVC. It is also the second time the program has finished over the .500 mark and had double-digit conference wins in over a decade.
Finishing 6-5 in the Winfield Dunn Center, Midlick has not had a losing record at home since taking over in 2015.
After graduating only three players a season ago, the Governors will be without five members of this year’s team when they take the court for the 2021-22 season next winter.
Tahanee Bennell, Myah LeFlore, Kelen Kenol, Brianah Ferby and Brandi Ferby comprise a senior class that has combined for over 2,200 points and 400 games in their career. With the exception of Bennell — who transferred to APSU prior to the 2019-20 season — all five graduating players have spent their entire collegiate careers in Clarksville.
The Governors will return potentially nine players next season and can keep the majority their starting rotation intact. Led by two of their top three scorers, D’Shara Booker and Maggie Knowles, the team is set to return five players who started in at least five games during the 2020-2021 season.
“I am excited about what is coming back,” Midlick said after their tournament loss. “Pretty much three to four starters on paper are coming back.”
Currently, the Governors are set to welcome five new faces to the program over the offseason in Lyric Cole, Lamiah Walker, Katlyn Manuel, Kaiden Glenn and Tameia Shaw.
“I really like the recruiting class that is coming in,” Midlick said. “You never know what is going to happen with them until they actually get on a college floor and start playing. I like the future of what we have with returners and with what’s coming in to join them next year.”
The Govs had contests against six teams postponed and put their season on pause two separate times, but still managed to reach Evansville for the chance at their first OVC title in David Midlick’s tenure.
Coming up just short, the team now turns their focus towards the offseason and a hopefully more normal 2021-22 campaign.