CLARKSVILLE - Austin Peay State University women's basketball team could not hold on to a double-digit second half lead, dropping a 77-72 decision to Murray State, Saturday, in Ohio Valley Conference action at the Dunn Center.
Austin Peay (5-10, 0-3 OVC) built an 11-point, 52-41, lead in the second half courtesy nine consecutive points. Junior Nicole Olszewski and senior Meghan Bussabarger each hit three-pointers and freshman Tiasha Gray followed with a conventional three-point play in the burst.
Murray State (9-6, 2-2 OVC) erased that lead with a 19-8 run over the next four minutes, capped by Tessa Elkins' layup and three pointer in a 40-second span, tying the game 60-60 with 6:25 left.
The Lady Govs built another five-point lead, 66-61 with 4:46 left, but wasted several opportunities to either expand that lead of maintain that lead down the stretch. In the final stretch, Austin Peay converted only 2-of-9 shots, including two missed fast-break layups.
Murray State had no trouble with its offense, closing the game with a 16-6 run over the final 3:54. The Racers made only 3-of-5 field goals in the closing stretch but converted on 10 of its 12 free throws and outrebounded APSU 12-2 to secure the win.
The two squads traded scoring runs in the first half, Murray State opening the game with a 14-4 run in the opening 12:08 as Austin Peay was a cold 2-of-12 from the floor. The Lady Govs offense warmed up over the next eight minutes, composing a 23-6 run to build a 27-20 lead with 4:12 left. However, the Racers closed the half with an 11-4 run and the two teams went to the break tied 31-31.
Bussabarger led Austin Peay with 14 points. Sophomore Kristen Stainback (12), freshman Alexis Hardaway (11) and Nicole Olszewski (10) also reached double-digit scoring territory. Senior Leslie Martinez finished with nine points and 10 rebounds while Gray played a career-high 33 minutes and ended the night with nine points, four steals and three assists.
Erika Sisk led Murray State with 15 points and six assists. Elkins added an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double effort. Keiona Kirby (14) and Jessica Winfrey (12) broke through to double-digit scoring territory.
Austin Peay will seek an end to its OVC-opening three-game losing streak when it meets Morehead State in a 7 p.m., Monday contest at the Dunn Center.