CLARKSVILLE - Austin Peay State University women's basketball team got off to another hot start, but could not maintain its early momentum in a 68-43 Ohio Valley Conference loss to Eastern Illinois, Saturday night at the Dunn Center.
Austin Peay (5-12, 0-5) changed its starting lineup for the first time in eight games and the move paid dividends early. The Lady Govs jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the opening 6:20. Senior Meghan Bussabarger, who came off the bench for the first time this season, scored seven points in the opening run. APSU's defense also responded and held EIU to 1-of-8 shooting and forced five turnovers.
Eastern Illinois (11-7, 5-1 OVC) changed tactics defensively and found its stroke offensively soon after Austin Peay gained its 10-point lead. The Panthers closed the half with a 29-8 run over the final 13:40 and took a 31-20 halftime lead. Six different EIU players scored during the half-ending run, including senior Ta'Kenya Nixon who scored eight points.
The Panthers did not relent in the second half, keeping the lead in double-digit territory the entire period. A 10-5 EIU run late in the half pushed its lead to a secure 25 points with 1:51 remaining.
Senior Leslie Martinez led Austin Peay with a nine-point, 11-rebound, four-steal performance. Bussabarger added 13 points.
Nixon led all scorers with 18 points and was credited with six assists. Sydney Mitchell added a 10-point, 15-rebound performance off the bench. The Panthers dominated the glass, posting a 55-38 rebounding advantage which included 20 offensive rebounds.
Austin Peay concludes its four-game homestand when it hosts SIU Edwardsville in a 7 p.m., Monday contest.