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Gerlonda Hardin
Position: Other
Gerlonda Hardin literally walked into the lives of Austin Peay women's basketball and walked out being one of the greatest to wear the Lady Govs uniform.
    In Summer 1999, a tall rangy young lady from Springfield showed up at Susie Gardner's basketball camp. The more the Lady Govs coaching staff looked at her, the more they liked her and the more they wondered how this 6-2 prep player literally had flown under everyone's radar.
    By the time she left the basketball camp, Hardin knew where she wanted to go to school and   told Gardner and her coaching staff such. All the Lady Govs coaching staff had to worry about was hoping no one else would stumble across this talented post player and attempt to change her mind.
    It proved to be a perfect marriage for both Austin Peay and Hardin.
    All Hardin did at Austin Peay during her career was win-four Ohio Valley Conference tourney championships and four NCAA tourney appearances.
    If Brooke Armistead is the Lady Govs' best player of all time, then Hardin legitimately could make claim to the No. 2 spot.  As the Lady Govs post player during the early part of this decade, Hardin was a two-time OVC tournament MVP (2002, 2004) and was first-team All-OVC as a junior and senior after earning OVC Freshman of the Year in 2000-01 and second-team All-OVC the following year.
    She averaged double-figures in scoring each of her four Lady Govs seasons-11.1 ppg as a freshman, 15.5 ppg as a sophomore, 15.1 ppg as a junior and a career-best 18.4 ppg as a senior. More impressively, Hardin shot 60 percent or better from the floor in each APSU season.
    She teamed with the likes of Armistead and Paige Smith from 2000-01 to 2002-03 to help APSU dominate the OVC, especially at tourney time, and played a key role in the Lady Govs' 16-0 OVC mark in 2002-03.
    Hardin never was intimidated in the transition from high school to college. That was never more evident in the Lady Govs' 2001 NCAA tournament contest against Tennessee in Knoxville. Although the Lady Vols would earn a convincing win, they left that contest impressed with Hardin, who set a Thompson-Boling Arena record for an opponent with seven blocked shots--also a Lady Govs record.
    As a sophomore, Hardin earned OVC tourney MVP honors, averaging 23.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game during the tournament. She scored 30 points in the title game against Tennessee Tech. She finished eighth in the nation that season in field -goal percentage (61 percent) and her 11-for-11 effort against Eastern Illinois, Jan. 7, 2002 was the best single-game shooting performance in the country that season.
    Hardin again came up big in the Lady Govs' perfect 2002-03 title run. She averaged a double-double during the OVC tourney, including 22 points and 12 rebounds in the title victory against Southeast Missouri. She also had 16 points and 10 rebounds in APSU's near-upset of North Carolina in the NCAA tournament.     
    But with Armistead gone, it was Hardin who carried on the Lady Govs tradition in 2003-04, leading APSU to an impressive 14-2 OVC mark. Her 571 points that season rank fourth best for a single season.  She had 12 double-doubles also in 2003-04, giving her 39 for her career.  Her 1863 career point total ranks second only behind Armistead. She ended her career averaging 15 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
    Hardin was named OVC Player of the Year and OVC tourney MVP for 2003-04 and later that spring was selected OVC Female Athlete of the Year.
    In Hardin's four seasons, the Lady Govs won 86 games, including 50 (27-3, 23-5) in her final two seasons.
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