Column: Peay is not just going away now

Yes, it’s important to beat their arch nemesis, Austin Peay, this early in the Ohio Valley Conference season, but the women’s basketball team hasn’t seen the last of the Govs.

They will go to Austin Peay Feb. 24, and will likely be seeing them in March in the OVC tournament.

Look back to last season, the team went 1-1 vs. Austin Peay in the regular season. In the tournament, they lost in the title game to the Govs.

The Panthers win against Peay came nine days before they lost to them in the title game.

The year before last, the Panthers beat Peay twice in the regular season, but lost in the title game in double overtime to the Govs.

Right now, it will be nice to celebrate this win, proving that they are still the cream of the crop in the OVC. But the team cannot take it too far.

Yes, bringing up bad memories after a happy win is not the best thing to do, but let this serve as a warning to the team that they are not out of the woods yet.

They might have beaten Peay once, but there is still one more, if not two games to go before they can say that they have the Govs’ number.

The good thing is I think the team knows that.

They can prove themselves in March. Everything before that is just building wins, confidence, experience and momentum.

At times Saturday, the Panthers looked far better than Peay, but not all the time. The Panthers looked tired at times, which is because Peay never gave up and they kept testing the Panthers.

Eastern got into some foul trouble. Mariah King fouled out of the game, ending with 12 points; however, Hillary Held was there to pick up the slack.

Although Held did a great job, King has to be careful not to foul out when she has to go up against a player like Jasmine Rayner, of Peay. The Panthers are 4-4, now 2-0 in the OVC. They are off to a very good start.

They beat Austin Peay, but it wasn’t easy.

The most positive thing I saw Saturday, above all, was that it seemed like every player on Eastern’s squad knew the importance of the game, playing that team.

From Sydney Mitchell to Jordyne Crunk, the Panthers carried themselves like they had to prove themselves and beat a bitter rival.

From the tip off, I felt like this wasn’t an ordinary game. That’s a great feeling.

The Panthers will have to get used to that because I think they might be seeing Peay two more times before it’s all said and done.

A great win, yes, but more a big step in the right direction this season.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected]