Panthers try to continue momentum

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern women’s basketball hopes to build upon its big come-from-behind victory against Southeast Missouri as they host Austin Peay on Wednesday evening.

Eastern played the Governors of Austin Peay Jan. 23 and lost 80-45. That was the last game Austin Peay has won, as they have gone on to lose the next four games. They come into Wednesday’s game with a record of 7-17 and 5-6 in conference play. The Governors have struggled on the road with a record of 1-13.

The Panthers just ended their 21-game losing streak against Southeast Missouri last weekend and improved to 2-21 on the season and 1-10 in the OVC. Junior forward Erica Brown recorded her fourth double-double of the season in the win with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Phylicia Johnson is coming off of a game where she tied her career high of 19 points. She played all 20 minutes of the second half and scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to help lead the comeback victory. She also had two steals and one rebound to her name.

Eastern plays six games in the month of February, which gives it longer breaks between games and is one of the lowest in the month, compared to other conference teams. Sophomore guard Grace Lennox said it gives the team more time to focus.

“It has given us more time to focus on us and what we need to focus on rather than having to focus our attention to the other teams, so I guess in a way it has helped us out,” she said.

In the game against Austin Peay in January, the Governors had four players earn double figures. Eastern’s shooting fell cold as they shot 27 percent from the field, while Austin Peay shot 57 percent.

Lennox talked about the things the team learned from the last time out with Austin Peay.

“They like to score in the paint by mostly lay ups, but they have a few players who can hit the three consistently,” she said. “They have both strong and athletic players, but they do not like the pressure.”

Austin Peay has been lead by senior guard Tiasha Gray who is averaging 20 points per games. During her last time out, a loss against Murray State, she scored 18 points despite missing the first half of the game. On the road trip, Gray has accounted for 33 percent of their offense, along with being the team’s leading rebounder.

Gray was the team’s leading scorer against Eastern with 17 points and six assists as Austin Peay won their third straight game of the series. The Governors have won the last two meetings at Lantz Arena, including last season’s 66-63 victory where Gray had a 32-point, 11-rebound performance.

Eastern is 17-22 all-time against Austin Peay; the Panthers have not beaten them since the 2014 season.

The second game of the home stand will begin at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday in Lantz Arena.

 

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]