Slow first half sinks women’s basketball team in home loss


Karina Delgado

Sophomore Jennifer Nehls looks to make a move in the lane in the Panthers’ 75-66 loss to Austin Peay Saturday in Lantz Arena. Nehls had 15 points in the game to lead Eastern’s scorers.

JJ Bullock, Assistant Sports Editor

For the first time in a long time, the Eastern women’s basketball team played a strong second half of basketball, but it still was not enough to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit, as Austin Peay handed the Panthers a ninth straight loss Saturday at Lantz Arena.

Austin Peay beat the Panthers 75-66 after taking control of the game early in the first half.

Over the course of the nine-game losing streak the Panthers are on, they have not played well in the second half of games, so when they shot 42.9 percent and outscored the Governors 37-32 in the second-half, it symbolized the breaking of at least one of the Panthers’ bad streaks.

However, the team had a role reversal in the Austin Peay game, instead of playing bad in the second half, Eastern faltered in the first half and put themselves at a 43-29 deficit at halftime.

In the first half, the Panthers shot just 32 percent from the field and 4-of-13 from three-point range as they allowed Austin Peay to shoot 45 percent and go 12-of-12 from the free-throw line.

The Governors had two players score in double-digits in the first half; center Brianne Alexander scored 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting and forward Keisha Gregory added 11.

Gregory carried a bulk of the scoring responsibilities for Austin Peay in the game and went on to score 16 points in the second half, finishing with a game-high 27 points.

Eastern junior Halle Stull appeared to break out of her scoring slump in the first half, as she scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.

In the second half, it was the Panthers who enjoyed two players scoring in double-digit figures.

Freshman Karle Pace scored all 11 of her total points in the second half and sophomore forward Jennifer Nehls scored 12 points.

For Pace, the game was nothing new as she has been one of the Panthers’ more consistent scorers during the losing streak. Nehls, however, has been struggling to find the basket during the team’s losing streak, and head coach Matt Bollant has called out the team’s post play after recent games, so her team-high 15 points was a step in the right direction for Eastern’s struggling post-game.

The win for Austin Peay was very important for their position in the OVC standings, as it moved them to 7-7 in conference and into the No. 6 seed.

More than just the Eastern matchup mattered to Austin Peay on Saturday, however, because of how packed tight the middle of the standings are.

The Governors were helped on Saturday by Tennesse-Martin who beat Southeast Missouri, sending them down to a 6-8 conference record.

The loss for Eastern puts them at 1-13 in conference.

The Panthers’ next game is Wednesday against Southeast Missouri.

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]