By: Elijah Banyard Johnson
In a game for the ages, the battle of David vs Goliath was decided today in the Ohio Valley Women’s Conference championship game.
David, the Austin Peay State lady Governors, a young, scrappy, and relentless group who was placed as the fifth seed in the Ohio Valley Conference championship tournament.
Goliath, the consistent and always competitive Eastern Illinois lady Panthers who represented the #1 seed in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament.
Being the low seed, Austin Peay had to defeat a talented No. 4 seeded Morehead State in the first round, and defending conference tournament champion No.1 seeded Murray State in the semifinals.
The panthers initially beat the lady governors twice during the regular season, so this game almost felt routine to go in Eastern Illinois favor.
Led by sophomore guard Ashley Herring (Memphis, Tennessee / Bartlett) who had a team high 21 points, she didn’t want to make this a three to nothing series sweep.
They kept fighting, that’s what they do,” said Austin Peay coach Carrie Daniels.
Tough defense from both teams made it hard shooting as the lady govs went 24 for 66 (36%) shooting from the field. While the panthers shot 26-58 (45%) from the floor.
“It just wasn’t our day. They made more plays than us” said Eastern Illinois senior forward Lindsey Kluempers.
Ultimately ending in double overtime, the final score was 69-65 as David vanquished Goliath in a spectacular championship game finale.
Austin Peay will now advance to the women’s NCAA college basketball tournament. While the panthers may be selected to play in the National Invitational Tournament.
“Nobody thought we’d be here. We had confidence. We knew it was going to be hard but we fought” said senior forward April Thomas.
Previously going 6-23 the year before, this 11 game improvement and championship crown is a one of the best turnarounds in college basketball history.