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Lady Govs Goin' Dancin'

3/5/2001
March 5, 2001

The third-seeded Austin Peay women's basketball team stunned top-seeded Tennessee Tech, 65-63, Saturday, to win the Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball tournament and berth in the NCAA tournament.

Austin Peay (17-13) is going to the Big Dance for the second time in the school's history and the first time since 1996. It is the team's first appearance under fifth-year head coach Susie Gardner.

"I have been there so many times as a player and as an assistant coach," Gardner said. "Each step is a little bit different. But this is going to be a sweet and special moment for our players and our great assistant coaches and a great reward for how hard we have worked.

"I don't think there were a lot of people in the area who thought we were going to win this tournament."

The Lady Govs avenged two lopsided losses to Tennessee Tech (24-6), the OVC's regular-season champion.

Tennessee Tech, which never led after Tiffany Swoffard put Austin Peay ahead 17-15 with 10:46 to play in the first half, had a chance to tie the game on its final possession.

After Austin Peay's Kelly Chavez missed the front end of a one-and-one with 8 seconds remaining, the Golden Eaglettes brought the ball downcourt for a final shot. But a running 5-footer by OVC Player of the Year Janet Holt bounced off the back of the rim just before the buzzer.

Paige Smith led Austin Peay with 16 points, followed by tournament MVP Brooke Armistead with 12 and Jocelyn Duke with 10.

"We had a lot of things go our way," Gardner said. "We made key baskets when we needed them. We had players really step up to play the games of their lives, players like Felicia Dowell and Tiffany Swofford...and we made big defensive stops."

Contributing Writer: Brad Kirtley