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Women’s Basketball Pounds Austin Peay in Opener, 69-48

Bearcats win in Michelle Clark-Heard’s debut

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Western Kentucky Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats’ women’s basketball team opened their 2018-2019 with a resounding win over Austin Peay, a consistently solid club out of the Ohio Valley Conference.

The 69-48 UC win was paced by a broad team effort. Five different Bearcats reached double figures. Junior guard Florence Sifa led the way with 14 points while Antionette Miller kicked in 13 and Sam Rodgers, Nikira Goings, and Ilmar’i Thomas each added 10.

Senior guard Kelen Konol led the way for Austin Peay with 9 points.

The Bearcats excelled in the transition game, posting 18 fast break points to Austin Peay’s 8. Cincinnati transformed 24 Austin Peay turnovers into 23 points while shooting 50 percent for the evening. Cincinnati’s most significant struggle of the evening was on the boards, where Austin Peay defeated them 37-35.

The win, new head coach Michelle Clark-Heard’s first as Bearcats coach, was also the program’s first at the newly renovated Fifth Third Arena.

Despite the resounding victory, this game was far from a wire-to-wire blowout.

After 10 minutes, Cincinnati led by just two points, 17-15. The Bearcats traded punches with Austin Peay throughout the first quarter, enabling the Governors to stay in the race on election night.

Things settled down in the second quarter. Cincinnati remembered that they were Cincinnati and that Austin Peay was Austin Peay. The Bearcats proceeded with aplomb, displaying an offensive prowess which left the visitors from from Clarksville, Tennessee disquieted as they returned to the locker room. After posting a 23-9 advantage in the second frame, Michelle Clark-Heard’s club bested Austin Peay 40-24 at the half.

Austin Peay, which rotated 10 different players in and out of the game, made use of its depth to hold serve during the third quarter, cutting ever so modestly into Cincinnati’s lead, which stood at 54-40 after 30 minutes of action.

Cincinnati added to its margin of victory in the final frame, besting the Governors by a 15-8 margin.

The 1-0 Bearcats return to action this Friday night at the Fifth Third Arena against the East Tennessee Buccaneers. The game is at 7 PM and can be seen on GoBearcats.com. Better yet, go support your Bearcats in person and check out the upgrades at University’s fantastic home arena.

Head on back to Down the Drive for a full preview of the action and complete coverage of the Bearcats’ women’s basketball team all winter long.