Bauman, Troeckler Guide Cougars Past Austin Peay in 69-68 Thriller

Allie Troeckler hits the game winner
Allie Troeckler hits the game winner

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Allie Troeckler finished what Sydney Bauman started Thursday for the SIUE women's basketball game.

Troeckler's driving layup with 4.3 seconds remaining gave the Cougars a thrilling 69-68 win over Austin Peay in Ohio Valley Conference action at the Vadalabene Center.

SIUE, benefiting from Bauman's career-best 22 points, improved to 8-8 overall and 3-2 in the OVC. The Cougars climbed to the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 15. Austin Peay dropped to 7-9 and 2-3.

The Cougars led by 13 points late in the third quarter, lost their lead and then regained it for good on Troeckler's winning shot.

"In a game like this, there's so much to learn from it," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "We played well for a good portion of it, but then we got passive against their press and made too many turnovers."

Bauman's 16 first-half points pointed the Cougars in the right direction. She made her first 10 shots -- six field goals and four free throws. Bauman also snared 11 rebounds overall as SIUE outrebounded Austin Peay 31-19. Her 22 points were nine more than her SIUE best. She scored 13 points three times, including a game at Saint Louis Dec. 1.

"I haven't shot that well since high school," said Bauman, a 6-foot, 3-inch senior. "I know I had to come out in the paint and play aggressively. I'm taller than everybody else, and I have to play like that all the time."

Buscher noted, "Sydney was a presence in there and she played with a lot of confidence. She did a great job and so did Allie. At the end of the game, Allie was smart enough to make an outstanding play."

Austin Peay forged in front 68-67 on Keisha Gregory's layup with 22 seconds remaining. SIUE set up for a game-winning shot and Troeckler provided it. She drove down the middle of the lane and made the game-winner. The Governors didn't get an opportunity to counter it.

"I was looking to get the ball inside to Sydney, but I saw a lane open and went to the basket," said Troeckler, who scored eight points. Teammate Micah Jones pitched in 11 points and Nakiah Bell accounted for seven assists. SIUE made 26 of 48 shots and converted 14 of 15 free throws. They survived 24 turnovers and 3-for-13 shooting from beyond the arc..

"The bottom line is that we found a way to squeak out a win," Buscher said. "The separation in this league isn't much and when the conference season ends, there could be a one- or two-game difference between a lot of teams."

SIUE made 16 of its first 27 shots, or 59 percent, to build a 41-35 halftime lead. The Cougars' largest first-half lead was 12 points.

They extended their advantage to 53-40 midway through the third quarter, but Austin Peay went on a 13-point spurt to knot things 53-53 by the end of the quarter.

"We had too many turnovers in that stretch," Buscher said. "I think we had six of them during eight or nine ball possessions. So we were giving the ball away too much. What helped us is that we were still shooting the ball well."

Gregory's 20 points led Austin Peay, which made 25 of 53 shots, including 7 of 19 from three-point range. The Governors connected on 15 of 17 foul shots.

The Cougars remain at home Saturday to welcome OVC foe Murray State in a 2 p.m. start. SIUE then travels to Southeast Missouri (Jan. 24) and UT Martin (Jan. 26) before welcoming Morehead State (Thursday, Jan. 31) at 11 a.m. on Field Trip Day sponsored by the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery.