STATESBORO, GA. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball (13-12, 7-7) got back in the win column with a bounce-back 70-52 triumph over archrival Georgia Southern (7-19, 2-13 SBC) on Saturday afternoon at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The Mountaineers were led by three players who scored at least 15 points for the afternoon and shot a combined 47.5 percent from the field.
Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds), who was making her second straight start, poured in a season-high 18 points with four of her five field goals coming from behind the arc.
Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) dropped 17 points for another efficient performance on offense, shooting 7-of-13 from the floor. Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) also shot 7-for-13 en route to 15 points while grabbing five rebounds (three offensive) in the process. Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) recorded 16 rebounds, tying a season high with seven boards on the offensive end. The junior added eight points as well.
Georgia Southern got off to a hot start in the opening period shooting 9-of-15 (60 percent) from the floor. The Eagles jumped out to their largest lead at seven, 23-16, following an 8-0 run late in the frame. Appalachian scored the final five points thanks to a Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) putback and a buzzer-beating trifecta from Gosnell to cut the GS lead to two, 23-21.
After the first quarter, the Mountaineers’ defense shut the Eagle offense down, limiting GS to just 29 points over the final three periods and 9-of-40 shooting from the field.
With the game tied, 30-30, in the second period, Polacek sparked an 11-4 run over the final 6:06 by scoring seven straight points. Plummer scored the final four points for Appalachian and helped App go into the break with a 41-34 advantage.
The Apps continued to flex their muscle on defense, as they held GS to only seven points in the third quarter. Appalachian forced the visitors into a 4:40 scoring drought and six straight missed shots during the stretch, which led to a 51-36 lead for App. GS did slice the lead to 10, 51-41, but back-to-back field goals by Gosnell pushed the advantage to 14, 51-36.
Appalachian held a double-digit lead throughout the final period. The Mountaineers scored eight of the final 10 points thanks to a pair of treys from Wilson and Nicola Mathews (Adelaide, Australia/College of Central Florida), on top of a field goal by Plummer.
Saturday’s triumph gives App its sixth win in the past eight meetings against GS, while the average margin of victory over the past three victories is 24.6 points.
App State outscored GS, 18-3, in second-chance points and took advantage of 20 Eagle miscues that turned into 21 points.
The Mountaineers will return to action next week for their final two home games of the regular season. App will host both Louisiana schools on Thursday and Saturday, beginning with ULM on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the Holmes Center.
– App State is 11-0 this season when holding opponents to 70 points or less
– Plummer’s streak of 10 or more rebounds is up to 14 straight games.
– The five highest-scoring performances by Polacek this season have come on the road.
– Gosnell has scored in double figures in the last three road games.
– Appalachian is 7-1 when it scores 15 or more second-chance points.
– Gosnell and Wilson each posted a team-high plus-18 in plus/minus.
– The Mountaineers have won the rebounding battle in all 13 victories this season.