BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball (5-3) used a stellar fourth quarter to fend off College of Charleston (2-5) in an 80-66 victory on Sunday afternoon in the Holmes Center.
Five players scored in double figures with Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF), Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds), and Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) all netting 12 points. Plummer once again dominated the glass with a game-high 20 boards for her second double-double of the season. Maya Calder came off the bench to score 10 points and despite being in foul trouble, Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) still managed to score 10 on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. Wilson dished out four assists in her first start of the season, and both Polacek and Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) also recorded four helpers. Story scored seven points and added six off the glass.
College of Charleston came back from an 18-point deficit to tie up the game late in the third quarter, 50-50, before Kaila Craven (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) canned a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Appalachian a 53-50 edge. After the Cougars delivered their punch to get back in the game and threaten to take over the contest, the Mountaineers responded in the final frame, shooting 71.4 percent from the field and converted on 10 of their last 12 shots to stay undefeated at home.
With App clinging to a 59-56 lead in the final quarter, an 11-0 run over a 1:41 span extended the lead to 14 points. Wilson started the run with a 3-pointer followed by eight straight points by Mathews thanks to a pair of trifectas and a jumper. The junior point guard stepped up off the bench, scoring all her points during the surge and was responsible for 10 points (8 points, 1 assist) in the quarter. Along with Calder, Mathews helped an App State bench unit outscore CofC’s reserves, 29-8, and shot a combined 9-of-16 from the floor.
Appalachian and CofC started the game in a cold spell on offense. However, the Apps finished the quarter 4-of-7 after a 1-for-8 start to claim a 15-8 lead going into the second period. The Mountaineer defense limited CofC to just only one field goal and a 1-of-19 start that stretched into the second frame.
Four straight buckets early in the second period pushed the lead to 28-14 in the hosts’ favor after a layup from Plummer. App stayed in control throughout the rest of the first half, as it went into the break with a 37-21 advantage.
Polacek came out of the half and got App on the right track with a jumper, but 56.3 percent shooting and 10 free throws by the Cougars, coupled with just 29.4 percent shooting by App got CofC back in the game.
The Apps took advantage of 18 CofC turnovers into a season-high 29 points, while App posted a season-best 18 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds.
Appalachian bounced back nicely after the setback at ETSU to pick up its fifth win of the season. In 2017-18, the Apps wouldn’t get their fifth win until Jan. 13 in conference play.
The Mountaineers will have a tough task on Wednesday, as they travel Columbia, S.C. for a matchup against perennial powerhouse and the 2017 national champions, South Carolina. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.
“I was really proud of the way our team came out after Thursday. We started the game with a tremendous amount of energy and got ourselves off to a good start. In the third quarter, College of Charleston did a really good job of coming out and punching us in the mouth. We’ve been in that moment quite often, and I wasn’t sure how we would respond. Today, we responded in a much more positive way, and I thought our bench contributed to that. There were a lot of good positives from this win.” – Head Coach Angel Elderkin
– Plummer now has two games with at least 20 rebounds. She had a career-high of 21 in a win earlier this season against Marshall.
– App State shot 55.5 percent (20-36) inside the arc.
– Appalachian assisted on 17 of its 29 field goals.
– In five wins this season, Polacek has 30 assists to nine turnovers (12 assists/16 turnovers in losses).
– Wilson led the team with a plus-25, while Plummer posted the highest PER at 25.
– It’s the earliest App State has reached five wins since the 2014-15 campaign when it started 5-3.
– Story is 38 points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau. She’ll be the 25th member of the club.