BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball opens the season on Friday at 7 p.m. (ET) against Conference USA preseason favorites, UAB, at Bartow Arena.
About the Mountaineers
Appalachian begins its 49th season in program history and the fifth year in the Angel Elderkin era. The Mountaineers return all 12 players including all five starters, their two leading scorers in Pre Stanley (11.4 ppg) and Tierra Wilson (10.5 ppg). After having the least-experienced team in the Sun Belt in 2017-18, coach Elderkin might have her deepest team yet going into her fifth season at the helm. All 10 of the Black and Gold’s active players return from 2017-18, including third-team all-Sun Belt selection and the conference’s leading rebounder in Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson). Stanley (11.4 ppg) and Wilson (10.5 ppg), who were the Mountaineers’ first freshmen since 2009-10 to lead the team in scoring, are back for their sophomore year. Nicola Mathews (Adelaide, Australia/College of Central Florida), the Apps’ leader in assists at 3.0 apg and Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central), App’s scoring spark off the bench last year, is back as well. The trio of Wilson (56), Gosnell (38), and Mathews (38) was the Sun Belt’s third-highest shooting trio from beyond the arc with 132 of the team’s 167 3-pointers. That number was the second highest made in a single season in school history. Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy), Kaila Craven (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph), Dominique Jeffery (Tallahassee, Fla./FAMU DRS), Anna Perez Gomez (Canet De Mar, Spain/Eastern Wyoming), and Armani Hampton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Atkins) add to the number of weapons on the team. First-team all-preseason Sun Belt selection, Story, is back after tearing her ACL, while UCF transfer, Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF/Aspire Academy) is now eligible after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. App State also brings in four freshmen in Haile McDonald.
Appalachian brings in four talented freshmen from Texas, Virginia and North Carolina in Brooke Bigott (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes), A’Lea Gilbert (Charlotte, N.C./South Meck), Haile McDonald (Winchester, Va./Millbrook), and Emma Newton (Fletcher, N.C./Asheville Christian Academy). Bigott stuffed the stat sheet at Seven Lakes High School, while Gilbert went to South Meck where she was an inside force averaging a double-double. McDonald helped her squad win a state title in Virginia and Newton was a 1,000-point scorer at Asheville Christian Academy.
Last Time Out
The Apps rolled past Lees-McRae, 82-54, in their only exhibition of the preseason. Four players led by Tierra Wilson’s 13 points paced the App offense. Plummer (12 points, 14 rebounds) and Stanley (12 points, 10 rebounds) registering double-doubles. Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) scored 12 points to round out the leading scorers.
Five Things to Watch For
• UAB shot 33 percent from beyond the arc in its seven losses, while hitting 38 percent of its 3-pointers in its wins last season. App State held UAB to 33 percent shooting in last season’s matchup. See if the Black and Gold can contain UAB’s 3-point attack.
Scouting UAB (Conference USA)
• UAB is coming off an impressive 27-7 campaign en route to a regular-season Conference USA title and a WNIT berth.
• UAB is 1-0 in the all-time series with the lone matchup coming last season in the Holmes Center.
• Appalachian fell to UAB, 70-59, in the contest.
• Stanley scored a then-career-high 14 points in the setback.
• App trailed by as much as 22 in the game, but stormed back thanks to a 21-6 surge that cut the deficits to single digits. However, the Blazers pulled away with a late 7-0 run.
• The Mountaineers have a quick turnaround as it travels to Atlanta on Friday and then will face Georgia Tech on Sunday in Atlanta at 2 p.m.