BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball (0-1) suffered an 80-61 setback at UAB (1-0) in the season opener on Friday evening in Bartow Arena.
Making her first start in a Mountaineer uniform, Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) didn’t disappoint as she scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./R.J. Reynolds) tied for the team lead with 15 off the bench, while Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) rounded out the leading scorers with 11 points and collected six off the glass. Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) amassed 10 off the glass for a game high.
Facing the Conference USA preseason favorites, App won the battle on the glass (46-43) with 16 offensive rebounds to UAB’s seven, turned the ball over just 11 times and outscored the hosts 36-28 in the paint. However, App shot just 33 percent from the field and 2-for-22 from beyond the arc. UAB shot 47 percent from the floor and hit nine trifectas in the process.
UAB delivered an early punch with a 16-6 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Deanna Kuzmanic and Trista Magee before an App State timeout. Appalachian responded with an 8-2 surge in the final 2:07 of the opening period that dwindled the deficit to 18-14 following Gosnell’s trifecta with 24 seconds left in the quarter.
App State continued the run in the early goings of the second quarter, tying up the game at 20-apiece with six straight points thanks to consecutive field goals by Polacek and a jumper from Wilson. But once again the Blazers went on a run that separated themselves into a 35-24 lead going into the half after a 15-4 run over the final 6:48 of the first half.
Madi Story (Maiden, N.C/Bandys) scored two of her eight third-quarter points in the first minute of the stanza with a jumper before Gosnell drove to the lane for the layup that sliced the lead to seven, 35-28. But UAB hit back-to-back treys on the next two possessions to push the lead back to double digits. The Blazers shot 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in the second half after being held in check in the first stanza at 3-for-12.
Story finished the game with eight points on 3-of-6 shooting and a pair of rebounds.
Miyah Barnes led UAB with 19 points while Deanna Kuzmanic scored 17 points, shooting a combined 13-of-22 from the field. The rest of the Blazers shot 40 percent from the floor (16-40).
App State has a quick turnaround as it faces Georgia Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Atlanta.