BOONE, N.C. – Appalachian State University women’s basketball reported to the official first day of practice in preparation for the 2018-19 season.
Appalachian is down to 38 days until its season opener at UAB on Nov. 9. The Mountaineers face five teams who went to the postseason and amassed at least 20 wins. App faces Power Five schools such as Georgia Tech, Clemson and 2017 national champion, South Carolina. Appalachian’s home opener takes place on Nov. 15 against UNCG.
Just like the preseason leading up to Monday, the practice was highly intense with energy and a focused mindset on getting better. Appalachian went through offensive and defensive stations and later went up against the scout team in different up-tempo situations and in the halfcourt. Appalachian enjoyed shooting contests and worked on free throws as well.
COACH ELDERKIN ON THE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE
“It was exciting to open practice with our team. This team is ultra competitive, making practices high energy and intense. We need to continue to stay focused on the process and continue to build on the attitude and effort that we want to play with this season.”
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, Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson). Pre Stanley (11.4 ppg) (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) and Tierra Wilson (10.5 ppg) (Winston-Salem, N.C/RJ Reynolds), who were the Mountaineers’ first freshmen since 2009-10 to average double figures 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/CB Arenys), and Armani Hampton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Atkins) add to the number of weapons on the team. First-team all-preseason Sun Belt selection, Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys), is back after tearing her ACL, while UCF transfer, Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) is now eligible after sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules.
Anna Perez Gomez
* – Sat out in 2017-18 due to NCAA transfer rules
^ – Sat out due to injury
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.
Season tickets are still available for the 2018-19 season, which features 14 home games. You can call 828.262.2079 or click HERE.