By David Coulson. BOONE, NC — When the inexperienced Appalachian State women’s basketball team is good, it can be very, very good. But like the old nursery rhyme proclaimed, when the Lady Mountaineers are bad … well you know the rest.
All photograpahic images by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News
The result on Saturday afternoon was a 66-51 loss to Coastal Carolina in the regular-season finale at the Holmes Convocation Center.
CCU guard Jas Adams fired in 4-of-6 three-point shots on the way to a team-high 20 points, center Naheria Hamilton dominated the paint with 17 points, and guard DJ Williams added 16 as the Chanticleers pulled away over the final three quarters with hot shooting.
Appalachian freshman guard LaPresha Stanley piled up 24 points to lead all scorers, but she didn’t receive much help from the rest of the Mountaineer attack.
App State (7-22 overall, 5-13 in league) got off to one of those good starts, racing to a quick 8-2 lead on Senior Day before a plague of turnovers and poor shooting doomed the team in the final Sun Belt Conference contest of the regular season.
While both teams could be excused for looking past this game to next week’s league tournament in New Orleans, this encounter quickly turned into a sluggish and sloppy contest. Eventually, App State finished with 19 turnovers, while CCU (16-13, 10-8) had 21.
The squads combined for 11 miscues in the first period, with Appalachian eventually settling for a 13-11 lead. Then the wheels came completely off the Mountaineer offense as they went over nine minutes without a point in the second quarter.
Appalachian shot just 2-of-15 in the second stanza (13%), but its defensive effort kept the game close at 23-17 heading for the break.
But that hustle on the defensive end couldn’t overcome continued offensive deficiencies in the third quarter.
The never-say-die Mountaineer women fought back in the fourth quarter and got as close as 11 points a couple of times in the final two-and-a-half minutes, but couldn’t get any closer.
“We have a young team that couldn’t put the ball in the bucket,” said App State head coach Angel Elderkin in her post-game press conference. “It affected us. They are thinking too much about running plays instead of playing basketball.”
The Mountaineers were already locked into the ninth seed in the league standings. They’ll face No. 8 seed Arkansas State (15-14, 10-8) on Tuesday at Lakefront Arena in the first round of the Sun Belt tournament.
Appalachian and Arkansas State split two regular-season matchups, the Mountaineers winning 68-66 on Jan. 27 in Boone and the Red Wolves taking a 69-52 decision Feb. 22 in Jonesville, Arkansas.
“We have yet to have a game where everyone played their A game,” Elderkin noted. “We’re not going down there (to New Orleans) to be one and done.”
Appalachian sophomore center Bayley Plummer, who had an uncharacteristic low-output performance with just five points and six rebounds on Saturday, seconded that opinion.
“We’ve just got to keep fighting.”