By David Rogers. January 9, 2020. BOONE, NC — A warning to “expect the unexpected” had new meaning for Appalachian State women’s basketball team. The Mountaineers packed the paint to stop the tall and athletic Texas-Arlington inside game — but fell victim to the Mavericks’ sharpshooting from beyond the 3-point arc in Thursday night’s 82-60 loss at the Holmes Convocation Center.
COVER IMAGE: App State forward Lainey Gosnell runs into some tall “trees” in attempting to drive the lane against Texas-Arlington. All photographic images by Bill Barbour for Blowing Rock News, edited by David Rogers.
Down a manageable 45-34 at intermission, the Mountaineers pulled to within eight points in the third quarter, only to see the Mavericks shoot at a 54.1% rate from the field, including 45.8% from long distance. Led by guard Claire Chastain’s game-high 21 points on the night, UTA ended up 11-of-24 from behind the 3-point line while still getting 28 points inside the paint.
Somewhat surprising given their height advantage, Texas Arlington got few opportunities at the free-throw line — but made the most them in getting 5-of-6 to drop in.
Now tied with Louisiana-Monroe and Texas State at the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference standings, each team with an 0-3 conference record (App State is just 3-11 overall), the Mountaineers were without the services of senior forward Bayley Plummer. A “coach’s decision” was the only explanation given by head coach Angel Elderkin in the post-game press conference.
Especially against the long and athletic Texas-Arlington roster, the 6-4 Plummer’s inside presence would have been invaluable. Without her, it is interesting to note that the Mountaineers held a 36-24 advantage over the Mavericks in rebounding, including a third of their boards (12) on the offensive end.
Shooting with such high accuracy, of course, Texas-Arlington needed little in the way of rebounding, especially in capitalizing on 18 App State turnovers for 17 point of their points. Again led by Chastain, UTA held a 12-4 advantage in steals.
App State did get three players into double figures scoring wise, including Pre Stanley’s team-high 14 and 12 apiece by Lainey Gosnell and Haile McDonald. In Plummer’s absence, McDonald’s performance in 17 minutes of court time was promising for the Mountaineers’ future with greatly improved mobility vs. a year ago.
Three Mountaineer starters were perfect from the free throw line, including Gosnell (2-2), Stanley (2-2) and Brooke Bigott (4-4). Elderkin got solid bench play from Michaela Porter (2-2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 16 minutes) and McDonald, who was 4-of 6 from the charity stripe.
Appalachian State is still looking for a first Sun Belt Conference win of the 2019-20 season and is hoping to get out of the cellar on Saturday when the Mountaineers host Texas State (0-3 SBC, 7-7 overall). Tipoff is at 2:00 pm.