By David Rogers. November 25, 2019. BOONE, NC — Digging a hole for themselves in almost every quarter, Appalachian State women’s basketball team could not quite climb out against East Tennessee State, Monday night at the Holmes Center. They lost, 67-61, to extend a perplexing early season for the Mountaineers, now 0-5.
All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
Exasperation was clearly the mood for head coach Angel Elderkin after the tilt against the Buccaneers in speaking with reporters. With a returning lineup that includes Bayley Plummer, Lainey Gosnell, Pre Stanley, Nicola Mathews, Brooke Bigott, Armani Hampton, and Ashley Polacek — all holdovers from last year’s WTI tournament championship in the post-season — expectations for 2019 have been much higher.
“As a coaching staff,” Elderkin said after the game, “we came into this season with (all those returning players) and you think your team is going to break through and raise everything (in terms of the level of play). Right now, they are not performing. Ashley is not performing as a senior point guard. Bayley is not performing as a senior post player. Lainey had a tough night and Pre responded in the fourth quarter for us.”
With 3:26 left in the opening period, the Mountaineers found themselves down by seven points until a late 1rally fueled by Hampton and Cincinnati junior guard transfer Michaela Porter helped App State pull ahead with just over two minutes remaining in the stanza. That advantage disappeared, though, when ETSU redshirt junior guard Micah Scheetz scored on a consecutive layups to take give the visitors a 3-point advantage at the buzzer.
By midway through the second period, App State fell to a 13 point deficit before climbing back to within three — only to let the momentum slip away and allow the Buccaneers to take a 10-point lead into intermission.
For most of the third period, it was worse for the Mountaineers, going down by as many as 18 points and finishing it down 16 after Gosnell sunk a couple of free throws with 19 seconds to go in the quarter.
The final period was a “too little-too late” experience for the home team. Stanley and freshman guard Nora Galve (from Catalonia, Spain and one of three international players on the App State roster) led the Mountaineers in chipping away at the Bucs’ big lead. They narrowed the deficit to just four points with 3:27 left in the game but couldn’t pull any closer.
“We had trouble in the paint tonight,” Elderkin noted in her opening remarks. “Lainey and Bayley combined 0-15. I don’t think it is so much that they were ‘0-fer’ (on the offensive end of the floor), but their assignments on the other side of the ball (on defense) were 13-for-23. So when you are not scoring the ball and you are struggling to score the ball, you have to defend.
“…I was proud of our effort in the 4th quarter,” she added, “but we can’t continue to dig a hole and then try to get back into the game.
“Another positive…,” she continued, …”I was really disappointed last game in our bench and the way they had been practicing and performing. So I was tough on them and there were probably moments when they thought, ‘Wow, am I going to do this or not?’ But in the fourth quarter Nicola, Hampton, Brooke…they gave us solid minutes of the bench. That is something for us to build on.”
Appalachian State will look for a first win on Friday when the Mountaineers host Mercer at the Holmes Center before a 7-game road stretch that includes two former SoCon rivals (Wofford on Dec. 4 and UNC-Greensboro on Dec. 29), a Dec. 14 date at Big Ten power Michigan, a holiday tournament in Deland, Florida, vs. Canisius and Bethune-Cookman, and Sun Belt Conference openers against South Alabama and Troy, respectively, on Jan. 2nd and 4th. They return home on Saturday, Jan. 11th vs. Texas State (tipoff: 2:00 pm).
SELECTED INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
- APP — Pre Stanley (22)
- ETSU — Micah Scheetz (20)
- ETSU — Shynla Jackson (19)
- ETSU — E’lease Stafford (14)
- APP — Ashley Polacek (10)
- ETSU — Kaia Upton (10)
- APP — Armani Hampton (8)
- APP — Nora Galve (7)
- APP — Armani Hampton (12)
- ETSU — Shyla Jackson (7)
- APP — Bayley Plummer (7)
- APP — Lainey Gosnell (7)
- ETSU — Kaia Upton (7)
- APP — Ashley Polacek (6)
- APP — Ashley Polacek (4)
- ETSU — Kaia Upton (3)
- APP — Bayley Plummer (4)
- ETSU — E’lease Stafford (2)
- ETSU — Arielle Harvey (2)
- APP — Ashley Polacek (2)
- ETSU — E’lease Stafford (2)
- ETSU — Kaia Upton (2)