Mavericks ride past Mountaineers, 72-65

Mavericks ride past Mountaineers, 72-65
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By David Rogers. February 9, 2019. BOONE NC — With redshirt senior guard Madi Story scoring the last six points of the third quarter, Appalachian State clawed its way back from a 10-point first half deficit to within two points of Texas Arlington on Saturday at the Holmes Center, but the momentum quickly dissipated.

COVER IMAGE: Appalachian State point guard Ashley Polacek takes measure of Texas-Arlington defenders as she eyes the basket. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

The Mavericks’ star freshman guard Claire Chastain and redshirt senior guard Cierra Johnson combined for 11 and 9 points, respectively, in the second half to overcome the Mountaineer rally in the third period.

Redshirt senior Madi Story wants two against this UTA defender.

Story finished the the game with a team-high 18 points for App State, but the real story in the Mountaineers’ threat to disrupt the Mavericks’ dominant series history was the inside play of power forward Bayley Plummer. The Mavericks now own a 10-0 record against Appalachian State, but the five most recent games have been tighter, including the Mountaineers’ taking the Mavericks to double overtime in Arlington, TX on January 10th before eventually succumbing, 99-94.

UTA’s roster features seven student athletes who are 6-1 or taller, five of whom saw court time on Saturday against the Mountaineers. App State has only two 6-1 or taller that see meaningful playing time, Plummer at 6-4 and Lainey Gosnell at 6-1, with sophomore power forward Maya Calder stretching to 6-0 even.

On this day, Plummer took the “Pink Day” tagline to heart: “Fight” for breast cancer awareness, as she fought through the tall Mavericks five to record her sixth double-double of the season with a game-high 17 rebounds to go with 14 points. The junior from Thomasville, NC leads the Sun Belt in rebounding with 240, an 11.4 per game average. She is first in defensive rebounds with 174 and third in the conference in offensive boards, with 66. She also makes the leaderboard in blocked shots, fourth on the list with 27.

It was Play4Kay “Pink Day” at the Holmes Center, honoring breast cancer survivors.

Afterward, UTA head coach Krista Gerlich admitted that she felt a sense of relief in escaping the Holmes Center with a win, especially after the Mountaineers pushed her charges to double-overtime on the Mavericks home court in early January.

“In the locker room,” Gerlich said, “I told our players that we stole one here and that we can never look past App State to any other opponent. We may very well have to face the Mountaineers again this year, in the Sun Belt Conference tournament next month…App State is a very well coached team with a lot of weapons.”

Now 10-2 in Sun Belt conference play and 18-5 overall , UTA goes back home to host first place Little Rock (10-1, 14-8) on Thursday and Arkansas State (4-7, 9-13) on Saturday.

App State freshman Brooke Bigott (20) of Katy, Texas drives down the lane past a Texas-Arlington opponent.

With the loss, Appalachian State (6-5, 12-10) drops into a tie with South Alabama (6-5, 17-5) for fifth place and will embark on a grueling 3-game road trip. Next Saturday they will be at Coastal Carolina (4-7, 12-10), then will go to the Peach State to face Georgia State (7-4, 13-9) in Atlanta on Feb. 21st before heading to Statesboro to challenge last place, but always dangerous Georgia Southern (2-9, 7-15).

LEADING PERFORMERS

Texas-Arlington

  • Cierra Johnson — game-high 19 points, including 8-of-8 from the free throw line, 2 blocks, 1 steal
  • Claire Chastain — 17 points, team-high 6 rebounds, 1 block
  • Katie Ferrell — 3 assists, 2 steals, 6 points, 2 blocks
  • Lauren McGowen — 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 points

Appalachian State

  • Bayley Plummer — game-high 17 rebounds, 14 points, 1 steal
  • Madi Story — 18 points, 2 assists, 1 steal
  • Maya Calder — 6 rebounds, 7 points, 1 steal
  • Lainey Gosnell — 7 points, 2 assists, 1 steal
  • Ashley Polacek — 6 assists, 5 points

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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