Sunday, 13 January 2019 17:55

Appalachian State Women's Basketball Downs Texas State

Ashley Polacek led the Moutnaineers with 16 points Ashley Polacek led the Moutnaineers with 16 points Appalachian State Athletics

A dominating defensive performance by Appalachian State University women's basketball (8-7, 2-2 SBC) led to a 62-49 triumph over Texas State (8-8, 3-1 SBC) on Saturday afternoon at the Strahan Center.

After surrendering a season-high 99 points against UTA, the Mountaineers' defense stymied Texas State into a season-low 49 points and 30.5 percent shooting from the floor. It's the lowest scoring total at home for TXST in 27 games since the 2016-17 season against UTA when it scored 39 points.

The 49 points given up is also the fewest allowed this season and the first time allowing under 50 points since holding Georgia Southern to 48 in a 25-point win during the 2016-17 season.

A collective effort on the defensive side of the ball contributed to limiting the Sun Belt's leading scorer (18.6 ppg) and the nation's second-leading 3-point shooter (61 3's), Toshua Leavitt, to just 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting from the field.

Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) scored a game-high 16 points and tied a team-high with five assists. The Canadian point guard hit all five of her shots from beyond the arc, going 5-of-9 from 3-point land.

Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) got back to her usual ways after fouling out in 14 minutes on Thursday, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven off the glass. Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds and scored five points. Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) had an all-around effort with seven points, six rebounds and a season-high five assists.

With the game being close and low scoring, the Apps gained separation in the final quarter outscoring the Bobcats, 18-9, and holding the visitors to 4-of-14 shooting on top of missing all four of their 3-point attempts.

Coming into the final period with a 44-40 lead, App went on a 15-3 run over the first 5:32 of the quarter. Appalachian hit four of shots five shots from outside the arc, which all came during the stretch.

Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) got the run going with a pair of free throws before Polacek hit one from outside the arc to extend the lead to nine. Following another free throw from Plummer to make the lead 50-40, Leavitt hit a shot that cut the lead to single digits.

On Appalachian's next three possessions on offense, the Mountaineers came away with three trifectas, two of which came from Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds). The second 3-pointer for the Winston-Salem, N.C. native gave App a 59-43 advantage. Texas State never threatened Appalachian the rest of the contest, leading to the Black and Gold matching last season's win total and claiming its first conference road win of the season.

Texas State's largest lead of the game came on the first shot of the contest with Leavitt hitting a 3-pointer to give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead. App State responded with the next seven points thanks to Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) having a hand in six of the points with three points and an assist to Polacek for a 3-pointer.

The hosts would retake the lead, 13-12, but five quick points highlighted by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Nicola Mathews (Adelaide, Australia/College of Central Florida) pushed the Mountaineers to a 17-13 edge at the end of the quarter.

Appalachian wouldn't relinquish the lead the rest of the way, jumping out to a 30-22 lead with a jumper from Story. Plummer's key tip-in with 1:32 left in the half gave the Mountaineers a 32-25 edge going into the locker room.

Texas State cut the gap to just one possession on multiple occasions in the third period. But on each trip, the Apps came away with key scores. The Bobcats had the lead down to two, 40-38, in the waning moments of the third. A jumper by Stanley and two free throws by Story extended the lead to four, 44-40, going into the dominating fourth quarter by App.

App State won the edge on the glass 46-35, while the 16 offensive rebounds led to a 17-9 favor in second-chance points.

Appalachian will look to build upon the impressive win over the Bobcats, as it will play the next three games at home, where the Apps are 6-1.

The Mountaineers are off on Thursday but will return to action on Saturday against Coastal Carolina at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday inside the Holmes Center.

Quotable
"Our team played with a great level of focus. I was proud of how they responded after Thursday's loss. Winning is hard, and we are still learning as the season continues."

Tip-Ins
- App State snaps a three-game skid against Texas State, improving to 4-5 in the series.
- Maya Calder led the team in plus/minus off the bench with a plus-16 in 18 minutes, scoring seven points with six rebounds.
- App State snaps a four-game road losing streak and an eight-game losing streak on the road in conference play.
- The 49 points are the fewest allowed on the road since 2013-14 against UNC Wilmington (W;54-47).
- Story is now 23rd all-time in scoring with 1,032-career points, passing Ashlen Dewart.
- App State is 5-0 this season when recording 15 or more second-chance points.
- The Mountaineers assisted on 14-of-22 field goals (63.6 percent).
- Appalachian is 5-2 this season when coming off a loss.

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