After trailing by as much as 16 in the first half, App State women's basketball completed the comeback with a 73-65 overtime victory against Texas State on Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Center.
Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) fired in a season and game-high 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting with six rebounds and tied a personal high with five steals. Having the best game of her career in a Black and Gold uniform was Haile McDonald (Winchester, Va./Millbrook). After tying her career mark with 12 points on Thursday, the sophomore broke out for a personal-best 17 points (12 in the second half) and nine boards. McDonald shot 6-of-9 from the floor.
Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) rounded the leading scorers with 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. Brooke Bigott (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) led the way with six helpers on top of six points. Eight of the nine Mountaineers who played scored, while at some point, made big plays down the stretch.
With the game tied 55-55, Stanley drove to the right elbow and hit a jumper with 26 seconds left in the game to put the Mountaineers up by two. Texas State's Taylor Kennedy hit two free throws at the line to force overtime, 57-57.
From that point on, it was all Mountaineers in the final five minutes of play, as they hit four of their five shots and went 6-of-8 at the line. Lainey Gosnell started the surge with her only 3-pointer to break the tie, helping App hit its last four shot attempts. The defense forced TXST into a 3:11 scoring drought in overtime until Kennedy hit a trey to cut the deficit to 67-60. Appalachian pulled away for its third straight victory in the series and snapped a four-game skid.
The App State offense struggled in the first half, shooting under 30 percent in the first and second quarters. TXST's offense got off to a hot start with a 9-of-14 showing in the opening period.
TXST took a 34-18 advantage early in the third quarter for its largest lead of the game. McDonald started a 14-2 run with a pair of free throws to slice the gap to four, 36-32. It was the combo of Stanley and McDonald who scored the first 11 points of the run before Polacek canned a 3-pointer that brought the gap to four.
Texas State responded by going up by double digits once again, increasing its lead up to 13, 45-32, after a 9-0 spurt. Bigott's trifecta shortened the lead to 45-35 going into the final period.
Appalachian held the Bobcats scoreless for an impressive 5:39, aiding in a 15-0 burst that gave the hosts a 50-47 edge. A 3-pointer by Nicola Mathews (Adelaide, Australia/College of Central Florida) followed by layups by Stanley and Gosnell helped App to pull to within one before consecutive layups from McDonald gave the Black and Gold the three-point lead.
The thrilling fourth-quarter finish came down to the wire after Bailey Holle gave the visitors a 52-50 lead. McDonald stepped up once again at the line to tie up the game before Holley hit another trey to give the Bobcats a 55-52 favor. Three straight free throws by Armani Hampton and Gosnell put the game at a 55-55 deadlock.
It was a tale of two halves, as Appalachian outscored TXST, 55-33, in the second half and overtime. The Apps put forth a 24-point turnaround from TXST's largest advantage. Also, the Apps shot 55.8 percent from the field after the first half while holding Texas State to just 14-made field goals in the final 35 minutes of the game (9 in the first quarter).
App State took advantage of 19 TXST turnovers into 19 points and scored a season-high 18 points in transition. The Mountaineers held a 17-8 edge in second-chance points and scored 32 points in the paint, the most since scoring 40 against Mercer. The comeback win was the largest under coach Elderkin.
The Mountaineers will look to build off the win on Thursday against Arkansas State at 8 p.m. (ET) in Jonesboro.