The Appalachian State women’s basketball team hosted North Carolina A&T State (1-6) Wednesday afternoon in a 71-58 victory led by Madi Story’s 31 points despite a comeback attempt from the Aggies.
Story set the tone early and often scoring the first 10 points of the game for App State (4-3) leading them to a 10-4 start.
“The quick start is something we have been focusing on a lot this year is starting the first quarter out with a run, starting out with a tempo, giving the energy and giving the first punch,” junior center Ashley Bassett-Smith said. “Games we have came out strong we’ve normally came out with the win.”
With the quick start, Appalachian ran out to a 23-11 lead after one quarter holding NC A&T to difficult outside shots and getting out in transition with their fast break.
“We haven’t started well, they have taken pride in being a second half team but we ask them to make a conscious decision to be ready to go when the ball is tipped, and they did that,” assistant coach Emily Roberts said. “It was definitely a good game for us in terms of start to finish.”
In the second quarter running into the third quarter NC A&T improved offensively from an 18 percent clip from the field in the first quarter to get back into the game led by 16 points from Aliyah Kilpatrick.
But the 29-11 start for the Mountaineers was too much for the Aggies to overcome as Story was the story in this game.
“Madi had a great game, she pressed a lot early on in the season and she’s been working hard, getting up shots, trying to build her confidence and I think today she just played freely,” Roberts said. “She played ‘Madi’ basketball.”
Story led the Mountaineers with 31 points going 12-for-21 from the field, tying her career high in the scoring category that she obtained last January against Texas State.
“The basket was pretty big,” Story said. “I felt like a lot of things were going in and I just got started in the first half.”
Energy was stressed by the coaching staff and players after the game with it being a noon game sometimes that can be lacking, but it was the Education Day Game and lots of kids from local elementary schools were present filling the stands and being loud for their Mountaineers.
“It was cool, they were cute and it’s nice to have that many people because a lot of times don’t show up especially for a game right now [noon] because everyone is either working or in school,” Story said.
Also bringing energy was freshman guard Mikaya Wilson, who caught eyes with her relentlessness and non-stop motor that she provides on both sides of the court.
“We know when there is dip in energy which happens in the flow of the game and she is an energy player for us,” Roberts said. “She changes the tone for us defensively when she comes into the game.”
Wilson only played 13 minutes, but her presence was known as it seemed like she was in the middle of everything when getting on the court, and being only a freshman, expect her role to keep expanding throughout the season.
Appalachian shot a respectable 41 percent from the field Wednesday afternoon but only 11 percent from the three point line which needs to improve as they get closer to conference play.
The rebounding battle was won 47-44 by App State with senior forward Bria Carter leading the team with eight, four of those offensive in the win.
After the win Appalachian takes on Radford (3-1) in Boone Sunday at 2 p.m. as they hope to gain their fifth win of the young season over the Highlanders.
Story By: Adam Hothersall, Sports Reporter