The Appalachian State women’s basketball team was unable to keep up with the visiting Texas State Bobcats (10-9, 5-3 Sun Belt), losing 51-37 in a cold shooting performance by both teams. The Mountaineers (8-11, 3-5, Sun Belt) shot a dreadful 19.6 percent from the field.
The two teams faced each other recently on Dec. 31 with the Mountaineers pulling out a last-second victory over their in-conference foes in the first game of the season series, but the Bobcats were too much this time around in the Apps’ first home game after an almost two week road trip.
The highlight of the night may have been the pregame coming together of the two teams, who met at half court donning warmup shirts emblazoned with the hashtag “WeFightWithA.” The shirts and gesture continued to emphasize the Sun Belt conference’s support of Mountaineers’ head coach Angel Elderkin.
However, the game itself would not be as touching, as a combination of solid defenses anemic offenses led to a low-scoring and ugly affair. Both teams combined for a paltry 15 points in the first quarter, with none coming until 2:59 into the game.
Throughout the game, both teams could not get their 3-point shooting to go anywhere, finishing a combined 3-for-36 from three-point range. Elderkin was baffled by the ineptitude of the outside scoring efforts in the game.
“They better get the rims checked out before Saturday,” Elderkin said postgame. “To have two teams go 3-for-36 from three, it’s bizarre.”
It was not just the shots beyond the arc that weren’t going right for the Mountaineers, but they were a total of 11-for-56 from the field, only being supported by their 14-18 free-throw shooting.
Arguably the strongest showing from the Mountaineers on the night was their ability to control the boards and grab rebounds. App outrebounded Texas State 50 to 38, including 31 on the defensive end. Despite having a 19-10 offensive rebound advantage, junior guard Madi Story looked to the paint for a source of the Mountaineers’ offensive struggles.
“We rely a lot on paint points,” Story said. “We really didn’t have a presence in the paint a whole lot.”
Countering their offensive woes, the Mountaineers defense had a strong showing, forcing 12 turnovers and allowing a shooting percentage of only 34.5 percent. Also contributing to the defensive battle was Ashley Bassett-Smith’s three blocks, including a powerful rejection in the second quarter, App’s rare highlight on the night.
By the end of the game, App had committed 19 turnovers, shot 5.9 percent from beyond the arc in addition to their woeful field goal percentage.
The 37 points were the lowest by a Mountaineer team since 2011, when they lost to Georgia 81-37, and is the lowest offensive output in the Elderkin era.
The Mountaineers will look to bounce back against UT Arlington on Saturday, who defeated App earlier this season, and are currently one of the top teams in the Sun Belt.
Story By: Ian Taylor, Sports Reporter