App State drops power conference test, falls to 1-4

Junior+guard+Faith+Alston+uses+a+screen+from+redshirt+senior+guard+Janay+Sanders+against+West+Virginia+Nov.+20%2C+2022.+

Courtesy of App State Athletics

Junior guard Faith Alston uses a screen from redshirt senior guard Janay Sanders against West Virginia Nov. 20, 2022.

Chance Chamberlain

App State traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, Sunday to take on power conference opponent West Virginia in a 72-51 loss to the Big 12 school. 

“Although we’re having growing pains, we’re having a lot of growth moments,” head coach Angel Elderkin said.

The matchup against undefeated WVU proved another test for App State, coming off the Nov. 17 loss to Norfolk State at home.

“Just a really good experience playing an elite athlete and seeing our offense versus their defense, then our defense against their offense,” Elderkin said.

After the tipoff, WVU went on a 6-0 run through the first six minutes until redshirt junior forward A’Lea Gilbert stopped the run with a layup. App State continued to close the deficit throughout the quarter with scoring coming from the bench as Gilbert and sophomore guard Zada Porter were leaned on. 

“I was really proud of our bench,” Elderkin said. “Zada Porter came off and gave her best minutes in an App State uniform.”

After WVU ended the first quarter up 14-12, they would again have a 6-0 run to open the second quarter. The initial run was sustained as both teams scored back and forth, and App State went into halftime down 31-22. 

With halftime adjustments, App State held its ground in the third quarter as the WVU lead only grew to 15 points at the end of the quarter. However, WVU again opened up the fourth quarter with an 8-0 to put the game out of reach for App State. 

“I’m very optimistic,” Elderkin said. “We’ve had a tough stretch of games, and I think in all of our games, we learned something and grown.”

App State finished the game shooting 28% from the field and 17% from three. Compared to WVU, shooting 39% from the field and 24% from three. 

Coming off the bench, junior guard Faith Alston led App State in scoring with 10 points. Both graduate student guard Lauren Carter and Gilbert led the team with seven rebounds. 

With App State’s starting lineup being all guards, they stayed competitive in the rebound battle, as App State had 45 rebounds compared to WVU’s 48 rebounds. 

“One thing that I’ve highlighted with them was our board play,” Elderkin said. “It continues to improve.”

With the loss, App State falls to 1-4 on the year as the team has a seven-day break before taking on the 1-2 Davidson Wildcats back home at Holmes Convocation Center Nov. 27 at 2 p.m.

“We got to continue to develop our depth as our non-conference plays out,” Elderkin said.