Bring the confidence, start fast and don’t look back
Almost exactly a month ago, the women’s basketball team had a slow start against Texas State before pulling away for a blowout win. This time on the road, a fast start is a must if the Mountaineers want to win the game. App State and Texas State have very identical statistics. Both teams shoot around 30 percent from the field and are not teams built for 3-point shooting. The Bobcats have a better 3-point percentage than the Mountaineers, but in their last matchup App was able to hold them to only 20 percent shooting.
Knowing both teams have similar strengths and weaknesses, App State needs to take their most recent blowout win as an advantage and come in with a swagger. During this win, they shot lights out in the first two quarters before slumping some when they had a large enough lead. App was able to hold onto the lead, which head coach Angel Elderkin says was a huge growing step. With a team that is seeking redemption in Texas State, the Mountaineers must stay alert during every possession.
The Bobcats have a 7-2 record on their home court while the Mountaineers have a 2-7 record on the road. This makes a fast start even more imperative since App is averaging 15-point or more losses on the road over their last five road games. The Mountaineers already know they are the better team, and they need to come out and prove that.
Let them know the rest of the Story
It was the Madi Story show the last time out against Texas State. Story scored a career high 31 points on 11 for 15 shooting and has since averaged 13.5 points a game, raising her season average to 12.1 points a game. She has proven to be the focal point of the offense, which has helped the bench learn their roles and contribute more. KeKe Cooper has been on a defensive roll in recent games and went seven for 10 in her last outing against the Bobcats.
Last weekend against University of Louisiana at Monroe, the Mountaineers saw all nine players who received time score at least two points, with six scoring more than four points. App State has won three of their last four games because they have come together as a team and relied on each other. Guard Joi Jones has been distributing the ball better than ever and now leads the team with three assists a game.
Elderkin said during the Mountaineers last press conference that if the bench and role players continue to know their role and play the way they are, they will be a tough matchup for anyone. Last time the Bobcats saw Story breakout, but this time App State needs to showcase the rest of the team.
Shut them down
Texas State’s leading scorer, guard Kaitlin Walla, is averaging 11.4 points a game and shooting 40 percent from the 3-point range. App State held Walla to a mere four points on two of 11 shooting last month. Shutting Walla down leaves the Bobcats with a limited amount of scorers and almost no 3-point threat. Texas States’ second option, Taelor Deere, will have to be played with lockdown defense in order for the Mountaineers to pull out another victory.
It is unlikely that Walla will have that bad of a game again, and if she gets going, that will leave App State focusing on two to three more scorers for the Bobcats. The Mountaineers must focus on everyone from top to bottom.
Texas State guard Kiani Lurry scored 25 points a month ago against App, which helped them stay in the game. If the Mountaineers do what they did last time and shut the Bobcats offense down, they should not lose this game.
However, if they get at least two scorers going, the Mountaineers will be in trouble.
Story by: Jason Huber, Senior Sports Reporter