App State women’s basketball drops home series to Georgia State


Rebecca Bridges

App State freshman guard Faith Alston looks to make a play on Feb. 5 against Georgia State in Boone. Alston finished with 2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss.

Ben Brady and Alex McCaskey

App State women’s basketball dropped both games of a home series against Georgia State over the weekend. The Mountaineers fall to 8-10 on the season, while Georgia State moves to 9-6 overall. 

App State once led the first game by as much as 9 points, but Georgia State rumbled back to take a 10 point victory. 

Defense defined the first quarter, as each team was held to under 31% shooting from the field. By the end of the low-scoring opening period, the Mountaineers held an 11-9 lead.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter, as the teams went to halftime even at 25. Senior forward Lainey Gosnell led the Mountaineer offense with 12 first-half points. 

In the third quarter, junior guard Brooke Bigott came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, securing five of seven shot attempts, including a 3-pointer, to total 12 points in the quarter.

With less than four minutes remaining in the third, Gosnell hit her third 3-pointer of the night to move into fourth all-time in 3-pointers in program history.

“It’s definitely a cool milestone, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates,”  Gosnell said. “We have a lot of goals in mind and we’ve got to keep pushing.” 

The Mountaineers hit 57% of their shots in the third quarter to head into the final period with a 49-42 advantage.

App State’s momentum slipped away as the Panthers outscored App State 30-13 in the fourth. Georgia State forward Taylor Hosen led the Panthers’ run, hitting six of seven shots to contribute 13 fourth-quarter points, effectively putting the Mountaineers away.

“We were giving up a lot of easy runouts,”  Bigott said. “Our passes started getting lackadaisical and they had a run, and it’s really hard to come back after they get a run.”

Gosnell led the team in scoring and rebounding with 21 points on an efficient 8 of 12 shooting, and 8 boards. Senior guard Pre Stanley, App State’s primary offensive weapon, struggled throughout the contest, shooting just three for ten from the field and recording seven turnovers. 

“This one hurts pretty bad, because we know how important that game was for us,” Gosnell said. “Mentally, it’s not a great place to be, but we’ve got to bounce back because we still have a lot of games to go.” 

While head coach Angel Elderkin expressed her frustration with the opening game’s result, calling it a “disappointment,”  she understood which adjustments had to be made heading into Saturday’s rematch. 

“We have to take away the paint,”  Elderkin said. “We gave up 42 points in the paint and we’ve got to do a better job there.”

The second game of the series went down to the wire. Georgia State guard Taylor Hosendove hit the game-winning shot as time expired to give the Panthers a thrilling 50-48 win over the Mountaineers on Saturday. 

The game started slow as Georgia State missed their first two shots and the Mountaineers had turnovers on their first two possessions. Gosnell opened the scoring for the Mountaineers, and then Georgia State hit the first three of the game to go up 3-2 early. App State senior guard Michaela Porter came up slowly after one possession but was able to return to the game. The first quarter allowed Georgia State to take a 19-9 lead at the end of the quarter. The Mountaineers outscored the Panthers 12-8 in the second quarter and cut the Panther lead to six after a Gosnell shot at the end of the quarter.

The Mountaineers came out of halftime pushing the tempo. After the first media timeout of the third quarter, the Panthers led by 10. App State sophomore forward Jackie Christ drew a foul after making a shot to help fire up the Mountaineer bench. On the next possession, redshirt sophomore guard Janay Sanders converted a layup, took the foul and made the free throw to trim the Georgia State lead to six. The Panthers ended the third quarter up 40-34.

The Mountaineers took the lead in the final frame after erasing a 14-point Panther lead. The Mountaineers scored 11 straight points in a little over three minutes, and Sanders gave the Mountaineers the lead late in the game. As the buzzer sounded, Georgia State hit the final shot of the game to come away with a 2 point victory.

Gosnell recorded a double-double while leading the Mountaineers with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Stanley bounced back with 12 points in addition to six rebounds and four assists. The Mountaineers also had a large contribution from their bench. Sanders contributed eight points and four rebounds off of the bench. 

“I think Janay is finally starting to come along and that is huge for us,” Elderkin said of Sanders.

The Mountaineers (8-10, 5-7 SBC) look to put this four-game losing streak behind them on Wednesday when they take on Coastal Carolina (3-9, 0-8) in Conway at 6 p.m. The game will broadcast on ESPN+.