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App State women’s basketball hopeful for bounce back season

Junior+Guard+Emily+Carver+defends+UNCG%E2%80%99s+Nia+Howard+in+the+fourth+quarter+Nov.+6.+Carver+earned+third+team++All-Sun+Belt+honors.+
Sam Fleming
Junior Guard Emily Carver defends UNCG’s Nia Howard in the fourth quarter Nov. 6. Carver earned third team All-Sun Belt honors.

App State women’s basketball aims to have a bounce back season after going 11-20 in 2022-23. The Mountaineers averaged 67.1 points per game while allowing opponents to score 69 points per game.

 Former App State guard Janay Sanders highlighted the team averaging 13.5 points per game. Junior guard Emily Carver averaged 12.3 points on the season while leading the Sun Belt in three-point percentage at 44.4%. Carver earned preseason third team All-Sun Belt honors.

This season there are six new freshmen that are earning their place on the court and nine returning players from last season. 

“We have a family environment,” said senior guard Faith Alston. “Motivating new players and current players can always be a challenge on a team, but it is what keeps you cohesive.” 

Women’s basketball head coach Angel Elderkin is in her 10th season coaching for the Black and Gold. Elderkin frequently thinks about what she can do each season to improve and for her players to keep their heads in the game. 

“Trust and toughness,” Elderkin said.

The team adopted “Fourth quarter Fridays,” after the team lost multiple close games last season. These Friday sessions are to help the Mountaineers in close game scenarios. 

“We had to have lost around 10 games that were 10 or less points,” Elderkin said. 

On and off the court, players have learned the mentality “win everything.” This idea has gotten into players’ heads and has them thinking about all aspects of the game that need to be won. 

At the end of last season Elderkin felt a change needed to be made. After winning one of the games in the Sun Belt tournament against Louisiana, they were ready to attack the next opponent. After a tough loss against Texas State, she got back to the drawing board. 

Elderkin started the off-season much earlier than she has in the past. She made sure all six freshmen were aware of how this team ran and the qualities needed to become cohesive. 

Elderkin feels that sophomore forward Rylan Moffitt will be one of the biggest players this year to keep eyes on. Elderkin and her staff agreed they had a “rebounding void” and it needed to be filled. 

“She has been impactful since the moment she stepped on campus, not by her play but her character,” Elderkin said. 

Junior guard J’Mani Ingram from North Augusta, South Carolina, is going to continue to shine in this upcoming season. She came from Winthrop University and Elderkin always had Ingram on her radar and monitored her in the transfer portal. Ingram later decided App State was home and joined the Mountaineer family. 

Elderkin went into the portal and recruited junior forward Samantha LaFon 

“She was attractive to us because of her size and strength and she played in the league,” Elderkin said. 

LaFon was initially at Marshall, and transferred to App State with experience and knowing her expectations as a player on this team.

The Sun Belt Conference is aiming to put two teams in the postseason play. Elderkin stressed how important home games are with the success of this team and with the current schedule. 

“Through the assistance of the Sun Belt, we tried to create a schedule, in which we feel like we could win 70% of those games,” Elderkin said. 

With the depth of the conference, the Black and Gold will face many tough opponents throughout conference play, but they don’t have a particular team they are looking forward to playing.

“You talk about a game circled, I got App State circled,” Elderkin said. 

The Mountaineers opened their season with a 71-65 win against UNC-Greensboro Monday as Alston led the team with 15 points.

Next up for the Black and Gold is a Saturday matchup against Ohio in Boone. The game is set for 2 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributors
Tess McNally, Reporter
Tess McNally (she/her) is a sophomore journalism major from Waxhaw, North Carolina. This is her first year writing for The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Environmental Science Major, Computer Information Systems minor, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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