Caging the Jags


The Appalachian Online

Chris Warner

Stake your claim

This App State team makes a name for itself by their raucous play in the paint. They lead the Sun Belt in rebounding, averaging 41 rebounds per game, while holding opponents to 38.3 rebounds, providing the Mountaineers with roughly three extra possessions per game.

The best part for the Mountaineers is that their rebounds aren’t primarily from any one person. KeKe Cooper and Mia Marshall lead the team with 7.3 and 6.7 rebounds per game, respectively, but Joi Jones and Madi Story are no slouches either, bringing in roughly five apiece. This means that regardless of the rotation, someone is attacking the glass.

South Alabama, on the other hand, surrenders an extra two possessions per game, grabbing 37 boards per game while giving up 39 per game.

The Jaguars are no slouch in many other statistical areas, so for the Mountaineers this needs to be the attacking point, as extra possessions typically mean good things. If those rebounds come on the offensive end, however, the Apps need to be wary: South Alabama’s Chyna Ellis leads the conference by a wide margin with 65 blocks this season, averaging almost five per game.

Avoid the 3

It’s no secret: App State is not a 3-point shooting team, whatsoever. Freshman guard Kaila Craven has arguably been the only bright spot for the Apps from three, and even she averages roughly one successful 3-pointer per game.

The good news? They’ve still managed to put up 65.3 points per game despite abysmal shooting from beyond the arc.

Better news? The Jaguars, despite their 11-12 record, surrender more points per game than they score. South Alabama, however, feasts on 3-point attempts, boasting the conference’s No. 1 defense from beyond the arc. While the South Alabama defense is a respectable fourth in the conference overall, their strength is in defending the three, something which plays right into the Mountaineers’ hands.

Eye on the prize

Only 23 days remain until the Sun Belt tournament. More importantly for the Mountaineers, only six games remain. At 8-15 with a 5-9 conference record, it’s time for App State to dig deep and put together a winning streak if they want to find themselves in New Orleans a month from now.

Reeling from back-to-back losses, what better way to rebound than on your home court? Especially against the Jaguars, who sit two spots ahead of the Mountaineers in the Sun Belt standings with a 7-7 conference record and have won two-straight heading into Thursday’s contest.