Comeback win caps WBB sweep of Coastal Carolina


Hiatt Ellis

Freshman guard Emily Carver pushes the pace against Coastal Carolina Wednesday.

Connor Davidson, Ben Gosey, and Ethan Smith

App State women’s basketball took the court against Sun Belt rival Coastal Carolina Wednesday in the first of two games against the Chanticleers.

Younger fans were in attendance as App State held its annual Education Day for elementary schools in the area. Many students made signs showing their spirit for the team and joined in an App State chant with the student section. 

I tried to continue to tell the players that they are role models,” head coach Angel Elderkin said. “So if one of those students left a fan of one of our players, I think that’s the impact I want it to have. Maybe it was their first game, but it won’t be their last.”

The Mountaineers’ offense started slowly, allowing Coastal Carolina to get out to an early lead. After the first media timeout, App State’s defense took control, shutting the Chanticleers offense down and propelling its offense to a 21-6 run to close out the first quarter. 

App State stayed hot going into the second quarter, with the defense allowing only five points the whole quarter. The Black and Gold held a nine-point advantage at halftime.

The Mountaineers opened up the second half slowly. Coastal Carolina took control of the third quarter, outscoring App State 21-10 and taking the lead heading into the fourth.

Junior guard Janay Sanders lays in an open basket as the Mountaineers defeated the Chanticleers 66-61 Wednesday. (Hiatt Ellis)

Both App State and Coastal traded leads in the fourth quarter. Neither team could take control of the game until super senior forward Michaela Porter hit a clutch and-one basket with four minutes left, highlighting a Mountaineers 7-0 run. The Chanticleers battled back with some timely shots to get the game within two with 28 seconds left. The Mountaineers closed out the game with junior guard Janay Sanders and freshman guard Emily Carver hitting three crucial free throws. 

“We talked a lot about how our effort can overcome execution, and I thought our kids really battled,” Elderkin said. “I’m just really proud of our team for continuing to find a way to win.”

Senior forward Alexia Allecsh posted her sixth consecutive double-double, finishing the game with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. Porter finished with 18 points. 

The second leg of the two-game series had a similar start Saturday, with Coastal Carolina attaining an early 10-point lead before a Carver three-pointer stopped the bleeding momentarily. This time, the Chanticleers held their lead and never trailed in the first half, holding a 12-point advantage multiple times. App State chiseled down the lead to nine heading into halftime, led by 10 points from Allesch.

Coastal Carolina continued its strong performance in the third quarter and mounted a seemingly insurmountable 15-point lead heading into the final quarter of the game. 

With 5:50 left in the game, Coastal Carolina hit a layup to lead 67-56. App State followed with an 8-0 run, six points of which came from Allesch. After a Coastal Carolina free throw put the score at 68-64, the Mountaineers faced a four-point deficit with just under a minute to play.

In the final 46 seconds, Sanders scored the game’s last six points to give App State a two-point win, including a go-ahead floater with three seconds left. This capped a 14-1 run to complete the sweep of Coastal Carolina and give the Mountaineers their fifth conference victory.

“Having not led the entire game and to be able to win on the road speaks to our toughness,” Elderkin said. 

Sanders and Allesch were responsible for more than half of the team’s points, notching 18 apiece. Sophomore guard Faith Alston provided valuable minutes off the bench, adding 13 points.

App State rides a program record five-game conference win streak when it takes on the University of Texas at Arlington Feb. 5 to decide who claims first place in the Sun Belt.