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Mountaineers dominate Panthers in Play4Kay Pink Day game

Senior+guard+Faith+Alston+backs+down+a+defender+against+Georgia+State+Feb.+17.+Alston+finished+with+a+career-high+11+assists+along+with+24+points.
Taneille Jordan
Senior guard Faith Alston backs down a defender against Georgia State Feb. 17. Alston finished with a career-high 11 assists along with 24 points.

In the annual Play4Kay Pink Day game, the Mountaineers defeated Georgia State 93-67 Saturday afternoon to improve to 14-12 overall.

Players and fans wore pink attire to bring awareness to breast cancer on a day honoring the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a vision created by the late Hall of Fame Women’s Basketball head coach.

“I am a cancer survivor,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “This game is special to me for so many reasons, and to have the survivors there and walk out with our players was a really cool moment.”

Saturday’s game also included the annual halftime Chuck-A-Duck contest to support the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation. 

On the court, App State trailed once after starting the game down 6-0, but the Black and Gold never looked back enroute to a 26-point victory.

Offensively, senior guard Faith Alston led with a team-high 24 points and a career-high 11 assists. Alston constantly pushed the pace as the primary ball handler, shooting 9-14 from the field. 

“We pride ourselves on pace and pressure,” Alston said. “I have the ball in my hands about 95% of the time, so it’s my job to be able to do that.”

Alston attempts a three-pointer against the Panthers Feb. 18. The Mountaineers wore black and pink uniforms for the annual Play4Kay Pink Day game. (Taneille Jordan)

Three other Mountaineers eclipsed double digits as fifth-year senior guard Taylor Lewis, sophomore guard Alexis Black and junior guard Emily Carver combined for 47 points. Lewis shot 5-10 from beyond the arc to score 18 points, along with a team-high seven rebounds. Black tallied 16 points as she shot 4-4 from the three-point line. Carver contributed with 13 points and two rebounds.

As a team, App State shot 47.7% from the field and 42.4% from beyond the arc. The Black and Gold converted 14 three-point shots, the second-most on the season and one shy of tying the school record.

On the defensive end, graduate student guard Mariah Fraizer led with her on-ball presence and defensive pressure. Throughout the game, Frazier forced multiple pickups off the dribble and picked up the primary ball handler in the backcourt, forcing the Panthers to speed up and become prone to mistakes. 

“She was exceptional at the top of our zone,” Elderkin said. “I thought her defense today was outstanding.”

The Mountaineers forced 20 turnovers and scored 24 points off their defensive efforts. 

“Turning people over and disrupting is really a part of our DNA,” Elderkin said.

Freshman forward Lexi Bugajski stepped up defensively as sophomore forward Rylan Moffitt got into early foul trouble.

Thanks to App State’s lockdown defense, Georgia State was limited to 40.4% shooting from the field and 23.5% from beyond the arc. 

“We packed the paint and went zone,” Lewis said. “Once we found success, we just keep doing it.”

With Saturday’s victory, the Black and Gold boosted their Sun Belt record to 7-7 and 9-2 at home with four regular season games remaining.

The Mountaineers will look to build upon their 93-point performance at home against the 18-7 Old Dominion Monarchs Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Chance Chamberlain, Associate Sports Editor
Chance Chamberlain (he/him) is a senior journalism major, media studies minor. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
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