Mountaineers fall to Highlanders after slow start


David C Mayo dmayo.smugmug.

Guard Q Murray scored 11 fourth quarter points as the Mountaineers attempted to comeback. Photo courtesy: App State Athletics/Dave Mayo

Brooks Maynard, Reporter

The App State women’s basketball team took on the Radford Highlanders (5-1) on Sunday in a non-conference home matchup. It was the end of a three-game home stand and the team’s first game since last Wednesday, a win over North Carolina A&T.

App State (4-4) lost a tough 57-54 game, with two chances to send the game into overtime in the closing seconds. The Mountaineers put up an impressive rally late to get it close but in the end it wasn’t enough.

“We took ourselves out of it. We played in spurts and we didn’t put 40 minutes together,” head coach Angel Elderkin said.

The Mountaineers started slow once again, shooting just 25 percent from the field in the first quarter and getting out-rebounded 13-8. Senior guard Joi Jones scored nine of App State’s ten points in the quarter, with the rest of the field taking time to heat up.

The Mountaineers defense improved in the second quarter, bringing Radford’s shooting percentage down nearly 10 percent from the first period. Offensively, Jones continued to dominate, totaling 13 of App State’s 21 points in the first half.

A 7-0 run midway through the quarter by the Mountaineers made it a 23-21 game at halftime.

Radford pulled away a little in the third quarter, forcing App State to take bad shots and get into foul trouble, which affected them late in the game. The Highlanders continued to out-rebound the Mountaineers, 36-27, and had also tallied seven more assists in the game.

In the final period, the Mountaineers came alive in a last ditch effort to win the game. Redshirt sophomore guard Q. Murray, previously 0/3 from the field, hit three key shots from behind the arc, sparking an App State rally. The Mountaineers took their only lead of the game off two free throws from Murray, but Radford capitalized on App State defensive fouls and held onto their lead late.

With five of the six App State players that regularly dominate the minutes getting into foul trouble, the Mountaineers had no fouls to give to stop the clock late, leaving them little time to get an offensive scheme clicking.

On their last possession of the game, Murray missed a would-be game tying three-pointer and junior forward Madi Story failed to get off a desperation second chance shot in time.

“When you’re pushing hard, trying to get back into the game, you know, sometimes it’s a little too late,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of chippy things we should have nipped in the bud earlier that wouldn’t have put us in that situation.”

Elderkin was upset about the loss but looked forward to what the day could mean for App State.

“The best part about today, in our locker room, it wasn’t me, it was Joi Jones. She stepped up and she went through every person’s role on this team,” Elderkin said. “For me, that’s the moment that we need, because coach-driven teams [aren’t] as successful as player-driven teams. This is when this team will turn the corner. So I’m really excited about the lesson that we learned today.”

The Mountaineers will take the week off from competition due to exams, but will play again on Dec. 11 in Atlanta, Georgia against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Story By: Brooks Maynard, Sports Reporter