Mountaineers fall to Georgia Southern 84-73


Courtesy of Cade Bettinger, App State Athletics

Junior guard Faith Alston prepares to shoot a free throw, Feb. 11, 2023.

Trey Blake and Bobby Phillips

App State welcomed Georgia Southern on Saturday. The Mountaineers struggled from the start as they would fall 84-73.

The Black and Gold only led once in the first quarter, 6-5. Alston led the team with a season high 21 points, followed along with five rebounds and four assists. 

App State had its hands full as they were matched up against the conference’s leading scorer Terran Ward. 

“We really just go into the game thinking of ways to take her out of her game and her sets, but that’s how we go into every game against a player like that,” junior guard Faith Alston said. 

Alston’s big night started early with two three’s in the first period, but the Black and Gold couldn’t do much with it as the Eagles went on a 9-0 run after. After the Eagle run, the Mountaineers locked up on defense, not allowing a score in the last three minutes, but failed to score in the last minutes of the first quarter. They trailed going into the second period 18-15. 

App State’s cold streak continued as redshirt junior forward A’Lea Gilbert was the only Mountaineer with points in the second quarter until Alston hit a layup and sophomore guard Zada Porter hit a three that facilitated a 7-0 run for the Black and Gold. However, Georgia Southern kept the odds in their favor by going on two runs of its own to take the lead 37-31 into halftime. 

Halftime saw App State’s annual Play for Kay Day tradition of chuck-a-duck. The tradition raises awareness and money for breast cancer research. The focus of chuck-a-duck is to be able to throw a rubber duck into a specific target, in this case the App State “A” block logo.

Head coach Angel Elderkin, who is a cancer survivor herself, had this to say about what the day means to her:

“You know, I don’t even think about it anymore to be honest. I just love chuck-a-duck. I wanna do it every game,” Elderkin said. “It’s a special day, but it is a lot more special when you have an awesome community around you like I do here.”

The second half was where the game started to slip out of the hands of App State. The Mountaineers only shot 40% from the free throw line in the third period and 50% throughout the entire half. The Eagles got up as much as 16 midway through the fourth quarter as shooting woes continued from the Black and Gold’s two best shooters, sophomore guard Emily Carver and graduate student Brooke Bigott. They shot a combined 4/13 from the three point line. 

The Mountaineers couldn’t overcome those self-inflicted wounds and finished the game 84-73. App State drops to 9-16 on the year and 5-9 in Sun Belt play. The Black and Gold sit at 10th in the standings heading into the final weeks of the season.

“I think just try to engage them as rebounders and facilitators. They’re always giving their all, so their impact is more than the 3-point shot, but you can feel the energy when they aren’t making their shots,” said Elderkin of Carver and Bigott’s shooting woes.

The Mountaineers are back in action Thursday as they take on the Old Dominion Monarchs in Norfolk, Virginia.