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New faces come up big as Mountaineers beat Spartans

Sam Fleming
Junior Guard Zada Porter drives in for a layup against UNCG Forward Isys Grady Nov. 6.

App State women’s basketball tipped off their season in an action-packed game against UNC-Greensboro that saw the Mountaineers outlast the Spartans 71-65. The game was highlighted by App State’s second half defense where they held the Spartans to just 34% the entire final half.

The Black and Gold fell down by as much as nine points midway through the second quarter, but transfers junior guard J’Mani Ingram and sophomore forward Rylan Moffitt provided key rebounding and shot making during the comeback victory.

Senior guard Faith Alston led the team in scoring at 15 points along with three rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Emily Carver and senior guard Taylor Lewis both led the team in rebounds with 10 each. 

“We’re not the biggest team but we’ve got a lot of grit and a lot of scrap to us,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “So it feels good to get one game under our belt together.” 

The Mountaineers came out of the gates struggling while the Spartans came out firing. UNC-Greensboro went on an 8-0 run to open the game’s first five minutes before App State recorded a point. The cold streak continued as Lewis was the only Mountaineer to complete a field goal in the first quarter on a corner three. 

“It’s all about resilience and fighting through adversity,” Alston said. “You’re not going to hit every single shot that you shoot and you’re going to have some games where you start off really cold and you pull it together and get hot. I think a part of the first quarter was that we had a lid on the basket.”

Junior Guard Emily Carver defends UNCG’s Nia Howard in the fourth quarter Nov. 6. (Sam Fleming )

The Black and Gold finished the initial period shooting 1-14 from the field, which is good for 7.1% and ended the first quarter down 16-11. 

The second quarter was nicer for App State, seeing the two transfers in Moffitt and Ingram combine for 17 points in the quarter, 11 of which came from Ingram. Ingram, a transfer from Pearl Community College, was unstoppable in the second quarter getting two layups to fall early, and finishing the half on two consecutive jumpers to highlight a more efficient 10 minutes of play from the Mountaineers to go into the half only down 37-35. 

“When it was time to hit the portal and sign some players late we really went after the best people that fit App State,” Elderkin said. “Rylan, Sam LaFon, J’Mani Ingram, they’re all so grateful for the opportunity and I hope everyone felt their impact.”

After halftime, Alston made sure everyone on UNC-Greensboro felt her presence. Scoring seven of her 15 points in the third period and making a key defensive block on a short Spartan run, seemed to stop all momentum the opposition had going for them. Alston turned a block into a fastbreak on the other end before Lewis finished a putback at the rim. 

“Our defense helped set the pace and in quarters like the first quarter we had, you have to lean on that side of the ball to find energy,” Alston said. “Instead of forcing things up we really channeled that into a defensive mindset and had that start our runs and after that we were going. There was no looking back.”

Alston’s play at the end of the quarter mixed with two Moffitt layups brought the Mountaineer lead to 10 at the start of the final 10 minutes of play. A Spartan timeout and responding jumper halted the Black and Gold’s momentum for a minute, but a Carver three and an Ingram layup extended the run to 17-3 over the final minute of the third quarter and the first 4.5 minutes of the fourth quarter. 

With a 14-point lead, the game seemed to be out of reach, but sloppy play in the halfcourt caused UNC-Greensboro to bring the game back to single digits. Some good free throw shooting and defensive stands led the Mountaineers to pick up the win. 

An interesting stat from the night was that App State won the rebounding battle. A 50-rebound night was highlighted by Carver’s and Lewis’ 10 rebounds each and their ability to crash the glass against UNC-Greensboro’s center who only finished with five rebounds. Ingram and Moffitt both contributed on the glass as well with Ingram grabbing seven boards and Moffitt coming down with five herself.

Carver, who shot 3-16 from the field and 1-5 from three, did not allow her slow night to stop her from relentlessly crashing the offensive glass for eight offensive rebounds on the game and four in the fourth quarter alone. 

“I think that if my shots aren’t going in then I’m going to find another way and continue to impact the game,” Carver said. “Those second chances really help my teammates.” 

App State women’s basketball is back in action Saturday against Ohio in Boone. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributors
Trey Blake, Reporter
Trey Blake (he/him) is a sophomore digital journalism major, media studies minor, from Clayton, NC. This is his second year writing for The Appalachian.
Sam Fleming, Photographer
Sam Fleming (he/him) is a freshman Environmental Science Major, Computer Information Systems minor, from Greensboro, NC. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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