App State women’s basketball officially opened the 2020-21 season on Friday afternoon inside the Quinn Center.
App State returns a mix of experience and five newcomers that make up this season’s squad, returning 70 percent of the offense.
“It was great to officially start with our team”, head coach Angel Elderkin said. “Through the summer, our team has been able to bring elite energy and focus. We must continue to control what we can control, and that is our best effort every time we are together.”
Who is Returning
The Mountaineers bring back three of five starters from last season’s team in Brooke Bigott, Lainey Gosnell, and Pre Stanley. Stanley and Gosnell are two of the squad’s leading scorers coming back, averaging 14.1 and 10.1 points, respectively. Bigott led the team in 3-point field goal percentage at 36.9 percent and was second in assists per game at 2.2 apg. Michaela Porter led the reserves in scoring while she turned it on at the end of the season, averaging 10 points over the final seven games, which was third on the team with three of her four double-figure scoring games coming during the stretch. Haile McDonald showed signs of improvement with four games of 10 more points, including a 17-point, nine-rebound performance against Texas State. Jackie Christ will look to make a jump in her sophomore season while Maya Calder brings a veteran presence in the post coming off the bench. After suffering a season-ending injury in the preseason, Tierra Wilson is ready to come back and show why she’s a threat on offense after hitting 119 3-pointers in her first two seasons. Janay Sanders sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after arriving from LaSalle. The redshirt-sophomore led LaSalle in assists per game (3.0) was tied for eighth in the A-10 Conference in assists. Emma Newton and A’Lea Gilbert are also looking to get back to full strength after injuries last season.
App State signed five players from four different states and Canada. The Mountaineers added depth across the board with their signing class.
Ash-Smith attended Dawson College, where she was the only player in the Réseau du sportudiant du Québec (RSEQ) of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association averaging a double-double 19.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, which both were first in the league in her final season.
The in-state native helped her team capture back-to-back 20-win seasons while appearing in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A Sweet 16 in consecutive seasons. Bertolina averaged 18.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.2 steals per game in her final season.
Alston was the floor general one of the top high school girl’s teams in the country at Paul VI Catholic. In her senior season, she contributed to Paul VI recording a 32-4 mark and finishing second in the top-20 ranking, and capturing a staggering 14th consecutive Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association championship. The Virginia native was named to the VISAA All-State First Team and made the All-Metro Honorable Mention list.
While at Moberly in 2018-19, Daniel appeared in 31 games with eight starts. She scored in double figures in five contests highlighted by a personal-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. Daniel sustained an injury at Broward that shortened her season in 2019-20.
Trumm set state records in Tennessee setting the Tennessee State mark for 3-pointers made for a career with 416 while leading the state in 3-pointers all four seasons. She averaged 20.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while joining the 50/40/90 club and became the only player with at least 1900 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists, and over 400 3-pointers made.
Milestones to Watch
Stanley is on pace to become fifth all-time in scoring at her current pace after becoming the 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points. Gosnell is on her way to becoming the 27th member of the 1,000-point club as she has 880 for her career.
The Sun Belt released the conference slate last week’s schedule for the season. Be on the lookout for a release for the non-conference schedule.