App State women’s basketball pulled out a tightly-contested 71-68 win over Georgia State on Friday evening at the Georgia Sports Arena.
App State improves to 7-6 and 4-3 in Sun Belt action, capturing back-to-back league wins for the first time this season. Georgia State falls to 6-4 and 2-1 in conference play. Appalachian has won four straight games in the series against Georgia State.
Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) put forth an efficient performance shooting 9-of-11 from the field en route to tying a season-high with 26 points (16 in the second half) and going 8-for-9 from the line. The senior also grabbed a team and season-high eight boards, while pacing the team with four steals and three assists. App State is 4-1 when Stanley scores 20 or more points.
Faith Alston (Centerville, Va./Paul VI Catholic) came off the bench for a career-high 13 points with three of her five field goals coming from beyond the arc. Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds) scored a season-high 12 points, hitting all three of her field goals from beyond the arc. Michaela Porter (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points.
The defense’s ability to force turnovers played a pivotal part in the victory, as 21 turnovers led to a season-high 29 points off turnovers. It’s the fourth time this season the Black and Gold recorded double-digit steals with 12. App State also scored a season-best 15 points in transition. The Apps are 4-1 when scoring 20 or more points off turnovers. App State is 4-0 when forcing 20 or more turnovers.
Despite never trailing in the contest, the Black and Gold needed to fend off a Georgia State rally after taking a 17-point lead early in the game. The visitors clawed back to tie things up, 65-65, with less than a minute left in the fourth.
App State got it done at the line as Stanley hit four straight from the charity stripe to give the Apps a 69-65 edge. Wilson hit two more to make the score 71-68 after Moriah Taylor hit a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to only one. GSU had a chance to send the game to overtime, but the 3-point attempt fell short. Appalachian is 6-0 when scoring 70 or more points. App shot a season-high 40 percent from 3-point land.
The Apps got off to a hot start shooting 64.3 percent from the field en route to outscoring GSU, 28-15, in the first period. Appalachian scored half of its points off nine GSU miscues. Stanley set the tone early scoring the first seven points of the game that started an impressive 19-2 surge in the opening 4:23 of the game.
App State cooled off on offense in the second period but still held a double-digit advantage. Georgia State cut the deficit to 10 points late in the first half followed by an Alston trifecta before the half. App State went into the break with a 39-26 lead.
The Panthers stormed back in the third quarter outscoring the Mountaineers by 10, 21-11. GSU shot 63.6 percent from the field and started the half on an 11-4 run. App State responded when leading by four with 3-pointers from Alston and Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) to stretch the advantage to nine. GSU sliced the gap to three going into the final quarter, 50-47.
App State held onto a five-point lead following an Alston layup with 3:23 left to put the Apps up by five, 65-60. GSU wouldn’t go away once again with five straight points to tie up the game, leading to the thrilling finish.
The Mountaineers will go for their first Sun Belt sweep and a season-best third consecutive win tomorrow at 2 p.m. on ESPN+.