App State women’s basketball got the new year off to a great start with a 78-66 win over Troy on Friday evening at Trojan Arena.
The Mountaineers improve to 4-3 and 1-0 in Sun Belt action while Troy falls to 4-4 and 0-1 in league action. App State handed Troy its first Sun Belt-opening loss since the 2015-16 campaign.
Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) led the team in scoring with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field. Her damage came in the first half as she poured in 19. Stanley also tied a personal high with seven assists and tied a season-high with seven rebounds. With 1,292 career points, Stanley is now 11th all-time in scoring, surpassing Natasha Lettsome (1997-00:1,275 points) and Andreia Hinton (1993-96; 1,282 points).
Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) stepped up scoring a season-high 16 points (14 in the second half) and grabbed six boards. Michaela Porter (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) registered career highs in points (15) and rebounds (14) for her third double-double of the season. The duo combined for 25 points of the Apps’ 44 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Gosnell is seventh all-time in 3-pointers with 135, moving past Karen Gruca (1989-90; 133). Gosnell was a team-high plus-28 in 23 minutes.
It was a tight-knit affair in the Sun Belt opener despite App State having the lead for the majority of the contest. Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) started a 9-0 run with the scored tied 40-40 in the third quarter followed by a field goal from Faith Alston (Centerville, Va./Paul VI Catholic) and five straight points by Porter that pushed the lead to 49-40. Alston scored a career-high nine points.
Troy didn’t go away as it responded with a 7-0 spurt over the next 1:44 to slice the App lead to a possession going into the final period, 49-47.
Gosnell started the fourth with a trifecta that pushed the lead to five. That was the largest lead until App State pulled away late in the contest. The Mountaineers were leading by three with 2:53 left when the defense held Troy scoreless for the next 1:29. Gosnell scored three points the old-fashioned way before Janay Sanders (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) canned two at the free-throw line, extending the lead to eight points, 70-62.
App State never trailed by less than six over the final 1:24 of the game with the Apps pulling away for the win and snapping an eight-game skid in the series.
After turning the ball over 17 times in the first half, the Apps improved with 11 turnovers in the second stanza. The defense held Troy to a season-low 27.1 percent field goal percentage and posted a 54-45 rebounding edge on the glass against one of the top rebounding teams in the league.
Appalachian outscored Troy in second-chance points, 19-9, and scored a season-high 25 points off turnovers.
App State is 4-1 when it records at least 15 points off turnovers.