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Janay Sanders
Janay Sanders had 20 points to pace the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

App State Women’s Basketball Upsets Georgia Southern

Matching its highest scoring total ever in a Sun Belt Conference victory, App State Women’s Basketball got at least 15 points from all five of its starters in a 96-88 road win Saturday against a Georgia Southern team that took the floor with an 11-3 record.

With the score tied at 75-all entering the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers (7-10, 3-3) limited Georgia Southern to 13 points over the final 10 minutes and turned a tie game with 7:45 remaining into a 92-80 advantage thanks to a 12-0 run over the next five minutes.

Starters accounted for every App State point as the Mountaineers went 11-for-21 from 3-point range and 21-for-28 from the line while shooting 50 percent from the field.

“I’m extremely proud of our group,” App State head coach Angel Elderkin said. “I thought we showed a tremendous amount of fight, specifically in that fourth quarter just locking in defensively and holding a tough Georgia Southern team on their home court to 13 points. Just really great effort where it’s hard to really put your finger on one thing. I think the team is coming together and playing well right now.”

Janay Sanders scored a career-high 26 points, and Emily Carver fell one point shy of her career high in a 21-point outing that included 10 rebounds for her second double-double in the last five games. Faith Alston tied her season high of 18 points, matched her career high of seven assists and grabbed six rebounds.

Brooke Bigott also filled up the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while A’Lea Gilbert contributed 15 points with six rebounds.

The 96 points equaled App State’s output from a 96-81 league win at Troy on Jan. 28, 2016 — the Mountaineers’ second season in the Sun Belt. The last time App State scored more points in a win against a Division I opponent was early in the 2010-11 season, when App State had 98, 100 and 99 points in consecutive victories against Gardner-Webb, Elon and UNC-Asheville.

Bigott, Carver, Sanders and Gilbert were a combined 10 of 12 from 3-point range, as Carver went 5 of 6 and Bigott was 3 of 4. App State last shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range while reaching double figures in made 3s in an 81-78 win against Georgia Southern two seasons ago.

Bigott’s offensive rebound set up a tiebreaking 3-pointer from Sanders with 7:16 remaining, and Bigott doubled the lead on a 3-pointer assisted by Alston to push App State ahead 86-80 with 5:50 left. Two layups from Sanders, sandwiched around a Georgia Southern turnover, increased the margin to double figures before Bigott recorded a steal and Taylor Lewis blocked a shot to extend the Eagles’ scoring drought.

Another turnover by the Eagles (11-4, 3-3) preceded two free throws by Alston for a 12-point lead with less than three minutes remaining. Georgia Southern cut its deficit to 92-88 with 1:04 left, but Alston drilled a pullup jumper with 39 seconds left and Carver stole a pass nine seconds later to help ­seal the win.

The Mountaineers led by as many as 11 points in the first half before Georgia Southern rallied to take a 55-53 lead into the break. Neither team increased the margin to more than four points in the second half until App State’s decisive 12-0 run.

The Mountaineers return to action Thursday at home against Southern Miss and remain in Boone for a Saturday home game against Coastal Carolina. Both games will be on ESPN+.