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Faith Alston
Faith Alston led the Mountaineers in scoring for the 17th time this season with 24 points.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Blows Out South Alabama

The App State women’s basketball team posted a commanding 96-49 victory over South Alabama in the Holmes Convocation Center on Saturday. The Mountaineers improve to 2-1 in the SBC and 8-6 on the season. Saturday’s game marked the highest margin of victory for the Black and Gold this season. It is also the lowest points total the Mountaineers have held an opponent to, as well as the highest score the Mountaineers have recorded in a game this season.

“I’m really proud of the way our team responded.” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “After Thursday’s game, we know that in the Sun Belt it’s a very quick turnaround, but Friday was a day where we had to wash out Thursday, we had to talk about it, we had to unpack it, and we had a lot of players in the room take ownership. I knew in that moment if they took ownership, we could have a better performance today and that’s what you saw from our team.”

Senior Faith Alston came within one of her career-high, dropping 30 points on the Jaguars. Alston has shot double-figures in 13 of 14 games this season and has been the Mountaineers’ top scorer in eight games. The Centerville, Va. native shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the line and accounted for four of the Mountaineers’ nine treys.

“When you watch App State Basketball, there’s a bus driver, and that’s Faith Alston. We go as she goes,” said Elderkin. “She plays with so much passion, so much energy, and our team just thrives. Everyone talks about her points and yes, she had a 30-point game and it’s exceptional, but her leadership in the huddles, her leadership on the floor, that’s what was truly exceptional and that’s what got us this big victory today.”

Junior J’Mani Ingram and sophomore Alexis Black also scored double-figures, with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Ingram and fellow junior Samantha LaFon both pulled down seven rebounds. In the assists category, junior Zada Porter led the Mountaineers, dishing out five assists.

App State recorded 31 points off the bench, 29 points off turnovers, and 24 second chance points. The Black and Gold held South Alabama to four 3-point buckets and eight fastbreak points. App State also forced 18 Jaguar turnovers. The Mountaineers scored 27 points in the first quarter before consistently scoring 23 points in the remaining three periods.

In the first quarter, the Black and Gold jumped to an early 6-0 lead as Ingram landed a pair of jumpers and Alston made a steal and broke away for a fastbreak layup. A trey from sophomore Harris put App State up, 12-4. As South Alabama struggled to keep up, App State went on 6-0 run to take a 24-13 lead. Alston drained a buzzer beater from the arc to close out the first quarter.

App State held South Alabama to a game-low four points in the second quarter. Alston combined for 18 points in the first half, scoring nine points in each period. Building off an early 7-0 run, the Mountaineers took a 34-18 lead. App State went on a 9-0 scoring run midway through the quarter, capped with a trey from Black. Harris drained a trey and Black drilled a jumper put App State up, 50-22, at the half.

Alston accounted for 12 of the Mountaineers’ 23 points in the third quarter, draining 4-of-9 from the field, 2-of-4 from the arc, and 2-of-2 from the line. Ingram and Frazier each contributed a pair of layups and Black sank a 3-pointer as App State closed the quarter with a hefty 73-38 lead.

Echoing the first quarter, App State went on a 6-0 run that included a pair of layups from Ingram as well as a jumper from sophomore Rylan Moffitt. Harris landed a 3-point bucket as the Mountaineers broke 80 points. Midway through the quarter, LaFon, Porter, and freshman MaKenzie Drout contributed to a 6-0 run to bring the Mountaineers to a 90-46 lead. Drout drained a jumper to total six points in the quarter. Sophomores Nadiyah Byard and Lexi Grant each made it to the hoop for layups to seal the victory for the Mountaineers.

The Mountaineers will head to Georgia to challenge Georgia Southern and Georgia State. The Black and Gold will stop in Statesboro first to take on the Eagles, who stand third in the SBC, on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. The Mountaineers will then head to Atlanta to take on the Panthers on Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. Both games will be available to stream on ESPN+.

On the horizon, App State will host Coastal Carolina on Jan. 18 and Georgia Southern on Jan. 20 at the Holmes Convocation Center.