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Janay Sanders
Janay Sanders had 24 points in leading the Mountaineers.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Drops Home Contest to Norfolk State

App State’s women’s basketball team led for more than 26 minutes Thursday against Norfolk State, which has followed a WNIT appearance with a strong start to November, and the Spartans used a late run to pull out a 70-65 win against the Mountaineers at the Holmes Center.

Janay Sanders went 11 of 13 from the line and tied her career high of 25 points to lead App State (1-3). She matched her single-game high from a home win nine months ago against Texas State.

Lauren Carter posted 12 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks, while Faith Alston also reached double figures with 10 points in her season debut. Brooke Bigott secured a season-high nine rebounds against the Spartans, who improved to 3-1 on the heels of a 30-point win at College of Charleston, a six-point loss at Penn State and a 125-19 win to open the season.

App State, which led by as many as 15 points in the first half, took its final lead when Bigott drilled a 3-pointer for a 60-58 edge with 4:47 remaining. Norfolk State used an 8-0 run to carry a six-point lead into the final 20 seconds.

“I was really proud of our team’s effort tonight,” App State head coach Angel Elderkin said. “I think we took a step in the right direction. We obviously didn’t come out on top, but we showed a lot of toughness with some things we’ve really been dialing in on in practice in terms of winning loose balls and boxing out — little things I thought our team really brought to the table.

“Give credit to Norfolk State. They’re a very good program, a postseason team, a place we want to be. I thought they did a really good job of weathering the storm when we made the run.”

The Mountaineers trailed 22-18 early in the second quarter but responded with a 20-2 run over the next four minutes. Sanders scored eight points during that run, including a 3-pointer that followed 3s by Zada Porter and Carter.

Alston’s 3-pointer with 3:55 left in the half produced a 41-26 advantage, and a 27-point second quarter contributed to the Mountaineers taking a 45-36 lead into the break.

Norfolk State held App State to four third-quarter points to pull even, and the Spartans finally moved ahead on a layup with 5:01 left in the game. Bigott’s big long-range jumper 14 seconds later turned a one-point deficit into a two-point lead, and Norfolk State prevented the Mountaineers from scoring for the next four and a half minutes.

A 3-pointer from Sanders cut a six-point deficit in half with 17 seconds left, and Norfolk State went 4-for-4 at the line the rest of the way.

App State shot 16 of 21 from the line and scored 18 points off 14 turnovers from the Spartans.

App State travels to Morgantown, W.Va., to face West Virginia (2-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.