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Faith Alston
Faith Alston led the Mountaineers in scoring for the 18th time this season with 25 points.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Edges Out From Furman

The App State women’s basketball team defeated Furman, 68-63, in its Thanksgiving Basketball Clasico opener in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Thursday. The Mountaineers are now 3-1 (0-0 SBC) on the season.

“I’m just really proud of our team and their resilience throughout the game,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “Furman hit us in several stretches where they executed really well, they made some really tough shots, and we didn’t blink. That’s something that we talk about in our program: just keep fighting, one possession at a time, and just keep going at it. In the fourth quarter, we talked about our pressure, we talked about our pace, but we said we’ve got to have our poise to finish this and I felt like they were down the stretch.”

A trio of Mountaineers scored double figures, led by senior Faith Alston, who netted 17 points. In her first start of the 2023-24 campaign, junior Zada Porter scored 14 points, while fellow junior Emily Carver tallied 13 points. Carver grabbed a team-high six rebounds, while Alston dished out three assists. Sophomore Rylan Moffitt tallied four steals on the afternoon.

App State recorded 29 points off turnovers as well as 28 points in the paint. The Black and Gold also recorded 19 fast break points compared to Furman’s five. The Mountaineers and Paladins tied the score 13 times and fought through 16 lead changes.

Alston put the Mountaineers on the board with a fastbreak layup to open the game. The Mountaineers kept pace with the Paladins, taking an 8-7 edge after an Alston jumper. Freshman MaKenzie Drout and Carver extended the deficit to 12-7 after a pair of layups. A second Drout layup put App State up 14-7. The Paladins went on a 7-0 run to tie things up at 14 all at the end of the quarter.

Carver drained a trey to open the second quarter, putting App State ahead 17-14, but the Paladins were quick to answer with a trey of their own. Sophomore Chaé Harris landed a jumper to tie things at 19 all, and kept things tied at 21 all after making a layup. Alston cut into Furman’s 33-25 lead with a 3-point bucket, but Furman closed out the half ahead, 34-28

Back-to-back jumpers from Porter and Carver cut Furman’s lead to 34-32 early in the third quarter. A Carver layup and a freebie from Porter gave the Black and Gold a 35-34 edge. A layup in the paint from Drout kept the Mountaineers ahead, 37-36. The Paladins took a 10-point lead (47-37), but App State steadily chipped away at the deficit with a jumper from junior Samantha LaFon, a layup from Porter, and free throws from graduate student Mariah Frazier. A jumper from Frazier tied things up at 45 all. Alston kept the score tied at 47 all with her own jumper. Harris closed out the quarter with a layup, which pushed the Mountaineers ahead, 49-48.

The Mountaineers and Paladins kept pace with each other in the fourth quarter, tying the score at 51 all and 56 all. Moffitt landed a jumper that gave App State a 59-58 edge. Porter broke a 59-59 tie after sinking a 3-point bucket that gave App State a 62-59 edge. Carver extended App State’s lead to 64-61 after a layup. As Furman attempted to keep up with the Mountaineers, a pair of free throws from Porter and a pair from Alston sealed the victory for App State, 68-63.

The Mountaineers will wrap competition at the Thanksgiving Basketball Clasico on Friday with a 2:30 p.m. AT (1:30 p.m. ET) game against Binghamton.

Friday’s game against the Mountaineers will serve as the Bearcats’ tournament opener, as they will take on Furman on Saturday. Binghamton is 2-3 (0-0 AEC) after a road loss to Navy on Tuesday. The Bearcats posted victories over Division II opponent Bloomsburg University as well as St. Bonaventure.

Ella Wanzer is Binghamton’s top scorer, averaging 15.2 points per game. Genevieve Coleman averages 13.5 points per game and boasts a free throw percentage of .938. Pulling down an average 5.2 rebounds per contest is Jadyn Weltz. Weltz also averages a team-high 4.0 assists per game.