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Chae Harris led the Mountaineers with 12 points.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Opens Sun Belt Conference Play With Road Win

The App State women’s basketball team (7-5, 1-0 SBC) opened Sun Belt action with a 69-56 road win over Louisiana on Saturday.

“I’m really proud of our team. It’s not easy to win on the road and it’s not easy to win on the road in the Sun Belt,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “I’m really happy we brought the effort in the defense. I thought our first half was one of the best first halves of basketball that we’ve played defensively and it really ignited us on the offensive end. Obviously, we have a lot to clean up in the second half, but again, just a lot of toughness. We talked today about adversity and knowing that even when you have a lead, things are going to happen and it’s how we respond. Our team really responded today.”

Leading the Mountaineers was sophomore Chaé Harris, who netted a team-high 22 points on the afternoon. Harris matched her career-high, which she set in her collegiate debut against Charlotte last season. The Snellville, Ga. native drained six treys from downtown, pulled down six rebounds, and dished out two assists.

“Chaé had a tremendous day today. She’s getting better and better. I thought the Mercer game she took a huge step, being able to impose her will on the defensive end and in her board play. Today, she shot the ball really well and provided a tremendous spark,” said Elderkin. “I think what you’re going to see with our group is we have that ‘woman down woman up’ philosophy and every night it could be somebody different. She was great for us today with her contributions both on the offense and defensive end.”

Senior Faith Alston netted 12 points and dished out four assists, matching junior Zada Porter for the team-high in the assists category. Graduate student Mariah Frazier shot 5-of-6 from the field for a career-high 10 points on the afternoon and pulled down six rebounds. Leading the team in the rebounds category for a seventh game this season was sophomore Rylan Moffitt, who accounted for nine of the Mountaineers’ rebounds. She also netted eight points and dished out two assists.

App State held Louisiana to four treys compared to the Mountaineers’ nine. The Black and Gold also tallied 18 fastbreak points compared to Louisiana’s six, and 16 second chance points compared to Louisiana’s two.

The Mountaineers maintained a steady lead for the entirety of the game. Junior J’Mani Ingram and Harris lead the charge, scoring six points apiece in the first quarter. Ingram put the Mountaineers on the board with a fastbreak jumper. Ingram broke the only tie in the game with a fastbreak layup in the paint to give the Mountaineers a 4-2 edge. A trio of freebies from Alston and Harris’ first trey of the game extended App State’s lead to 10-2. Another Ingram layup kept the Mountaineers ahead 12-7. Harris drained her second trey of the game as App State closed the quarter with a 15-9 lead.

Sophomore Alexis Black opened the second quarter with a trey of her own, which Frazier followed up with a layup to extend the deficit to 20-11. Midway through the quarter the Mountaineers went on a 13-0 scoring run, which included treys from Black, Harris, and Alston, as well as a Moffitt jumper and Alston layup. Harris beat the buzzer for a final trey to send the Mountaineers to the locker room with a 25-point lead at the half (49-24). In the second quarter alone, Harris drained a perfect 3-of-3 from the arc and 4-of-5 from the field.

In the third quarter, Moffitt got to the hoop for a layup in the paint to extend App State’s lead to 51-26. The Ragin’ Cajuns chipped away at App State’s lead with a 7-0 scoring run. Frazier made a layup to keep the Mountaineers ahead 53-33. Harris drained a trey and Frazier made another layup to extend App State’s lead to 58-35. Late in the quarter, junior Samantha LaFon made a layup to boost the Black and Gold to a 60-39 lead.

Louisiana continued to work to close the deficit in the fourth quarter, going on a 6-0 scoring run early in the period. The Ragin’ Cajuns narrowed the deficit to 11 points (63-52), but Alston answered with a jumper to keep the Mountaineers ahead, 65-52. A pair of free throws from Alston and a layup from Frazier sealed the 69-56 victory for App State.

The Mountaineers return to Boone to host Texas State at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 4 at the Holmes Center. App State will then host South Alabama on Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. Both games will be available to stream on ESPN+.