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Faith Alston
Faith Alston had a career high 36 points in the Mountaineers win.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Wins Regular Season Home Finale

The App State women’s basketball team defeated the Sun Belt’s No. 3 team, James Madison, 83-79, on Senior Day. The Mountaineers honored seniors Faith Alston, Mariah Frazier, and Taylor Lewis and improved to 15-13 (8-8 SBC) on the season and 10-3 at the Holmes Convocation Center.

“This morning when we were getting ready at game day practice, I gave the kids three words that really summed up the seniors,” said head coach Angel Elderkin. “I’ll start with Taylor. I said her confidence needs to bleed into the team, because when she’s confident, we’re confident. I thought Taylor really set the tone today with confidence. Then I talked about Mariah, we talk about her in the press conference all the time about how she’s our defensive stopper, she’s relentless, she gets those extra possessions, so we needed to be relentless for her today. And then Faith, we talk about her all the time about being our energy bus. She’s all gas, no breaks. I asked my team if we could take on that personality for the last time in Holmes. I felt like they executed that to perfection and it was just such a fun moment with the team in the locker room, just a fun way to finish up here in front of our fans at the Holmes Center.”

Four Mountaineers scored double-figures, led by Alston, who netted 25 points, and Lewis, who scored a career-high 23 points. Lewis drained five from the arc, while Alston and sophomore Alexis Black combined for six of the Mountaineers’ 12 treys. Lewis also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, while Alston dished out nine assists. Sophomore Rylan Moffitt came within two of her career-high, scoring 14 points while pulling down five rebounds and Black netted 13 points. Black and Frazier each pulled down seven rebounds.

App State shot 40% from the arc and 72.2% from the line. App State held JMU, which had been ranked 25th in this week’s College Insider Mid-Major Top-25, to nine points off turnovers and seven treys. The Mountaineers netted 14 points off the bench and 13 second chance points. The Black and Gold also recorded 16 fastbreak points compared to JMU’s seven. App State also caused 12 JMU turnovers.

Lewis and Alston combined for 17 of the Mountaineers’ points in the first quarter. Lewis opened the game with a jumper, to give App State a 2-0 lead. As the Dukes jumped ahead, 14-9, App State went on a 9-0 scoring run that included a jumper from Alston, freebies from Black, and a trey and layup from Lewis. Alston completed a 3-point play to put App State up 21-16. As JMU chipped away at the deficit, Black sank a jumper with 0:26 left on the clock. The Mountaineers and Dukes tied at 23-23 to close the first quarter.

Moffitt, who contributed six points in the second quarter, opened the period with a jumper to break the 23 all tie. She extended App State’s lead to 27-24 with a pair of freebies. Lewis, junior Emily Carver, and Black also combined for nine points in the quarter. App State outscored JMU, 18-14, in the second quarter to take a 41-37 edge at the half. Only turning the ball over twice in the first half, App State caused seven JMU turnovers.

App State netted 27 points in the third quarter compared to JMU’s 23, taking a 68-60 lead at the end of the quarter. Alston netted 11 points during the period, and opened the period with a jumper. Moffitt got around the defense for a layup, which Alston followed up with a three-point play. JMU managed to tie things up at 58 all, but never regained the lead as App State pulled away after treys from Lewis and Black as well as a freebie from Alston.

Lewis drained a jumper early in the fourth quarter to extend App State’s lead to 70-60. Back-to-back treys from Carver and Alston extended the lead to 76-64. Despite a 10-0 run from the Dukes, App State held tight to the lead as Moffitt landed a jumper and Black came in clutch with a trey to put the Black and Gold ahead 81-75. Carver and Alston sealed the Mountaineers’ 83-79 victory with a pair of freebies.

The Mountaineers will close out the regular season with a pair of road games. App State will clash with Troy in Troy, Ala. at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET) on Feb. 28. The Black and Gold will then take on Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark. at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET) on March 1.