App State women’s basketball started the season off on the right foot with a 74-68 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon at the Holmes Center.
App State moves to 1-0 while Charlotte drops to 1-0. The Mountaineers handed the 49ers their first season-opening loss since the 2009-10 campaign.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Black and Gold with Pre Stanley (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) putting together an all-around performance with a game-high 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. It was the second time of Stanley’s career she has scored at least 20 points, dished out five assists and grabbed five rebounds (2/10/18 at Coastal Carolina). In addition, the seven assists tie a career-high for Stanley.
The 20 points for Stanley puts the senior at 17th all-time in scoring. She passes Bryant and Joi Jones (2014-17).
Michaela Porter (Pittsburgh, Pa./Obama Academy) recorded the first double-double of her career with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) also recorded a double-double with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting with 10 off the glass. Brooke Bigott (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) did her damage in the first half, scoring all 11 of her points with three of her four field goals from beyond the arc and six boards. Bigott led the team in plus/minus at a plus-17. In her first game back, Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds) rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points on top of three steals. Wilson is now ninth all-time in program history in 3-pointers, surpassing Aisha Bryant (2001-04).
It was a tight-knit affair in the first half with seven lead changes and six ties that led to Charlotte owning a slight 32-31 edge going into the break. Giving App separation in the third quarter was a 16-5 run over the last 4:53 of the third period when the Mountaineers were trailing 42-39. Nine straight points by Stanley and Wilson started the surge before Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) came off the bench to score back-to-back putbacks to give App a 51-44 advantage.
App State got up to nine moments later thanks to a Janay Sanders (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) layup. The defense held CLT’s offense scoreless for 2:08 at one point, and eventually went into the final frame with a 55-47 lead. Appalachian forced CLT into 20 percent shooting from the floor.
Charlotte sliced the deficit to one possession at one point after Jacee Busick’s 3-pointer, 64-61, with 3:58 left in the game. App State kept its composure as Gosnell hit a pair of free throws before Wilson hit a field goal to give the Black and Gold a seven-point lead. The 49ers never got closer than five points with only 16 seconds left in the game, leading to the App State victory. Gosnell played a pivotal role in the final frame scoring nine of her points, taking a pair of charges and delivering the dagger 3-pointer to put the Apps up by nine with a minute left in the contest.
Facing a team that has six student-athletes that are taller than 6 ft., the Apps got after it on the offensive glass with 20 offensive rebounds that led to 24 second-chance points and posted a plus-3 rebounding margin. The 20 offensive rebounds are the most since the 2018-19 season (22 vs. Marshall). App State also took advantage of 18 CLT turnovers into 20 points.
Jazmin Harris led the visitors with 19 points and nine rebounds.
Appalachian will go for a 2-0 start on Sunday against UNC Asheville at 2 p.m. inside the Holmes Center.