Mountaineers Fall in Gritty Effort at Troy....TROY, Ala. - Four players scored in double figures including a career-high 19 points from Ashley Bassett-Smith (Pickerington, Ohio/UT Martin), but it wasn’t enough as Appalachian State University women’s basketball (10-15, 5-9 SBC) fell to Troy, 86-77, on Thursday in Trojan Arena.

Bassett-Smith shot an efficient 8-for-10 from the field and three foul shot for her career night. The senior forward played a pivotal role scoring 11 in the fourth on 5-of-6 shooting. Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) notched her fourth double-double with 14 points and a team-high 10 boards. Bria Carter (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania) chipped in with 12 points while Q. Murray (Baltimore, Md./George Mason) as she flirted with a triple-double turning in 12 points, a career-high eight steals and a personal-high seven assists. 

Joi Jones (Duluth, Ga./Duluth) scored eight points, and Armani Hampton(Winston-Salem, N.C./Atkins) came off the bench to give App valuable minutes with two points and a personal-high six boards. Amber Driver (Houston, Texas/Tyler JC) led the team with a pair of 3-pointers as a reserve. 

App forced 23 Troy turnovers into 20 points while scoring 40 of their 77 points in the paint, holding a 40-26 edge over Troy. Despite being outrebounded 47-38, App held the nation’s leading offensive rebounding team to just 11 boards on the offensive end. The Trojans came into the game averaging 20 offensive rebounds per game.

Trailing by as many as 14 late in the third quarter, the App put together a spirited 14-5 run to slice the gap to two, 67-65, with 5:51 left in the game. Story and Bassett-Smith scored while Murray and Amber Driver (Houston, Texas/Tyler JC) hit one of two trifectas during the run. Troy responded by pushed the lead back to six but Carter and a layup from Bassett-Smith cut the deficit to a possession once again, 71-68. 

Appalachian continued to stay on the Trojans’ tails but couldn’t get over the hump, as Troy pushed a four-point lead to nine in the final 2:12 to clinch the win.

The Mountaineers delivered the first blow to Troy with a 13-6 start in the first 3:12of the contest.  Jones sparked the run with four points to start the game andBayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) capping off the run thanks to a nifty pass from Murray. Troy came back to tie the game at 16-apiece, but Jones grabbed her own rebound off a missed shot to sink a jumper before the horn sounded to give App an 18-16 lead after the first frame.

Neither team led by more than four points in a nip-and-tuck second quarter. After App had taken a 25-23 edge with 7:09 left in the half, Troy scored the next five points to go out in front 28-25. The Mountaineers tied the contest twice before the hosts went into the break with a 36-32 lead.

After Troy had extended the lead to seven, 41-34, App came back to cut the game to a three-point edge, 45-42, following a layup from Murray. Although Caitlyn Ramirez scored seven-straight points to stretch the Trojan lead to 10., and the Trojans kept App at bay going into the final period with a double-digit lead. 

The Mountaineers didn’t give up as they kept clawing back in the frame. Troy hit timely free throws in the final quarter to fend off the Apps, shooting 11-for-14 from the line and 22-of-29 overall. App shot just 15 attempts from the charity stripe and hitting nine of those attempts, leading to a 13-point advantage for Troy.  

Appalachian was also outscored, 24-12, from beyond the arc.  The 11 offensive rebounds for Troy tied a season low, while the 77 points scored is a season-high allowed by Troy at home in conference play. App State did a superb job moving the ball around, assisting on 20 of its 32 field goals (62.5 percent), as four different student-athletes notched at least three assists.

App will look to split the weekend on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET against South Alabama in Mobile. 

Tip-Ins

- App State lost its first game scoring 70 or more points

- All four double-doubles for Story have come in the last eight games.

- Bassett-Smith has averaged 17 points per game while shooting 15-for-18 in the last two games at Troy.

- App came away with at least 10 steals for the eighth game this season, notching 14 swipes.

- The Mountaineers scored at least 20 points off turnovers for the 11th time this season.

- App scored at least 30 points for the 12th time this season.

- Story is averaging 15 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in the past three contests versus Troy. 

- Jones is two assists away from inserting herself into the top 10 in assists in program history. 

 

The Mountaineers Topple Over the Aggies 11-3

GREENBORO, N.C.  – Appalachian State University softball overwhelmed North Carolina A&T 11-3 on Thursday at the Lady Aggie Softball Complex in Greensboro, N.C.

App State improved to 2-3 on the season after saturating the stats sheet with 11 runs and 18 hits and only making one error. Three Mountaineers bombed out three hits including Natalie Orcutt (Peachtree City, Ga./Starr’s Mill) (3-for-5),Heather Josey (Statesville, N.C./North Iredell) (3-for-5) and Cara Parker(Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes) (3-for-4), and Parker smashed out her first home run of the season. Also, six ladies picked up RBI with Alisha Josey (Garner, N.C./Garner) collecting three and Jenny Dodd (Mocksville, N.C./West Forsyth), H. Josey and Haley Stewart (Belmont, N.C./South Point) administering two.

The Appalachian pitching core held the Aggies to seven hits and three runs (two earned, one unearned) and only dished out three walks.

Game Rundown: App State 11 , N.C. A&T 3

Appalachian State started off the ballgame with a bang scoring three runs in the top of the first to gain the 3-0 advantage. Orcutt opened up the scoring window with a single to center field, and she was followed by Sidney Russell (Lincolnton, N.C./North Lincoln) who reached on an error to advance Orcutt to third.

With Orcutt ready to dash home, A. Josey reached first on a fielder’s choice which freed up a lane for Orcutt to grab App’s first run. Soon after that, Dodd came up to bat and crashed a single for a RBI, and H. Josey mirrored Dodd with a single RBI of her own that ended the scoring run at three.

After two and a half innings of holding each other scoreless, the Aggies cut down the lead to two when A&T scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Not deterred from the A&T unearned run, App responded with two of their own to widen the gap to 5-1.

In the fifth and sixth, N.C. A&T struck the boards twice with one in each inning, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Mountaineer Scoring Machine. In the sixth, App tagged on a trio of runs thanks to RBI from Russell, A. Josey and Stewart, and Parker accompanied that by sending out a gut-wrenching home run in the leadoff spot in the top of the seventh. Although the Black and Gold had an ample five-run lead, the Apps’ were not done racking up runs as A. Josey and Dodd finalized the victory snatching a RBI a piece to secure the 11-3 win.

Vanessa Ciocatto (La Habra, Calif./La Habra (Delaware State)) opened up the game in the circle and lasted for 3.1 innings with one hit, no runs, three walks and six strikeouts. In relief, Kenzie Longanecker (Sanford, Fla./ Winter Springs) (2-1) seized the win with a 3.2 outing that involved seven hits, three runs, two earned, no walks and five strikeouts.

Up Next

Appalachian will return to Greensboro, N.C. for the Aggie Invitational Feb. 18-19.On Saturday, the Apps are slated to play UMBC at 9 a.m. and Howard at 1 p.m., and on Sunday, the Mountaineers will face off against Valparaiso at 11 a.m. and close out with UMBC 1 p.m.

 

WTEN: Apps Down USC Upstate for Back-to-Back Wins

SPARTANBURG, S.C.- Appalachian State University women’s tennis (3-5) clinched its second victory in a row by defeating USC Upstate,5-2,in Spartanburg, S.C. on Thursday.

The Apps captured the doubles point, and four singles matches en route to defeat the Spartans (1-7).

"We've really improved as the season has progressed," said head coach Blake Mosley. "This was another confidence-building win for us. Everyone contributed to today's win and I couldn't be more proud of the team."

Heidi Swope (Weddington, N.C. / Weddington HS) and McKayla Zupan (Wilmington / Hoggard) took the No. 1 doubles match, 6-3, over Carol Sigaki and Vale Zarama. The duo snagged their fifth win of the season in doubles and second triumph in as many contests.

The doubles point was clinched when Megan Mullen (Moorseville, N.C. / Lake Norman) and Taylor Bygrave (Monto, Australia/ Miami Gold Coast) dealt Filippa Ericson and Eduarda Ferrerira a 7-6 (1-0) defeat. 

In No. 3 doubles, Melissa Machado (Miami, Fla. / Felix Varela) and Rebecca Morse (Lehigh Acres, Fla. / Cypress Lake) fell to Taylor Dodd and Anna Nemeth, 6-1.

Morse fell to Sigak 6-4, 6-4, in No. 1 doubles, but the Black and Gold was able to rebound as App State claimed four of the next five singles matches.

Swope captured the 6-2, 6-0 victory over Ericson in the No. 2 slot, but Gabrielle Wreder (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) fell to Zarama 6-3, 6-2.

The Apps took the last three matches of the day, the second time they have been able to capture the final three points.

No. 4 Machado took the court and defeated Ferreira 6-4, 7-5 before Bygrave continued the win streak by topping Dodd 6-4, 6-4.

Mullen was featured in the last match of the afternoon and downed Morgan Dodd 6-2, 6-3.

The Apps look to increase their win streak to three as they face Wake Forest on the road Saturday, February 18th. First serve is set for 3:30 in the afternoon.

Bobcats fall in season opener to Belmont Abbey, 23-1
 

BELMONT, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College women's lacrosse team dropped its season-opener to Belmont Abbey College Thursday afternoon, 23-1. LMC's record moves to 0-1 overall and in league play, while the Crusaders improve to 2-0 overall and in conference action.

Lees-McRae's lone goal of the game Thursday was in the second half when Callie Gregg scored with 26:11 remaining in the half. Joelle-Sara Prata picked up an assist on Gregg's goal. Anna Lingle also recorded a shot for LMC. In net, freshman Dayna Decesare took the loss in her collegiate debut after stopping five shots.

LMC will be back in action Feb. 25 when it travels to University of Virginia at Wise for its first non-conference game. The first face-off is set for noon.

For more information of Lees-McRae Athletics, follow us on our social media sites on Twitter (@LMCBobcats), Facebook (Lees-McRae Athletics) and on Instagram (leesmcraeathletics)

 

Seven Tar Heels Headed To NFL Combine

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Seven North Carolina football players, including highly rated quarterback Mitch Trubisky, will participate in the 2017 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Feb. 28-March 6.

UNC wide receiver Mack Hollins, tailback Elijah Hood, wide receiver Bug Howard, defensive tackleNazair Jones, tailback T.J. Logan and wide receiver Ryan Switzer will join Trubisky at the workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium.  

Trubisky, who elected to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft, is proejcted to be a first round pick.  In one year as the starter at UNC, the Mentor, Ohio, native set single-season school records for passing yards (3,748), touchdowns (30) and total offense (4,056).  He led the Tar Heels to an 8-5 season that included dramatic wins over Pittsburgh, Florida State and Miami. He was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week after his performance in leading the Tar Heels to a 37-36 comeback win over Pitt when he completed 35 of 46 passes for 453 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Although his season was cut short due to injury, Hollins was invited due to his incredible junior campaign and his big-play ability.  He led the NCAA in yards per catch (24.8) in 2015 and finished his UNC career as the school record-holder in yards per reception.  Before fracturing his collarbone midway through the 2016 season, Hollins had 16 catches for 309 yards and four touchdowns.

Hood, a native of Charlotte, N.C., was the Tar Heels leading rusher with 858 yards on 145 carries (5.9 avg.).  A two-time Academica All-ACC selection, Hood had his best season as a sophomore, rushing for 1,453 yards and 17 touchdowns to help lead UNC to an 11-3 record and the Coastal Division title.

Howard had his best season in 2016 with 53 receptions for 827 yards and a team-best eight touchdown catches.  The Rochelle, Ga., native was an honorable-mention All-ACC pick and had a stretch of three 100-yard receiving games in wins over Miami, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.  

Like Trubisky, Jones elected to forego his final year of eligibility and enter this season's draft.  The Roanoke Rapids, N.C., native was the Tar Heels' top defensive lineman with 70 tackles and a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss.  In the Sun Bowl loss to Stanford he was named the game's top defenisve lineman.

A lightning fast runner from Greensboro, N.C., Logan had an oustanding career at UNC as a running back and kickoff returner.  He finished fourth on the UNC career chart for all-purpose yards and set the school record with four kickoff returns for touchdowns.  In 2016, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry and was No. 2 in the nation in kickoff return average.

An incredibly productive player all four years at UNC, Switzer set several school records as a senior, including most receptions in a season (96), most receptions in a career (244) and most receiving yards in a career (2,907).  In addition, he set the ACC career mark for punt returns for touchdowns with seven.

 

Crawdads & Barkley Baseball Camps
 
Hickory, NC- The Hickory Crawdads and Barkley Baseball School are partnering once again to provide fans with both a free, one-day clinic and a four-day, paid camp this season at L.P. Frans Stadium.
 
The Free Clinic is scheduled for Saturday, April 29th from 2:50 pm -5:00 pm. Kids ages 5-14 will receive training from both the Barkley Baseball School instructors and Crawdads players, while also taking home a free ticket to that night's 'Dads game.
 
The four-day, paid Baseball Camp will run from Tuesday, July 18th through Friday, July 21st. Attendees will receive in-depth instruction from Barkley teachers and Crawdads players every day from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, while also getting a baseball camp t-shirt, a free meal each day, a ticket to every 'Dads game during the camp, and a pre-game parade around the field on July 21st.
 
Registration for the Baseball Camp is only $80 for all Claw Club members and $99 for non-members until June 30th. The fee rises to $115 from July 1st - July 17th, and is $130 if paid the day of the camp. Registration forms for both the Free Clinic and 4-day Baseball Camp are available online or at the Crawdads front office.
 
For more information or to register for either the Free Clinic or paid Baseball Camp, contact the Crawdads front office at (828) 322-3000.
 
Photo Courtesy: Cara Parker, App State Athletics