A late second-half surge propelled Appalachian State University women’s basketball past College of Charleston to a 74-60 final in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C.
The Mountaineers (20-9, 13-7 SoCon) downed the Cougars (15-15, 11-9 SoCon) for the third time this season and the tenth-straight in the series.
Appalachian finished the game on a 15-4 run to pull away from fifth-seeded College of Charleston in a tight quarterfinal matchup at the 2013 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Mountaineers led the majority of the contest but couldn’t put the Cougars away until a late second half surge. A Jazz Green jumper pulled the Cougars within three (59-56) with 6:41 to play, but the Mountaineers would control the show from there.
“You’re always ready for No. 1, no matter who they are," said ASU coach Darcie Vincent. "But the fact that it is Chattanooga, it’s going to be a big game. You know something that for us, that our kids have to remember, first of all is the loss a week ago to them at home on Senior Day. But more importantly, last year at this time, it was reversed. We were the better team and we really put it to them."
A Raven Gary jumper off a steal began the Mountaineers’ game-ending run, as Anna Freeman put up four of the Mountaineer’s next five points to reach their first double-digit lead of the afternoon (66-56) with 2:57 left.
Cathryn Hardy would drop four straight to pull the Cougars back within six points, but a Bria Huffman jumper silenced CofC’s attempt. Maryah Sydnor hit four straight free throws in the final minute to return Appalachian to a double-digit advantage, while A. Freeman sealed the win with a pair of free-throws as just 13 seconds remained.
Anna Freeman scored a game-high 23 points to lead four Mountaineers in double figures, adding 10 rebounds for the her tenth double-double of the season. Sydnor added 17 points, along with Gary’s 14 and Courtney Freeman’s 11.
College of Charleston was paced by Alyssa Frye’s 12 points along Latisha Harris, who fell in double figures with 11, while Jill Brown recorded a game-high eight assists.
“As our coach said, it took a lot of adversity. I think as a team we kind of bonded together and we fought together for the first time today," Freeman said. "A lot of times, we have our own missions and we aren’t on the same page. Our point guard Raven (Gary) did a good job making sure we were on the same page.”
With the win, the Mountaineers advance to Sunday’s semifinal round for the fourth straight season, where they will face No. 1 seed Chattanooga (27-3). Tipoff is set for noon at U.S. Cellular Center, and will be broadcast on ESPN3. Locally, the game can be heard on AM 1450 WATA beginning at 11:30 a.m.
“We’ve been preparing for Chattanooga all year," Freeman said. "We’ve been playing every game to this point for the next game in the tournament. We talked the other day about how the regular-season conference doesn’t matter for anything, it just puts you in a seed for the tournament.”
Game Notes: Appalachian State shot 49 percent (24-for-49) from the floor to CofC’s 28.6 percent (22-for-77), and the Mountaineers pulled down 46 rebounds to Charleston’s 36. Appalachian led by as many as 14 points with 13 seconds remaining, while CofC led by one point in the first period (13:15). The Apps committed 25 turnovers in the contest, but shot an impressive 88.5 percent (23-for-26) from the line.
ASU 74, CofC 60
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Coll. of Charleston 28 32 - 60
Appalachian State 34 40 - 74
CofC: HARDY 7, HARRIS 11 (7 REBOUNDS), FRYE 12, TOLBERT 9, BROWN 6 (8 ASSISTS), HEWATT 3, HINES 7, GREEN 3, HOPKINS 2. FG: 22-77, 3FG: 5-20, FT: 11-16. 36 REBOUNDS, 13 ASSISTS, 13 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: FRYE 3, HEWATT, HINES.
ASU: SYDNOR 17, C.FREEMAN 11, A.FREEMAN 23 (10 REBOUNDS), GARY 14 (4 ASSISTS), HUFFMAN 6, MALLOW 3. FG: 24-49, 3FG: 3-10, FT: 23-26. 46 REBOUNDS, 9 ASSISTS, 25 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: A.FREEMAN 2, SYDNOR.
Photo Courtesy: Anna Freeman, ASU Athletics