Appalachian State women’’s basketball overcame a slow start and a furious Elon rally to pick up a 72-58 Southern Conference road win on Saturday at Alumni Gym.
The Mountaineers (10-2, 4-0 SoCon) managed just five points in the first four minutes but
the held the Phoenix (6-9, 2-4) scoreless during the same span before heating up for 45 first-half points en route to their first win of the calendar year.
Anna Freeman gave the Apps their first double-digit lead with a three-pointer to put Appalachian up 14-5 with 12:53 left in the first half.
ASU would find its rhythm from that point on, shooting 51.4 percent (19-for-37) in the first half while holding Elon to just 32.0 percent (8-for-25) from the floor.
The Mountaineers found themselves up by 21 points following a Canesha Edwards’ layup with 5:06 remaining and would lead by as many as 24 points on three occasions in the first half before heading to the locker room with a 45-21 lead.
Despite the 24-point deficit, Elon would claw its way back with a 21-6 run over the first 10 minutes of the second half to Appalachian State’s lead to just five points (51-46) but the Apps responded with a 10-1 run to push its lead to 61-47 before the final media timeout.
Freeman scored six of her game-high 24 points during the run, which silenced the crowd and swung momentum permanently in favor of the Mountaineers as Elon was held without a field goal for over eight minutes during that stretch.
The Phoenix was able to come within eight points (66-58) in the final minute, but Appalachian State was able to convert key free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Appalachian State shot 48.3 percent (28-for-58) from the floor including 82.4 percent (14-for-17) from the charity stripe while holding Elon to 35.6 percent (21-for-59) from the floor.
The Apps finished with a 40-32 edge in rebounds, forced 24 turnovers and finished with three blocks. In addition to her 24 points, Freeman pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and dished out a game-high six assists.
Courtney Freeman chipped in with 16 points while Edwards finished with 10. The Phoenix was paced by Ali Ford’s 17 points while Aiesha Harper tallied 12.
The Mountaineers return to action at UNCG at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9 before returning home against Davidson Sunday, Jan. 15.
GAME NOTES: Appalachian State forced 10 or more turnovers for the 79th-straight game... the Apps improved to 48-11 when A. Freeman has 10 or more points... Canesha Edwards started her second-consecutive game... the Mountaineers improved to 21-8 all-time against the Phoenix and picked up their sixth-straight win in the series... ASU’s win marked the fourth-straight year that the Mountaineers have won their first game following the New Year’s holiday... Appalachian State improved to 35-9 in SoCon games since the start of the 2009-10 season... the Mountaineers outscored the Phoenix 24-10 in the paint, 15-0 on second-chance buckets and 10-0 on the fast break in the first half.
ASU 72, ELON 58
Score by periods 1st 2nd Total
Appalachian State........................45 27 72
Elon........................................21 37 58
ASU: A. FREEMAN 24 (8 REBOUNDS, 6 ASSISTS), WELDON 8 (4 ASSISTS), C. FREEMAN 16 (7 REBOUNDS), EDWARDS 10, GARY 2, TAYLOR 2, SYDNOR 8, WILLIAMS 2. FG: 28-58, 3FG: 2-6, FT: 14-17. 40 REBOUNDS, 21 TURNOVERS, 12 ASSISTS.
ELON: EVANS 8 (8 REBOUNDS), COFFER 6, HARPER 12, FORD 17, HARRIS 6, STEPHENSON 3, BATTEN 3, COCHRAHAM 3. FG: 21-59, 3FG: 7-20, FT: 9-12. 32 REBOUNDS, 24 TURNOVERS, 14 ASSISTS.
Photo Courtesy: Anna Freeman, ASU Athletics