Appalachian State University women’s basketball used a stifling second-half defensive effort to pick up a 58-39 win over Southern Conference archrival Western Carolina on Monday night at the
Holmes Center. The Mountaineers (16-3, 10-1 SoCon) won their fifth-straight game and swept the regular season series against the Catamounts (7-14, 2-10) for the third-consecutive season.
After the Apps took a five-point lead twice in the opening minutes, Western Carolina rallied with a 7-0 run to take a 9-7 lead with 14:06 left in the first half before ASU took back the lead with three-straight points to make it 10-9. WCU reclaimed the lead (11-10) on Janae’ McKinney’s jumper with 11:51 on the clock in what would be its final lead of the contest.
Maryah Sydnor hit a jumper just moments later to give the Mountaineers the lead for good, though the Catamounts were able to cut the deficit to just one point on three occasions in the closing moments of the half before ASU took a 29-25 lead to the locker room.
Appalachian State grabbed its first double-digit lead (38-28) on a pair of free throws from Anna Freeman with 12:45 left to play before the Catamounts cut the deficit to just seven points (38-31) just a minute later.
The Mountaineers would turn up the heat after that, reeling off an 18-5 run to give them a 20-point lead (56-36) with just over three minutes of action left. Western Carolina drew as close as 18 points in the final three minutes, but the Apps closed things out to pick up another Southern Conference victory.
Freeman led all players with 16 points on 5-of-12 shooting while Sydnor finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists. Courtney Freeman had six points and six rebounds while Kelsey Sharkey tied a career-high with six steals.
Western Carolina was led on offense by Diamond Hunnicutt and Rena Wakama, who each finished with eight points. Kaila’Shea Menendez, who entered the contest averaging a team-best 11.8 points per game, was held to just five points.
As a team, the Mountaineers shot 34.5 percent (19-for-55) from the floor and went 18-for-23 from the charity stripe including a 15-for-17 mark in the second half. Western Carolina was held to just 31.7 percent (13-for-41) from the floor and made just four shots in the second half.
Appalachian State won the battle of the boards by a 38-29 tally and picked up 16 offensive rebounds. The Apps forced 29 turnovers and collected 19 steals.
The Mountaineers hit the road with a game at Georgia Southern at 5 p.m. on Saturday before traveling to College of Charleston for a 7 p.m. contest on Monday.
GAME NOTES: ASU forced 10 or more turnovers for the 86th-straight game... the Apps improved to 53-11 when A. Freeman scores 10 or more points... Sydnor extended her consecutive free-throws streak to 19... Appalachian State finished with a 22-10 edge in points in the paint, 26-10 off turnovers and 15-9 on second-chance buckets... ASU improved to 29-8 at home over the past three seasons... the Mountaineers are 26-2 in their last 28 SoCon home games and 39-10 in conference games since the start of the 2009-10 season.... the Apps defeated Western Carolina for the sixth-straight time in the regular season.
ASU 58, WCU 39
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND TOTAL
WESTERN CAROLINA... 25 14 39
APPALACHIAN STATE.. 29 29 58
WCU: HUNNICUTT 8, ABRAHAM 2, McKINNEY 2, LANE 4, WAKAMA 8, MENENDEZ 5, CAMPBELL 6, LYON 2, TERRY 2 (6 REBOUNDS). FG: 13-41, 3FG: 7-16, FT: 6-12. 29 REBOUNDS, 29 TURNVOERS, 10 ASSISTS.
ASU: SYDNOR 11 (6 REBOUNDS), A. FREEMAN 16, TAYLOR 7, GARY 6, C. FREEMAN 6 (6 REBOUNDS), SHARKEY 4, EDWARDS 2, WILLIAMS 6. FG: 19-55, 3FG: 2-13, FT: 18-23. 38 REBOUNDS, 18 TURNOVERS, 13 ASSISTS.
Photo Courtesy: Anna Freeman, ASU Athletics