Down eight points with less than nine minutes to play, the Appalachian State University womens basketball team staged a late rally to take a one-point lead with 3:07 left. But the Mountaineers (13-16
could not hang on and lost to Elon, 59-56, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament on Saturday at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C..
The Mountaineers, the No.4 seed in the tournament field, had final chance to tie the game), but Maryah Sydnor's three-point attempt fell short.
Elon, the No.5 seed, will play the top seed, Chattanooga, in the SoCon semifinals Sunday. The Mocs defeated Georgia Southern 66-57 on Saturday.
Appalachian, which seemed in control for the most part in the first half, trailed 21-20 at the break. Kelsey Harris nailed a shot with 22 seconds remaining to put the Phoenix on top at halftime.
The second half see-sawed back-and-forth, and the lead changed hands four times. The Mountaineers grabbed their final lead at 49-48 with just over three minutes to play on a pair of free throws by Sydnor.
But the Phoenix jumped back back on top on its ensuing possession and never trailed again. Zora Stephenson's jumper with 2:49 left to play gave Elon a 50-49 lead. Appalachian State narrowed the gap to one point on a couple of occasions in the final minute, but the Phoenix prevailed and defeated ASU for the first time in tournament history.
Sydnor finished with 16 points and five rebounds; she was 9-10 from the charity stripe. Katie Mallow finished with 15 points and tied her career-high with seven assists. KeKe Cooper poured in 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Elon had three players in double-digits. Harris and Lauren Brown each scored 14 points, and Jessica Farmer added 10 points off the bench. Harris also had nine rebounds and three assists for the Phoenix.
The Mountaineers were held to just 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the floor while the Phoenix shot 43.1 percent (25-of-58) and pulled down 45 rebounds compared to Appalachians 30.
NOTES: Appalachian State fell to 30-25 all-time at the SoCon Tournament including a 5-9 mark in the quarterfinals... the loss marked the first time since 2008 that the Mountaineers dropped their tournament opener... freshman Mia Marshall (Lilburn, Ga./Parkview) came away with a career-high three blocks... Appalachian fell to 2-1 when facing Elon in the league tournament... Saturdays game marked the Mountaineers final appearance as a member of the SoCon as it will move to the Sun Belt next season... App State dropped to 24-11 all-time against the Phoenix.
ELON 59, APPALACHIAN STATE 56
SCORE BY PERIODS 1ST 2ND TOTALS
ELON UNIVERSITY 21 38 - 59
APPALACHIAN STATE 20 36 - 56
ELON: RHODES 2, COFFER 2, STEPHENSON 8, BROWN 14, HARRIS 14 (9 REBOUNDS, 3 ASSISTS), RUFFIN 5, FARMER 10, CARTER 4. FG: 25-58, 3FG: 1-8, FT: 8-13. 45 REBOUNDS, 12 ASSISTS, 18 TURNOVERS.
ASU: COOPER 11 (7 REBOUNDS), SYDNOR 16, MALLOW 15 (7 ASSISTS), HUFFMAN 9, BARRIOS 2, MARSHALL 2, DONIERE 1. FG: 19-56, 3FG: 3-12, FT: 15-19. 30 REBOUNDS, 11 ASSISTS, 14 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Maryah Sydnor, ASU Athletics