WBB: UTA 72, App State 65

OONE, N.C. - Appalachian State University women's basketball (12-10, 6-5 SBC) suffered a 72-65 decision to UT Arlington (18-5, 10-2 SBC) on Play4Kay Day inside the Holmes Center.

Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) paced the offense with 18 points (12 in the second half) on 6-of-16 shooting with a pair of 3-pointers and a 4-of-5 showing from the line. Facing one of, if not the tallest lineup in the Sun Belt with five players of 6'1 or taller, Bayley Plummer (Thomasville, N.C./East Davidson) was impressive with her third straight double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds. Plummer was 6-of-10 in the contest, while she went for 8 points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone.

The Mountaineers clawed back from an eight-point deficit early in the third period to close the gap to just one possession at the end of the quarter, 49-47. Trailing 47-41, with 3:07 left in the frame, Story scored the final six points during a 6-2 surge highlighted by a runner at the buzzer.

App went into the final frame with momentum, but UTA scored on back-to-back possessions to go up by six points, 53-47. The Mavs went up by eight (59-51) moments later before Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds) came off the bench for her only 3-pointer to slice the lead down to five, 59-54. However, Claire Chastain was left open for a trifecta of her own on the following possession.

UTA stayed in front for the rest of the period. The Mountaineers cut the Mav advantage down to five once more when Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) hit a 3-pointer, 65-60.

That was the closest the Black and Gold would get to the visitors, as two scores on consecutive trips helped UTA pull away.

App State got off to a slow start with the Mavericks starting out with a 7-2 lead. UTA went up 16-9 late in the first quarter before Plummer hit a layup in the paint off a nice pass from Wilson.

Three straight points by Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) to start the second period brought the lead down to just one possession, 16-14. UTA responded by going on an 8-2 run that extended the lead to 24-16.

Story canned a 3-pointer that cut the lead to five, capping off a stretch in which App went 5-for-6. The defense during the stretch couldn't get the stops it needed to while UTA hit its next five shots. The Mavericks eventually pushed the lead to 10 points, 33-23, which was the largest lead for UTA.

App battled back with a 6-0 spurt thanks to a perfect pass by Brooke Bigott (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) to Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) for a 3-pointer. Wilson added three foul shots to dwindle the UTA favor to four, 33-29.

Bigott answered Cierra Johnson's free throws with a pair of her own that made the lead to four once again, 35-31. Johnson ended the half with a buzzer-beater to give her team a 38-31 lead going into the break.

Appalachian bested UTA on the boards, 37-31, including a 16-5 advantage on the offensive end. In addition, App posted 16 second-chance points to UTA's two and held a 30-24 favor in the paint. The bench also outscored UTA's reserves, 17-15. However, UTA shot 51.9 percent from the floor and made momentum-stopping shots when it looked like App State was preparing for a run.

Johnson led UTA with 19 points and Chastain finished the evening with 17 points.

Appalachian now has a tough three-game road trip coming up. The Mountaineers will have Thursday off before they face Coastal Carolina next Saturday at 2 p.m. in Conway.

MBB: Men's Basketball Falls at UT Arlington

ARLINGTON, Tex. – Appalachian State men's basketball came up on the short end of a 78-68 decision at UT Arlington on Saturday afternoon.

Ronshad Shabazz paced App State (8-16, 3-8 SBC) with 15 points, a season-high eight rebounds and a team-high three assists.

Isaac Johnson added nine points and six rebounds, while Justin Forrest had seven points and three rebounds.

Off the bench, Tyrell Johnson reached double figures for the fourth straight game with 11 points. Bennett Holley drained a trio of three-pointers to finish with nine points and Michael Bibby finished with a career-high seven points and three rebounds. In all, the Mountaineer bench held a 30-20 scoring edge.

In the opening half, neither team built a lead larger than four points. A jumper from Shabazz with 4:49 left in the first frame gave the Black and Gold a 33-29 edge. The Mavericks (12-12, 8-3 SBC) used a late spurt to take a 39-37 lead into the intermission.

In the second half, UTA used an early 9-2 run to build a 52-42 lead with 15:41 remaining in the game. The Mavericks pushed their lead to 13 points at 57-44, only to see the Black and Gold cut the deficit to nine points at 59-50 with 11:31 to play. UTA pushed its lead back to 76-61 with just under seven minutes remaining. App State would pull within 10 points late, but could get no closer.

The Mountaineers finished 26-of-59 (44.1 percent) from the field, while UT Arlington went 31-of-71 (43.7 percent) in shooting.

Brian Warren paced the Mavericks with game highs of 22 points and nine assists. Edric Dennis added 14 points and six assists and Andres Ibarguen and TiAndre Jackson-Young each had 10 points.

The Mountaineers will return to Boone and welcome Coastal Carolina to the Holmes Center on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. The contest will serve as Alumni Day for the program and the App State football team will also be honored at halftime.

TRACK: Mountaineers Compete at Darius Dixon Invitational

Women's Recap

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Appalachian State women's track & field competed at the Darius Dixon Invitational, hosted by Liberty, in its final meet before the Sun Belt Championships.

The meet was unscored.

The Mountaineers took the top two spots in the 3,000-meter run. Hana Ratcliffe won the race in 9:56.03, which is a PR and moves her into seventh place in program history in the event. Katelyn Butler was second in the event in 9:57.99 and moved into ninth place on the all-time list in the 3,000-meter run. Izzy Evely placed sixth and Megan Scannell was seventh in 10:15:06 and 10:15.68, respectively.

Emily Fedders posted a season-best in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:52.13, finishing first.

The Mountaineers saw three of the top eight finishers in the 800-meter run. Phylissa Greeley was second in 2:13.18, Kylee Frady placed fifth in 2:18.10 and Ann Mosely Whitsett crossed eighth with a time of 2:20.67.

Hannah Emery continued her strong indoor season, setting a PR in the pole vault, clearing 12-5.00 (3.80m), which placed her fourth in the event and moved her into second place in the Sun Belt. Elisa Sargent also set a new personal best in the 1-mile run, placing fourth in 5:00.40.

The 4x400-meter relay team of Jelonnie Smith, Jessica Dixon, Erin Morrison and Greeley crossed fourth with a time of 3:55.97.

Ashley Muschiatti recorded a fifth-place finish in the weight throw, covering 56-4.50 (17.18m).

App State will shift its focus to the Sun Belt Championships on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. Last season, the Black and Gold finished sixth of 12 teams.

Men's Recap:

LYNCHBURG, Va. – In their final meet before the Sun Belt Championships, Appalachian State men's track & field competed at the Darius Dixon Invitational, hosted by Liberty, on Friday and Saturday.

There was no scoring in the meet.

Gable Dershem captured the 5,000-meter run in a season-best 14:59.66. His time moved him from 17th place in the Sun Belt to first heading into the conference championship. Lawson Benfield was sixth in the event in 15:29.05 and Luke Bennett placed seventh with a time of 15:31.06.

In the 60-meter hurdles, Elliott Graves qualified second with a mark of 8.25 seconds. He followed that up with a second-place finish in the finals in 8.24 seconds.

The 4x400-meter relay tandem of De'Shawn Ballard, Jabari Johnson, Sean Doyle and Graves placed third in 3:23.70. Johnson also posted a second place finish in the 200-meter dash in 21.60 seconds, with Brenton Ervin finishing seventh in a season-best 21.83 seconds.

Peter Kenn tied his PR in the weight throw, recording a sixth-place finish with a mark of 53-5.00 (16.28m). Tyler Lewis also recorded a PR in the triple jump, finishing fifth with a mark of 45-00.25 (13.72m).

In the high jump, Jordan Dale placed fourth with a mark of 6-4.25 (1.94m) and Daniel Lauffenburger was sixth also clearing 6-4.25 (1.94m).

The 3,000-meter run saw Michael Flanagan finish sixth in 8:33.31, Isaac Benz cross eighth in 8:38.26 and Ryan Brown place ninth with a time of 8:39.63.

Appalachian State will compete next at the Sun Belt Championships in Birmingham, Ala. On Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. Last season, the Mountaineers placed fifth of eight teams.

SB: Apps Fall in 10-Inning Battle

ELON, N.C. – Appalachian State Softball dropped an extra-inning decision 7-6 against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.

The Mountaineers fell to the Colonels in a three-hour, 10-inning contest. The Apps are 1-2 going into the final game of the Elon Softball Opening Weekend Tournament.

Alison Durrence led the Mountaineer offense going 2-4 with her second homer of opening weekend. Ally Walters smashed an inside pitch down the leftfield line for her first home run of the season. Combined the two homers pushed the Mountaineers ahead 4-0 before the fourth inning.

Juniors Sydney Holland and Kenzie Longanecker split time in the circle. With only one walk, the duo combined to prevent the Colonels from scoring more than seven runs despite having 19 hits.

Both Haley Stewart and Durrence stood out on defense. Stewart captured an unassisted double play in the sixth inning by catching a fly ball in foul territory and making a tag at first base for the second out. Durrence threw a runner out advancing home from deep right field.

International tiebreaker took effect in the 10th inning. The Colonels were able to bring in the winning run in the top of the seventh, unanswered by the Mountaineers.

The Apps will wrap up this weekend's play against the Elon Phoenix at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday before returning to Boone for the home-opening doubleheader against N.C. A&T on Saturday, Feb. 16.

MTEN: Richmond 5, App State 2

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Appalachian State University men's tennis (1-4) fell to Richmond (4-1) in a valiant effort on Saturday morning in the ECU Indoor Tennis Facility

The Pirates won the doubles points and picked up four of six singles matches for the win. However, the match was closer than the score indicated with three of Appalachian's losses going to three sets and one match in doubles going into a tiebreak.

Alex Brea (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) and Milo Bargeron (Chislehurst, England/Bullerswood) dispatched their opponent in convincing fashion as the first tandem done in the No. 3 spot, defeating Klein Evans/Joe Nardini, 6-4.

After Richmond had tied up the singles portion, the deciding match went into a tiebreak. Bence Tamas (Budapest, Hungary) and Alex Pavkovich (Queensland, Australia/Mansfield State) fell to Kosh Keitelman and Matt Fernandez, 7-6 (7-0).

Bargeron tied up the match for App when he dealt Brice Polender a straight set, 6-4, 6-0 defeat. Afonso Viana (Rua Deviera, Portugal/Cebe Porto Portugal) fell in a three-frame battle after winning the first set, 6-3, before falling in the next two stanzas.

Pavkovich came back from a one-set deficit to force a third and final frame. He won the second set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-5), but ultimately fell to Matt Fernandez, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. Richmond clinched the match on court No. 4 followed by Tamas collecting a 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (10-3) triumph. The freshman also came back from a one-set deficit before storming back for his victory over Walsh.

Blake Carter's (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) match ended the day in a nail-biter. The sophomore won the first set 7-6 (7-5) but fell in the next two stanzas that included a tiebreak against Keitelman.

Appalachian will look to even the weekend tomorrow against the host, ECU, at 12 p.m.