Chattanooga women trip App State in OT
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Appalachian State's women's basketball team showed Monday that even during a difficult season, it has enough to compete with the top teams in the Southern Conference.
Chattanooga, which is in first place in the SoCon, needed an overtime period to beat the Mountaineers 73-68 at the Holmes Center. The Mocs (14-3, 6-0 SoCon) outscored Appalachian State (5-10, 2-3) 10-3 after the Mountaineers led 65-63 with 4:04 left in the overtime period.
App State coach Darcie Vincent likes the direction the Mountaineers are going since opening the season with a 2-9 record that was capped by a 52-38 loss at Ohio State. The Mountaineers are 3-2 since that loss then, and went into the Chattanooga game winners of three of their last four games.
Two of those wins were a 63-43 victory over Wofford and a 61-47 win over Samford.
"We've been getting better every day that's our goal," Appalachian State coach Darcie Vincent said. "We need to keep growing and growing. We have so many young kids and the Wofford game gave us hope. It wasn't a game you won by five or 10 points; you beat them by 20. That's the statement. Then you come out at Samford who is a great perimeter team and basically handle that game. The young kids are getting the confidence so they know how good we can be. Tonight is indicative of that."
The Mountaineers' younger players -- five freshmen and three sophomores -- watched junior forward Maryah Sydnor turned in a standout performance by scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Sydnor made 7-of-10 shots from the field and all six of her foul shots.
The Mountaineers shot 54.3 percent from the field, including 66.7 percent in the first half. The Mountaineers also outrebounded Chattanooga 35-30.
"We still haven't peaked," Sydnor said. "We are a very young team and just started playing together. Tonight was one of those games when one play could have made the difference."
Chattanooga's resume has been impressive this season. The Mocs have beaten Auburn, Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham, Colorado State and lost to Minnesota by one point.
The Mocs have won 10 games in a row, but needed to make key plays to beat the Mountaineers. Chattanooga, leading 71-68, looked to be in trouble when Tatiana Jackson missed a shot with 25 seconds left in the game.
Jackson chased down the offensive rebound, and Chattanooga's Taylor Hall was fouled later in the possession. Hall hit two free throws with 16 seconds left in the game to seal the win for the Mocs.
"She almost air-balled it and she would have been better off to air-ball it," Vincent said of Jackson's shot. "We talked about it. This wasn't a team that was going to disappear. Even there, I'm trying to scream to our players that every time Hall catches the ball, she's going to chuck it up -- she's going to shoot it and we fouled her. We can't put Taylor Hall on the free throw line."
Chattanooga had a chance to win the game in overtime after taking a 61-58 lead with 2:02 left in the game. App State rallied with a KeKe Cooper steal, who found Bria Huffman for a layup with 1:15 left.
Cooper stole the ball again on Chattanooga's next possession, was fouled, and made one free throw to tie the game with 1:00 left. The Mocs missed shots on their last two possessions, but Cooper's final shot for App State was no good and the game went to overtime.
Vincent was encouraged with the Mountaineers' performance because the Mocs have five seniors and one junior on their roster, compared to App State's roster that has one senior (guard Michelle Taylor), and three juniors.
"Chat hasn't had any overtime games and outside of their losses, this is as close as anybody has played them," Vincent said. "We played the best team in the league with a ton of experience... there's a big gap in the age experience that they have on the floor comparatively to us."
Hall scored 19 points, even though she made just 4-of-12 shots from the field. She also made 9-of-13 from the foul line, and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Mocs guard Alex Black added 17 points and former Mountaineer Ashlen Dewart scored 12. Chattanooga, the top shooting team in the SoCon at 44 percent, hit 40.4 percent from the field.
The Mountaineers, who played in just their second home game since Dec. 15 on Monday, play at Elon
Chattanooga women 73, Appalachian State 68 (OT)
Chattanooga 73 (14-3, 6-0 SoCon)
Hall 4-12 9-13 19, Gilbert 0-0 0-0 0, Dewart 5-13 2-3 12, Black 6-9 1-2 17, Shumpert 1-1 3-5 6, Payne 1-3 0-0 2, Towns 0-5 2-2 2, Downes 3-6 0-0 7, Jackson 0-2 0-0 0, DuPree 3-6 2-2 8. Totals 23-57 19-27 73.
Appalachian State 68 (5-10, 2-3)
Sydnor 7-10 6-6 20, Marshall 0-1 0-0 0, Cooper 6-9 5-8 17, Jones 2-4 0-2 4, Huffman 7-16 3-4 17, Wood 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 0-1 1-2 1, Hoover 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Mallow 1-2 2-4 5, Doniere 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 25-46 17-26 68.
Halftime score--App State 26, Chattanooga 26. End of regulation--Tied 61-61. 3-point goals--UTC 8-22 (Black 4-7, Hall 2-4, Shumpert 1-1, Downes 1-3, Payne 0-1, Jackson 0-1, Townes 0-3); App State 1-2 (Mallow 1-1, Sydnor 0-1). Rebounds--UTC 30 (Hall 10), App State 35 (Sydnor 14). Assists--UTC 18 (Hall 4), App State 10 (Cooper 4). Steals--UTC 12 (Black 3), App State 6 (Cooper 3). Turnovers--UTC 12, App State 19. Total fouls--UTC 23, App State 24. Fouled out--UTC, Dewart; App State, Doniere. Technical fouls--None. Att.--439.