Big Wins For App State Volleyball and Women's Hoops.... (2018-11-18 14:41:44)

Volleyball Advances to Sun Belt Tournament Championship with 3-1 Win Over Arkansas State

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Appalachian State volleyball advanced to the Sun Belt Tournament finals with a 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 30-28, 25-23) victory over Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon.

The second seeded Mountaineers (22-7) will take on either top seed Texas State or fourth seed Little Rock on Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

App State will make its second ever appearance in the Sun Belt Tournament finals. The Mountaineers played in the championship match in 2015, falling to Arkansas State 3-2.

The teams were gridlocked at a set apiece as the Mountaineers won the first set 25-20, while the Red Wolves (21-13) grabbed the second 25-21.

In Set 3, Arkansas State jumped out to a 15-12 lead, only to see App State answer back with five straight points to take a 17-15 edge. The Mountaineers built a 21-19 advantage, but Arkansas State responded with four straight points to take a 23-21 lead. The Black and Gold tied the set at 23-23 and saved four set points to knot the set at 27-27. A kill by Kara Spicer gave the Mountaineers a 28-27 lead, but the Red Wolves came right back with a point to tie the score at 28-28. Victoria Wilform put the Apps back in front with a kill and block assists by Spicer and Wilform on a Red Wolves attack clinched the set for App State by a 30-28 count.

Arkansas State took a commanding 20-15 lead in Set 4. The Mountaineers countered with seven of the next eight points to jump in front 22-21. The Red Wolves won the next point, but App State got a kill from Emma Longley and an attack error by Arkansas State to open a 24-22 edge. Following a Red Wolves point, Amya Giger clinched the victory with a kill to give App State the set by a 25-23 count.

Three players posted at least 15 kills for the Black and Gold. Longley tallied a team-high 18 kills on a .326 hitting mark to go along with 10 digs. Spicer added 16 kills and Giger posted a career-high 15 kills on a .560 hitting percentage.

Becky Porter notched a double-double with 57 assists and a career-high 19 digs. She also recorded her 1,000th assist of the season in the victory. Emma Reilly also reached double figures in digs with 20.

WBB: App State 81, Davidson 78

DAVIDSON, N.C. - With 21 seconds left in the game, Ashley Polacek (Ottawa, Canada/UCF) hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to help lift Appalachian State University women's basketball (2-2) to an exhilarating 81-78 win over Davidson (2-2) on Saturday evening in John M. Belk Arena.

The Wildcats came back from a 78-73 deficit to tie up the contest before Madi Story (Maiden, N.C./Bandys) found Polacek in the corner and drained the tie-breaking 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down.

Davidson had three opportunities on the other end to knot things up and force overtime, but App forced the hosts into some tough shots to clinch the win and snap a nine-game slide on the road.

Five different Mountaineers scored in double figures with Tierra Wilson (Winston-Salem, N.C./RJ Reynolds) posting a team and season-high 17 points on an efficient 7-of-11 coming off the bench. Maya Calder (Landover, Md./National Christian Academy) had her best performance of the season with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting, a team-best nine rebounds, and a personal-high four helpers. The pair led a bench unit that scored a staggering 46 points and shot a stellar 70 percent (19-27).

Four of the five players that came off the bench scored at least six points, including Armani Hampton (Winston-Salem, N.C./Atkins) and Brooke Bigott (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) scoring six points. The six points and five rebounds for Hampton are both season bests, while Bigott played her first game as a Mountaineer and provided a spark with six points in 12 minutes. Nicola Mathews (Adelaide, Australia/College of Central Florida) aided in App State's late first-quarter run with a 3-pointer of her own.

Lainey Gosnell (Demorest, Ga./Habersham Central) scored 10 points, while Pre Stanely (Rockledge, Fla./Rockledge) also tallied 10 points and grabbed five off the glass. Polacek rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points and five assists. Story also dished out five assists with three points.

The contest was a game of runs, especially in a track meet of a first half where both teams shot over 48 percent from the field. After Davidson started the game with a 10-2 surge in the first two minutes of the game, App State hit 12 straight shots to outscore Davidson, 27-11, over the final eight minutes of the period. Appalachian went into the second stanza with a 29-21 lead, which the 29 points were the most scored in a quarter this season.

Back-to-back field goals at the beginning of the second quarter by Polacek extended the App lead to its largest at 34-21. However, Davidson didn't go away quietly, as it went on a 17-0 run over the next
3:34 to go in front, 38-34. App State weathered the Davidson burst to cut the lead to one, 45-44, at the end of the first half thanks to a bucket from Stanley.

Story's free throw with 7:45 left tied up the game before back-to-back layups by Calder and one of two 3-pointers from Wilson capped off an 8-0 run that pushed the Black and Gold to a 52-45 cushion. App State stayed in front of Davidson despite the Wildcats slicing the deficit to one, 63-62, right before Stanley nailed two at the charity stripe to give her team a 66-62 lead going into the final frame. Calder and Wilson scored 14 of the Mountaineers' 21 points in the frame and hit six of its eight shot attempts.

With Davidson closing the gap to one possession, 67-64, Gosnell and Wilson hit trifectas while Armani Hampton converted on an open layup to give App a 75-64 lead. Davidson then started to claw its way back in the game that led to the tight finish.

Appalachian turned in its best offensive outing of the young season in points, field goal percentage (47.1 percent) and 18 assists on 32 buckets. The eight 3-pointers are a season best as well.

The Mountaineers will go for their third straight win against Elon at 6:30 p.m. in the Holmes Center.

Photo Courtesy: Madi Story, App State Sports