It was difficult to watch, and even more of a struggle to write about, but here it goes. Some of the things we were worried about going into the Championship game against Samford came true in a 54-43 loss. Appalachian shot the basketball horridly for the entire game, only 29%, after shooting 51% the day before against Chattanooga. Secondly, it was not the starters who did not show up, it was the bench players, where Appalachian was outscored 19-9. Appalachian was flustered by good defense and put up bad shots, and did not take the ball to the basket strong, which led to only four free throw attempts to Samford’s 16 attempts. The turnover battle was even, but Samford did a much better job of capitalizing on mistakes, scoring 23 points to only 13 for Appalachian.
After all that, Appalachian still had a chance to win the game. After trailing by as many as ten points on three different occasions in the first half, the Mountaineers cut the Samford lead to seven at halftime. Appalachian battled back in the second half and led by one point on two different occasions, with just over eight minutes to play. However Samford’s hot shooting in the second half and their free throws helped them pull away to their second straight championship and NCAA berth
Appalachian will now wait until early next week to determine its fate for a potential WNIT at large berth. Those pairings will be released late Monday Night, March 12th.