The Appalachian women hit the road for a one game road trip to Charleston on Friday evening. The Friday game is an oddity in SoCon play for both schools. Generally, the women’s teams play on Saturday and Monday, but this weekend, Appalachian will play a Friday evening and Sunday afternoon game. Charleston enters the game at 3-3 in SoCon play, with all of their losses coming to conference contenders Davidson, Chattanooga and Samford, all in their last three games. The Cougars will have played the top four teams in the conference in a matter of twelve days by Friday evening. Although Charleston did not win any of those three games, their results have improved dramatically since last season.
The past two seasons, Charleston has been the team that has been considered somewhat of an easy win in conference play. The Cougars have won thirteen conference games the past two seasons after a thirteen win campaign in 2009-10. This team seems to a little different than the past. Their conference wins include a two point win over a decent Elon team at home, a two point win over Georgia Southern on the road, and stomping of an athletic Greensboro team on the road. Call it a hunch, but this Charleston team does not seem to be the pushover they once were.
The Cougars are led by Latisha Harris, who is scoring a very respectable 14.2 points per game and also grabbing 8.8 rebounds per contest. She is complimented by Alyssa Frye who averages 10.9 points per game and has already hit an amazing 42 three pointers this season. Cathryn Hardy also chips in a very solid 8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Seems the Cougars have two players they can go to in the post, and a third player who can stretch the defense on the perimeter. Appalachian will have to keep Frye in check on the outside, by limiting her shots, which in turn will allow them to focus on rebounding the ball on missed shots. Charleston only shoots 34% as a team from the field, but does average 16 offensive rebounds per game.
As we all know, The Mountaineer trio of Freeman, Freeman & Sydnor lead the team in scoring and rebounding. We have talked about Maryah Sydnor stepping up her game the last couple weeks which has had a direct toll on the production of Anna Freeman. It seems that SoCon teams are content with Sydnor scoring as long as Anna does not get hers. All three players average over 14 points and five rebounds per game. In conference play, Sydnor leads the team with 18.8 points per game, followed by Courtney’s 13.6 points per game. Katie Mallow has also stepped up in conference play averaging 10.6 points per contest. The Mountaineers three losses have all come on the road, while two of their four road wins have come in overtime.
Appalachian State gutted out an eight point win over Charleston on the road on Friday night. Appalachian jumped out to a quick 15-10 lead in the first half before allowing Charleston to go on a 16-0 run in a matter of 5:52. In the final 5:52, Appalachian countered and ended the half on a 17-4 run of their own, taking a two point lead into the second half. The score was tied four times in the first hald and the lead changed hands twice.
The second half was a much closer battle. The largest lead any team held in the final frame was in the final minute when Appalachian was sealing the game with free throws. Charleston lead at only one time in the second half at 51-50, but it was a short lived lead that lasted all of twenty-seven seconds. The Mountaineers did not play their best game offensively, with 21 turnovers and shooting only 39.3% from the floor. The Mountaineers gave up 23 offensive rebounds to the Cougars, who attempted thirty three pointers, only making four of them.
Charleston took the game to Appalachian. They heaved up as many open shots as possible and attacked the glass. The Cougars accumulated thirteen steals and resembled Appalachian in many ways. Charleston has made obvious improvements since last season, and are not an easy win. Where Charleston was deficient was shooting free throws. They hit only 11/25 attempts and most of them were very bad misses.
Friday was an important day in SoCon Women’s hoops. Chattanooga did their job of taking down Davidson on the road. Elon and Samford both won, keeping the race for the conference title very tight at the top. Five teams have one loss while Appalachian and Davidson are in a tie for fourth, having played one less game than Chattanooga, Samford and Elon. Appalachian hosts UNCG on Sunday afternoon before facing the western road trip of Chattanooga and Samford next weekend.
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