MORGANTOWN, W. Va - Despite three scorers in double figures and a hard fought effort, Appalachian State women's basketball fell just short of the win on Friday. The Mountaineers (7-2, 1-0 SoCon) played a second close call this season in their 72-67 loss to power player West Virginia University (8-3) at WVU Coliseum.
Anna Freeman showed a strong effort in Appalachian's first matchup against Big XII standout West Virginia. She recorded 25 points for the Mountaineers, along with four assists, five rebounds, and seven steals.
Appalachian entered halftime just 13 points behind the Mountaineers of West Virginia (37-24), thanks in part to a WVU run. Following a jumper from forward Averee Fields at the 5:35 mark, West Virginia took control and scored nine unanswered points, giving the Big XII Mountaineers a 34-22 advantage. Courtney Freeman capped the run with a layup with just over a minute remaining in the half.
Appalachian looked promising after the break when Sydnor nailed a free throw and followed with a layup on the App's first possession of the second half. But, WVU continued to pester the Mountaineers, and challenge control throughout the second half, leading by as much as 21 points. A. Freeman and C. Freeman fought back, keeping Applachian competitive and cutting WVU's lead in half. A Sydnor jumper pulled App State within eight (58-50) with 8:17 remaining in the contest.
Kelsey Sharkey laid in a basket to knot the game at 65 with 2:37 left, but WVU responded on the next possession when Christal Caldwell swished a three to give the lead to West Virginia once more. After a Taylor Palmer foul sent Sydnor to the line again, the Mountaineers climbed back within one (68-67). App hoped to connect on the last possession of the game and seal the deal, but were unable to score. Following a timeout, Sharkey would foul Ayanna Dunning, who nailed both of her free throws to increase WVU's lead by three (70-67) with 22 ticks on the clock. Averee Fields approached the line off of a foul from A. Freeman to record West Virginia's final two points and close the contest at 72-67.
Up next, Appalachian returns to conference play, traveling to Davidson on January 5, followed by Furman on January 7.
Game Notes: A. Freeman (25), Sydnor (19), and Mallow (13), who shot 3-4 from the three-point range, recorded double figures against West Virginia. Sydnor led the Mountaineers in rebounding with 6 boards, four of which came on defense, while Kelsey Sharkey and A. Freeman each contributed five for the night. Appalachian, who leads the SoCon in offensive rankings, shot 42.4 percent (25-59) from the field against West Virginia, while recording an 80 percent free throw percentage (12-15). Appalachian outscored the Mountaineers in the second half, 43-35.