BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Appalachian State University women's basketball dropped its second-straight close game in a 66-64 loss at Southern Conference rival Samford on Monday at the Pete Hanna Center.
The Mountaineers (12-5, 6-3 SoCon) came all the way back from a 33-20 halftime deficit to tie the game with seven seconds left against the Bulldogs (10-9, 7-3 SoCon), but a Krista Stricklin jumper at the buzzer would give Samford a win and send the Apps to their second-straight loss.
Appalachian State remained scoreless for the first 5:49 of the game as Samford jumped ahead to a quick 9-0 lead before the Mountaineers scored their first points (9-2) on Brian Huffman's jumper with 14:59 remaining in the half. The Bulldogs would steadily extend the lead over the remainder of the first period, climbing ahead by as much as 17 points. A Kelsey Sharkey layup with 1:01 remaining in the half, followed by a pair of trips to the free-throw line for Bria Huffman and Farrahn Wood, shaved Samford's lead to 13 (33-20) heading into the locker room.
The Mountaineers entered the second half with a refreshed attitude as Maryah Sydnor led the Mountaineers back into the game with 14 second-half points and four steals. Sydnor nailed a three-pointer with 7:22 on the clock to bring Appalachian within five (52-47), when, seconds later, Anna Freeman laid in a basket, making it a single-possession game (52-49). Foul trouble would pester App over the next couple of minutes, sending Samford to the line three times and allowing the Bulldogs to climb back by as much as nine points (58-49 ) with just over five minutes left in the contest.
Sydnor stepped up, once again however, and dropped a bucket (58-51) to reignite Appalachian's climb back. Katie Mallow's layup at 5:07 cut the Bulldog lead to five (58-53), while a Kendall Schwarz foul sent A. Freeman to the line for two (58-55). A Sydnor basket with 3:45 remaining brought the Black & Gold within a point (58-57) as the score teetered over the next couple of minutes, when Courtney Freemangrabbed two in the paint to provide Appalachian their first lead of the contest (62-61) with just 1:48 remaining.
Samford regained the lead from a pair of Taylor Reece free-throws (63-62), followed by two more shots at the charity stripe from Krista Stricklin (64-62). With seven ticks on the clock, Sydnor released a jumper to tie up the game (64-64), but, as luck would have it, Stricklin nailed a buzzer beater for two and the Bulldog victory (66-64).
Maryah Sydnor led the Mountaineers with 18 points, including the game-tying jumper in the closing seconds. Courtney Freeman poured in 13 points for the Apps, while Katie Mallow scored 11 and Anna Freeman scored nine points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Stricklin, who also grabbed nine rebounds led three Samford players in double figures as Jazmine Martin (15) and Hannah Dawson (13) chipped in for the Bulldogs.
The Mountaineers shot 39.0 percent (23-of-59) from the floor and were just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc, while Samford shot 45.9 percent (17-of-37) on the night including an impressive 7-of-16 from beyond the arc.
Game Notes: Appalachian gabbed 36 points in the pain to Samford's 20, while scoring 31 points of off turnovers and 13 from second chance points. The Mountaineers outscored the Bulldogs in the second-half 44-33, while tying the score twice and grabbing the lead once. The App bench was responsible for 27 points against Samford.
Sun Belt Conference