MISSOULA, Mont. - Appalachian State University women's basketball fell in the first round of the Lady Griz Classic on Friday to UC Irvine, 85-77 in Dahlberg Arena.
The Mountaineers started out strong, getting the first two points of the game from KeKe Cooper, but the Anteaters got in a rhythm from the three-point line, making six in the first half to lead 57-39 at halftime.
UC Irvine was on fire in the first, shooting 66.7 (6-9) percent from three-point range and 62.5 from the floor overall. Vanessa Aguilar led the team in points at halftime with 15, with 12 of them coming from behind the arc.
The Mountaineers shot 60.7 percent (17-28) from the floor in the first, while Cooper led the team with 15 points.
The second half seemed to be more of the same for the Black and Gold as the Anteaters led 71-51 with 9:15 to play. With 9:02 left in the game, Maryah Sydnor hit a jumper to put the Mountaineers down by 18 points and sparked a comeback for the Apps.
Sydnor would score 13 of the Mountaineers' next 19 points as Appalachian went on an amazing 19-4 run to put them within five points with 2:30 to play. From there, the Anteaters would regain composure, hitting a three-pointer and scoring ten points in the last two minutes. It would be too late for the Mountaineers as they lost the game 85-77.
Sydnor finished the game with 28 points, 18 of them coming in the last ten minutes. She recorded her fourth double-double of the season, grabbing 10 boards. Cooper followed, scoring 17 points in the loss and adding seven rebounds.
Katie Mallow hit four big free-throws toward the end of the game, finishing with 12 points in all. Bria Huffman also came up big for the Mountaineers in the final minutes of the game, scoring eight points in the last 15 minutes to finish with 10 on the game.
The Anteaters had five players score in double-figures, with Aguilar leading the team with 20 points. Jazmyne White followed, tallying 14 points for UC Irvine.
The Mountaineers shot 50 percent from the floor, while the Anteaters recorded a 48.4 shooting percentage on the game. The Apps also outrebounded UCI, with 38 boards to UC Irvine's 32. The Mountaineers finished with 20 turnovers in the loss and the Anteaters finished with 14.
The Black and Gold will return to action tomorrow to play the losing team of a Montana vs. Idaho match up at Dahlberg Arena. The game is set to begin at either 8 p.m. or 10:15 p.m. (ET).