One series of plays summed up the effort and execution of top-seeded Appalachian State in the second half Sunday at McKenzie Arena.
Plays like it broke open a close game and earned the Mountaineers a 72-48 win over No. 4 Elon, and a spot in today’s Southern Conference women’s basketball tournament championship game against No. 2 seed Samford.
Kelsey Sharkey missed a short shot, got the rebound, scored and drew a foul. Sharkey missed the free throw, but again got the rebound and fed the ball to Anna Freeman, who passed to Ashlen Dewart for a layup.
After leading 29-27 at the half, that series put ASU up 54-35 with 10:41 to play — and it wasn’t much of a game the rest of the way.
“In the second half I believe we began playing more of our game and were very fortunate to take Elon out of their game,” ASU coach Darcie Vincent said.
Appalachian State came to McKenzie Arena last week as the favorite after going 17-3 in SoCon play, and the Mountaineers have looked the part so far. Sunday’s victory was a school-record 25th this season for the Mountaineers (25-5), who haven’t been to the finals of the SoCon tournament since winning it in 1999.
Sharkey finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
“Definitely that would be my style of game,” she said of doing a bit of everything. “We have a little group called the ‘X Factors,’ it’s [about doing] all the little stuff that doesn’t really show up on the scoreboard that we need to do to get a win.”
Courtney Freeman is also in the group and she delivered with 10 big first-half points and 17 for the game, along with seven rebounds. Her younger sister, Kayla, is a UTC signee.
Dewart, a sophomore, passed 1,000 career points during her game-high 19-point performance. She’s the younger sister of the UTC’s Bailey Dewart.
Despite some foul trouble, Anna Freeman had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds; all five ASU starters scored in double figures.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...