Anna Freeman was named the Southern Conference women's basketball defensive player of the year earlier this week, but it was her offense Friday that helped top-seeded Appalachian State advance in the SoCon tournament.
Freeman scored 21 points, hitting 9 of 13 shots, to lead the Mountaineers to a 73-63 win over No. 8 Davidson at McKenzie Arena. ASU coach Darcie Vincent said she's most comfortable when Freeman is on the floor.
"At the same time, she gets yelled at the most," Vincent said. "Most people think she might be the worst, but that is just the opposite."
Appalachian State (24-5) tied the school record for wins in a season and will face the winner of today's Elon-Furman game in the semifinals Sunday.
Freeman is part of ASU's "big three," along with fellow all-conference teammates Sam Ramirez, the coaches' player of the year, or Ashlen Dewart. All three scored in double figures against the Wildcats (14-17).
After leading 35-25 at halftime, ASU had to fight off a couple of Davidson runs. When the Wildcats cut the lead to 42-41, Dewart fed Freeman for a short jumper. The same thing happened on the Mountaineers' next possession.
Dewart, who finished with 13 points, scored Appalachian's next two field goals on assists from Freeman.
"Last year that was kind of our game," Freeman said of her back-and-forth with Dewart. "We got away from it this year, but I don't know why, so it kind of felt like old times out there."
Kristen Johnsen led the Wildcats with 20 points, and Laura Murray had 12 points and seven steals.