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Third-Quarter Surge Propels Women's Basketball Past App State

Taylor Newton/App State Athletics

BOONE, N.C. – Leading by one point at halftime, Old Dominion women's basketball used a 28-point third quarter to pull away for an 81-62 win at App State on Thursday night at the Holmes Convocation Center.
Ahead 35-34 at the break, the Monarchs (19-7, 10-5 Sun Belt) got hot from beyond the arc in the third. After a Simone Cunningham layup to open the quarter, Mimi McCollister drained a deep ball from the left wing. Brenda Fontana followed with a three from the right wing and Lanetta Williams scored a mid-range jumper to cap off the 10-run.
App State's Emily Carver finally responded with a three of her own, but a Fontana jumper started another 11-0 spurt for ODU that was highlighted by threes from Kaye Clark and McCollister. Halima Salat knocked down one more three for good measure as the Monarchs shot 5-for-8 (.625) from the perimeter in the quarter and took a 63-46 lead into the final 10 minutes.
The offensive outburst was too much for the Mountaineers (14-13, 7-8). Carver made 1-of-2 free throws to open the fourth and cut the deficit to 16 points at 63-47, but that was the closest App State would get.
Asked if the third quarter was the team's best quarter of the season, ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said, "I would say so in a win. I think we had a strong fourth quarter against Marshall, but that was a loss. I'm super pleased with the way that we managed the game and we weathered the storm, the foul trouble storm. [App State] shot 38 free throws tonight. I'm not happy about that at all, and that's something we're going to have to really take a hard look at to see why we're committing these fouls."
The hosts built an early 5-0 lead thanks to a Carver long ball and a jumper from Rylan Moffitt, but ODU had an 8-0 response as Cunningham scored a layup and Fontana and En'Dya Buford both connected from long range. McCollister rounded out the first quarter with a floater from the right side that put ODU ahead, 20-15.
A couple of Alexis Black free throws and a Faith Alston jumper trimmed the Monarch lead to 25-24 with 6:03 to play in the second. Buford converted a free throw attempt to push the lead back to six points, 35-29, at the 1:40 mark, but the Mountaineers used a 5-0 run to close out the half.
Fontana and Buford made three three-pointers each and paced ODU's offense with 17 points apiece. Cunningham chipped in 10 points and as many rebounds for her third double-double in the past four games, McCollister also finished with 10 points to go along with four assists, and Fontana added eight boards and two blocks to her totals. Williams contributed seven points with six rebounds, Clark had seven points with seven boards and five assists, and Jordan McLaughlin tallied seven points with four assists.
Asked about the play of McCollister and Williams, Milton-Jones added that the pair both stepped up.
"I guess I need to just ask [Mimi] and she'll provide and give. I asked her yesterday, I said 'I need for you to give me six to 10 points and about four assists', and she came out and she did just that. I asked Halima Salat to give me about six to eight and she came out and hit a big three for us when we needed it to really allow us to stretch the floor. When it comes to the play of Lanetta Williams, she's a seasoned vet at this thing. It's been an up and down season for her, but I love the fact that she's weathered the storm and she's playing some great basketball for us in this crunch time when we need it the most."
The Monarchs shot 32-for-70 (.457) from the floor, 10-for-20 (.500) from distance, and 7-for-18 (.389) at the free-throw line. The 10 threes made marks a new season high, with half of them coming in the third quarter. ODU led for nearly 34 minutes (33:54) and scored more points off turnovers (20-16), more points in the paint (32-8), more second-chance points (16-10), and more points off the bench (23-18).
The Monarchs also won the battle on the glass, 54-35. The 54 boards are also a season high. ODU is now 13-1 this season when the team outrebounds its opponent. The team is also 29-1 over the past three seasons when the Monarchs score 70-plus points, with the lone loss coming to Marshall last Saturday.
ODU rounds out its final road trip of the regular season with a 5 p.m. game at Georgia State this Saturday.
"We're definitely going to watch film, and I want them to see themselves in successful situations," continued Milton-Jones. "I'm going to remind them of what I told them early on in the season: that our defense is where it needs to be, but as soon as our offense catches up to it, now people are going to be in trouble. Tonight it showed up for us in a big way and I'm hoping that this confidence is something that will stay with them and the basket will remain big for us regardless if we're in Pensacola, or if we're in Atlanta, Georgia, or in Norfolk, Virginia."