DURHAM, N.C. – Senior guard Kira Lowery converted on a contested game-winning, five-footer with 5.3 seconds left in regulation to lift the North Carolina Central team to a dramatic 72-70 home victory over Appalachian State.
Lowery drove the right wing before pulling up to and successfully banking in her clutch shot as the Eagles improved to 4-7 on the season.
The Mountaineers were able to get off a potential game-winning, 3-pointer in the right corner at the buzzer, but that shot clanked off the iron.
Lowery was one of four double-digit scorers for the Eagles with 13 points. Freshman Jerni Kiaku netted a game-high 20 points, making eight of her 15 field goal attempts and all three of her free throws. Junior Taylor Williams provided a season-high 14 points, including five critical points in the fourth quarter. Junior Tippy Robertson chipped in 10 points to go along with her game-high totals of six assists and three steals.
The Eagles flew out to a 17-2 advantage with four different players drilling 3-pointers during that opening surge.
App State then outscored the Eagles 21-10 in the second quarter to rally back and lead late in the half. Kiaku accounted for seven off NCCU’s 11 points in the period before a pull-up jumper by Williams with 31 seconds left helped the Eagles regain a 33-32 halftime advantage.
A close third quarter featured four of the game’s six lead changes. NCCU scored the final five points of the period to take a 53-50 edge into the fourth quarter.
The Eagles never trailed in the final stanza and led by as many as seven points on three occasions in the fourth quarter before App State rallied late to tie the game twice in the final minute. However, Lowery had the answer each time.
Despite a cold night from behind the arc in which App State only made two of its 19 attempts from long range, a made trey by junior Faith Alston knotted the score with 44 seconds left.
Lowery poured in a couple of free throws to put NCCU back ahead, but senior Janay Sanders made a layup with 14 seconds left to knot the score.
Lowery then supplied her game-winner nine seconds later. Instead of going for a tying two-pointer after advancing the ball with a timeout, App State went back to three-point distance and watched its final attempt carom around the front iron and off its mark.
App State (3-6) had three double-figure scorers, including 18 points by Sanders, 14 points by Alston and 13 points by Black. Alston, who completed a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds, was a menace all night by drawing 14 fouls and dishing out three assists.
Courtesy: North Carolina Central Athletics