CASTLETON, Vt. – After playing just two games during the first two weeks of the 2016-17 season, the Castleton University women's basketball team begins a stretch of six games over the next two weeks with its conference opener against New England College Wednesday, Nov. 30, in the second game of a doubleheader at Glenbrook Gym, with the start time scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Castleton brings a 2-0 record into Wednesday's game after wins at Elms College, 62-28, and against Plymouth State, 58-49. As a team, the Spartans are shooting 39.5 percent from the field, including 27.8 percent from behind the three-point line, and 62.5 percent from the free throw line.
Amanda Beatty is sixth in the conference in scoring at 15.0 points per game, just ahead of teammate Makayla Farrara in seventh place with 14.5 points per game. Beatty is also second in the NAC in field goal percentage, hitting 62.5 percent of her field goal attempts. Taylor Raiche is third in the league in field goal percentage at 60.0 percent and fourth in rebounding with 9.0 boards per game, while her sister Morgan Raiche is fifth in the NAC in field goal percentage at 58.3 percent.
New England College is 3-1 so far this season and has enjoyed over a week off from competition after defeating Newbury College Nov. 21, 78-43. As a team, the Pilgrims are scoring 73.8 points per game as they are shooting 36.2 percent from the field, including 37.6 percent from behind the three-point line, and 61.5 percent from the free throw line.
Rene Hudson, the reigning NAC Rookie of the Week, leads the Pilgrims in scoring with 16.3 points per game. Mikala Malboeuf and Tiffany Davis lead the team in rebounding with 7.0 rebounds per game each, and Marjani Lillard leads the way in assists and steals for New England College with 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Castleton swept the season series from New England College last season, starting with a 68-57 victory in Henniker, N.H., Dec. 2, 2015. Jade Desroches shot 11-of-12 from the free throw line to finish with a Spartan-high 17 points, and Bryanna duPont earned 16 points and six rebounds. Utshana Durham led the Pilgrims with 18 points, while Tiffany Davis pulled down 15 rebounds to help NEC win the rebounding battle, 38-28.
In the rematch at Glenbrook Gym Jan. 16, 2016, the Spartans held the Pilgrims to 11 second-half points in a 56-33 victory. Lindsay Sabo hit four three-pointers as she led Castleton with 22 points and six steals, while duPont notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Davis led NEC with her own double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Lillard also scored 11 points in the game.
Overall, Castleton has won all 15 meetings over New England College, starting with a 71-62 victory during the 1985-86 season. The Spartans have defeated the Pilgrims all 11 times they have met as conference rivals, including a 45-40 victory in the 2015 NAC Tournament Championship that sent Castleton to the NCAA Tournament.