CASTLETON, Vt. – In a defensive battle, Castleton University rallied from a deficit, taking the lead in the fourth quarter and holding on to defeat New England College, 51-45, Wednesday night in a North Atlantic Conference women's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
The Spartans scored only two points in the first quarter and fell behind 12-2 one minute into the second quarter before six unanswered points, the last four from Makayla Farrara, brought Castleton to within four at 12-8. Back-to-back layups by NEC's Marjani Lillard late in the second quarter helped the Pilgrims establish a 21-15 advantage at halftime.
New England College (3-2, 0-1 NAC) extended its lead back to seven at 30-23 with 2:07 remaining in the third quarter on a layup by Marissa Kopacz. Castleton started its comeback in the final minute of the quarter with a jumper by Lindsay Sabo, her first basket of the game, and a three-pointer by Alexis Quenneville to bring the Spartans within two at 30-28 after three quarters.
Sabo caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to give the Spartans their first lead of the night. After a layup by Tiffany Davis and a three-pointer from Haleigh Martin brought the Pilgrims to within two, Sabo hit two more three-pointers to give Castleton its biggest lead of the night at 43-35 halfway through the fourth quarter.
NEC fought back, once again cutting its deficit to two on a three-pointer by Rene Hudson and a jumper from Tanner Favreau. Castleton kept the Pilgrims out of reach thanks to an 8-for-10 free throw shooting performance in the final 2:19 of the contest.
Sabo finished with a career-high five made three-pointers as she led all players with 19 points and three steals, while Amanda Beatty notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Taylor Raiche and Farrara each collected six points and seven rebounds, and Morgan Raiche was a force in the paint, earning eight rebounds and five blocked shots.
Hudson led the Pilgrims with 10 points, and Lillard contributed five points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and two steals. NEC hit only 25 percent (16-of-64) of its field goal attempts and 34.8 percent (8-of-23) of its free throw chances.
Castleton (3-0, 1-0 NAC) continues its stretch of six games in two weeks with a weekend road trip to Maine, facing Maine-Farmington Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Thomas Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m.