CASTLETON, Vt. – After completing fall semester finals and taking a break to celebrate the holidays, the Castleton University women's basketball team returns to action this week as it participates in the fourth annual Division III Music City Classic.
First, the Spartans will head to Lebanon, Tenn., and the campus of Cumberland University, where they will face nationally-ranked Ohio Northern University Thursday, Dec. 29, at 12 noon local time (1 p.m. Eastern time). The next day, Castleton plays Marymount University at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn., at 2 p.m. Central time (3 p.m. Eastern time). A video stream for the Ohio Northern game will be available for a fee, and live stats for both games can also be accessed for free through links on the Castleton athletics website (www.castletonsports.com).
Castleton brings a 6-2 record into the trip after losing at Norwich on Dec. 13, 52-47. As a team, the Spartans are averaging 58.1 points per game and shooting 35.9 percent from the field, including 32.4 percent from behind the three-point line, and 71.7 percent from the free throw line. Defense has been the key to Castleton's success so far this season, as the Spartans are sixth in the country in field goal percentage defense (28.7%) and eighth in Division III in scoring defense (44.4 ppg).
Makayla Farrara is third in the North Atlantic Conference in scoring at 15.8 points per game and fifth in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 38.3 percent of her shots from behind the three-point line. Amanda Beatty is third in the league in field goal percentage, making 46.6 percent of her attempts from the field as she is scoring 12.5 points per game. Taylor Raiche leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 rebounds per game, followed closely by her sister Morgan Raiche with 6.4 boards per game.
Ohio Northern, located in Ada, Ohio, and a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference, is ranked 12th in the latest WBCA Coaches Poll and 17th in the most recent D3Hoops.com poll with a perfect 9-0 record so far this season. As a team, the Polar Bears are scoring 73.2 points per game and shooting 43.4 percent from the field, including 33.9 percent from behind the three-point line, and 71.8 percent from the free throw line. Ohio Northern leads Division III in fewest turnovers per game with 11.6 and is fifth in the country in assist-to-turnover ration at 1.48.
Britt Lauck leads the Polar Bears with 15.4 points and 3.9 assists per game, making a team-high 20 three-pointers so far this season and hitting 83.3 percent of her free throw attempts. Amy Bullimore is averaging 11.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocked shots per game, and Jenna Dirksen is contributing 9.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Marymount University, located in Arlington, Va., and a member of the Capital Athletic Conference, is receiving votes in the D3Hoops.com poll thanks to a 7-2 record, capped by a 60-44 victory over Shenandoah Monday, Dec. 19. As a team, the Saints are scoring 61.6 points per game and shooting 41.5 percent from the field, including 25.5 percent from behind the three-point line, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line.
Nicole Viscuso leads the Saints with 13.3 points per game, thanks to a team-high field goal percentage of 51.0 percent, as well as 7.4 rebounds per game. Regan Lohr is contributing 9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, and Leah Hurst leads Marymount with 5.0 assists and 3.3 steals per game to go along with 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Castleton will be facing both Ohio Northern and Marymount for the first time in program history. After the trip to Tennessee, the Spartans start 2017 with a road game at Williams College Wednesday, Jan. 4, before returning to NAC play with home games against Green Mountain Saturday, Jan. 7, and Colby-Sawyer Thursday, Jan. 12.