CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team looks to continue the momentum from Saturday's victory as it hosts Colby-Sawyer Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7:30 p.m. before traveling to face New England College Saturday, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m.
With Saturday's impressive victory over Green Mountain, Castleton improved to 7-5 overall and 5-1 within the conference, second in the current league standings. The Spartans are one game behind NAC leader Husson, a half-game ahead of third place Colby-Sawyer, and one-and-a-half games in front of fourth place New England College.
Castleton remains one of the top defensive teams in the country, as the Spartans are currently sixth in Division III in both scoring defense, allowing just 45.8 points per game, and field goal percentage defense, as opponents are hitting just 30.3 percent of their field goal attempts. Makayla Farrara is third in the league in scoring at 15.8 points per game and fifth in three-point field goal percentage at 38.2 percent, while Morgan Raiche is third in the NAC in rebounding with 7.5 boards per game after consecutive double-digit rebounding efforts.
Colby-Sawyer brings a 9-3 overall record and a four-game winning streak into Thursday's game after defeating Fitchburg State last Saturday, 71-58. As mentioned before, the Chargers are in third place in the NAC standings at 4-1 after defeating Johnson State Jan. 3, 74-56. As a team, the Chargers are scoring 66.3 points per game and shooting 38.9 percent from the field, including 30.4 percent from behind the three-point line, and 64.5 percent from the free throw line.
Lexie Hamilton leads the conference and is 12th in the country with 5.5 assists per game, plus she leads the team with 11.3 points per contest. Lexi Iannone is contributing 10.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and Kristin Ellis leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game to go along with 7.1 points per contest.
The all-time series between Castleton and Colby-Sawyer is tied 12-12, but the Spartans have won six straight games over the Chargers heading into Thursday's matchup. Castleton swept the season series from Colby-Sawyer last season, first earning a 62-44 victory on the road, led by Amanda Beatty and Makayla Farrara with 21 points apiece, combining to shoot 15-for-21 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free throw line. In the rematch at Castleton, the Spartans took a 24-2 lead after the first quarter on their way to a 69-27 win, led once again by Beatty with 16 points, six rebounds, and three steals.
New England College improved to 8-3 overall with an 88-45 victory over Bay Path this past Sunday. The Pilgrims bring a 3-2 conference mark into their road game Thursday at Green Mountain. As a team, New England College is scoring 70.4 points per game and grabbing 53.9 rebounds per contest, third in the country in rebounding. The Pilgrims are shooting 35.3 percent from the field, including 31.9 percent from behind the three-point line, and 59.6 percent from the free throw line.
Rene Hudson, named NAC Rookie of the Week for the second time this season, leads New England College in scoring at 13.8 points per game. Utshana Durham is scoring 8.6 points per game, and Mikala Malboeuf is contributing 7.5 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.
In this season's first game between the two teams, Lindsay Sabo hit five three-pointers during the first five minutes of the fourth quarter to lead Castleton to a 51-45 comeback victory over New England College, extending the Spartans' winning streak over the Pilgrims to 19 games. Sabo finished with 19 points, while Beatty notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Hudson led New England College with 10 points.