CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team, winners of three of its last four games, looks to continue the positive momentum this weekend as the Spartans host Thomas College Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Maine-Farmington Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m.
Castleton used stifling defense and timely offense to defeat Green Mountain, 74-24, and Colby-Sawyer, 69-43, in its last two games, improving to 11-8 overall and 9-3 within the North Atlantic Conference, currently third in the league standings. The Spartans are fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense (.305), seventh in the nation in scoring defense by allowing just 47.5 points per game, and 11th in Division III in three-point field goal percentage defense (.235).
After scoring 20 points in Tuesday's victory at Colby-Sawyer, Makayla Farrara moved back into fifth place in the NAC in scoring at 14.2 points per game. Over the last three games, Ashlie Fay has been a significant contributor for the Spartans, averaging 5.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game as she has moved into 38th place in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.96.
Thomas College is 6-13 overall and 3-9 in league play, snapping a seven-game losing streak with a 65-58 victory over Lyndon State this past Saturday. As a team, the Terriers are scoring 53.9 points per game and shooting 32.8 percent from the field, including 24.1 percent from behind the three-point line, and 63.7 percent from the free throw line.
Amira Jones leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, fifth in the NAC in rebounding. Jordan Turner is contributing 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, plus she leads the Terriers with 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
The teams last met two months ago in Waterville, Maine, with the Spartans cruising to a 59-25 victory over the Terriers. Farrara led Castleton in scoring with 17 points, plus she pulled down six rebounds, while Morgan Raiche contributed seven points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Turner led Thomas with seven points and eight rebounds, but the Terriers shot just 17 percent (8-of-47) from the field and 33.3 percent (6-of-18) from the free throw line, plus committed 21 turnovers that led to 20 Castleton points.
Maine-Farmington is also 3-9 in conference play as part of a 3-15 overall record and brings a six-game losing streak into the weekend. As a team, the Beavers are scoring 52.1 points per game and shooting 30.8 percent from the field, including 25.2 percent from behind the three-point line, and 67.6 percent from the free throw line.
Kennadi Grover leads the Beavers in scoring with 9.2 points per game, plus she has grabbed 4.9 rebounds per contest. Morgan Crocker is averaging 8.0 points per game, and Abby Hasson is contributing 5.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 0.8 blocked shots per game, pacing the team in rebounding and blocked shots.
The first game between the two teams on Dec. 2 in Farmington, Maine, was very close, with seven ties and nine lead changes, before Castleton prevailed, 49-47. Farrara scored a then-career-high 25 points, while Amanda Beatty added 12 points and seven rebounds. Grover led the Beavers with 11 points and eight rebounds, but Maine-Farmington shot just 26.7 percent (16-of-60) from the field, including 3-of-21 from behind the three-point line.
After this weekend, Castleton will play three straight road games before closing the regular season at home against Johnson State Saturday, Feb. 18.