CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team makes its second annual trip to Maine this weekend as the Spartans prepare to face Maine Maritime Friday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Husson Saturday, Feb. 11, at 3 p.m.
Castleton has won five straight conference games, including victories over Thomas (59-38) and Maine-Farmington (65-29) last weekend. The Spartans are 13-8 overall and 11-3 in North Atlantic Conference play, currently in second place in the league standings two games behind Husson and one-and-a-half games ahead of New England College and Colby-Sawyer.
Amanda Beatty, the reigning NAC Player of the Week, moved into second place in the league in field goal percentage, hitting 48.7 percent of her field goal attempts, while Makayla Farrara remains fifth in the NAC in three-point field goal percentage at 37.1 percent. As a team, Castleton is now fourth in the country in both scoring defense, allowing just 46.1 points per game, and field goal percentage defense, as opponents are hitting just 30.1 percent of their field goal attempts.
Maine Maritime enters the weekend in fifth place in the league standings with a 7-7 conference mark as part of an 11-10 overall record. The Mariners split their games last weekend, defeating Johnson State (69-51) before losing in overtime to Lyndon State (64-61). As a team, Maine Maritime is scoring 64.2 points per game and shooting 40.4 percent from the field, including 29.6 percent from behind the three-point line, and 68.1 percent from the free throw line.
Alayne Felix, the only player to start every game for Maine Maritime this season, leads the team and the conference in scoring at 17.4 points per game and in field goal percentage at 52.3 percent, plus she leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 rebounds per game. Melinda Ogden is contributing 7.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, and Chloe Smedley is averaging 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest.
In the first meeting of the season on Jan. 21 at Glenbrook Gym, Castleton defeated Maine Maritime, 63-53. Taylor Raiche scored a career-high 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, while Farrara contributed 16 points. Smedley led the Mariners with 16 points, Ogden finished with 14 points, and Felix notched a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Husson remains in the lead in the conference standings with a 13-1 league mark as part of a 17-3 overall record. The Eagles saw their 11-game winning streak snapped by Johnson State last Saturday, 80-70, and then they lost a non-conference home game to Bowdoin Tuesday, 96-65. Husson, ranked fourth in the Northeast region in the initial NCAA regional rankings announced Wednesday, is fifth in the country in turnover margin (+9.40), 12th in steals per game (14.1 spg), and 18th in scoring offense (76.5 ppg).
Kenzie Worcester leads the conference in three-point field goal percentage at 38.7 percent, plus she is third in the league in scoring with 15.1 points per game and fourth in field goal percentage at 46.9 percent. Chandler Guerrette is averaging 13.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 steals per game, 25th in the country in steals, and Darla Morales is averaging 13.3 points per game as she is shooting 37.7 percent from behind the three-point line, fourth in the NAC.
In the teams' first meeting Jan. 20 in Castleton, Husson broke away in the second quarter on its way to a 68-36 victory. Worcester led the Eagles with 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, while Morales finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, and three steals. Farrara led the Spartans with 10 points, and Taylor Raiche finished with eight points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots.
Castleton returns to Vermont for its final two regular season games next week, traveling to Lyndon State Thursday, Feb. 16, before hosting Johnson State Saturday, Feb. 18.