Women’s Basketball Rallies to Defeat NAC-Leading Eagles, 59-54

Women’s Basketball Rallies to Defeat NAC-Leading Eagles, 59-54

BANGOR, Maine – For the second straight day, Castleton University rallied from a first-half deficit, taking the lead in the third quarter and holding off Husson University in the fourth quarter for a 59-54 victory Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference women's collegiate basketball game.

Amanda Beatty continued her strong play, shooting 8-of-14 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line for 24 points, plus she grabbed six rebounds. Ashlie Fay finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists, and Alexis Quenneville hit three three-pointers as she contributed 11 points.

Down 39-28 midway through the third quarter after five straight points by Kenzie Worcester, Castleton started its comeback with a 15-2 scoring run, featuring Quenneville's three long-distance baskets, to pull ahead, 43-41. Husson retook the lead on a traditional three-point play by Chandler Guerrette, but the Spartans scored the final six points of the third quarter, four by Beatty and two from Quenneville, to take a 49-44 lead into the fourth quarter.

Husson (18-4, 14-2 NAC) went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 49-49, but Taylor Raiche hit a basket to put the Spartans back on top. Darla Morales hit a three-pointer to give the home team a one-point advantage, but a free throw by Fay created another tie at 52-52 with 6:10 remaining in regulation.

After Guerrette hit two free throws, neither team could score until Beatty hit two free throws with 3:16 left in the quarter to tie the game again. Husson missed three shots, and Fay grabbed the rebound off the third miss and eventually found Raiche for the go-ahead layup with 2:16 remaining on the clock.

The Spartan defense continued to pressure the Eagles, forcing two turnovers and a missed shot on Husson's next three possessions. Abbie Lesure made two free throws with nine seconds left in regulation, and Husson missed two chances to cut into the Spartan lead, allowing Castleton to hold on for the victory.

Guerrette led the Eagles with 21 points, five assists, and four steals, while Worcester finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Husson shot just 23.4 percent (15-of-64) from the field, including 6-of-23 from behind the three-point line, but the Eagles did make 78.3 percent (18-of-23) of their field goal attempts, plus they scored 31 points off 26 Castleton turnovers.

The Spartans shot 41.3 percent (19-of-46) from the field, including 3-of-13 from behind the three-point line, and 66.7 percent (18-of-27) from the free throw line. Castleton won the rebounding battle, 41-38.

Castleton took an early 6-2 lead on a traditional three-point play by Beatty, but Husson responded with a 12-2 scoring run over most of the remaining first quarter, featuring two three-pointers by Guerrette. Beatty hit a layup in the final seconds of the quarter to close the Spartan deficit to 14-10 after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Castleton scored six unanswered points over the span of a minute, four of them by Beatty to take a 20-18 lead, but the Eagles struck back, going on an 11-2 scoring run to pull ahead by seven with 2:44 remaining before halftime. Fay hit a jumper with 1:27 left before halftime, and no one scored again before time ran out in the second quarter.

Castleton (15-8, 13-3 NAC) wraps up the regular season next week, first traveling to Lyndon State Thursday, Feb. 16, for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff, followed by the home finale against Johnson State Saturday, Feb. 18, starting at 3 p.m.