CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team faces a stiff test Saturday afternoon, Dec. 2, as the Spartans host New England College in a North Atlantic Conference matchup starting at 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.
For the third straight year, the Spartans have won their first five games of the season, but Castleton has lost the sixth game of the year in each of the previous two seasons. The Spartans are coming off a 68-14 victory over Johnson State Tuesday night, setting the school record for fewest points allowed in a single game, as Castleton gave up two fewer points to the Badgers than in a 72-16 victory over Wheelock on Jan. 17, 2004.
Makayla Farrara leads the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, followed by Alexis Quenneville at 12.0 points per game and Amanda Beatty with 11.4 points per contest. Quenneville is 17th in the country in three-point field goal percentage at 55.2 percent. Ashlie Fay has been stuffing the stat sheet, averaging 7.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 4.2 steals per game, currently 24th in the country in that statistic as well as 14th in Division III in total steals with 21.
New England College enters its first conference game of the season with a 3-1 overall record after an 82-59 victory at Southern Vermont this past Tuesday. As a team, the Pilgrims are averaging 66.8 points per game and allowing 63.3 points per contest, plus they are shooting 38.8 percent from the field, including 23.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 50.0 percent from the free throw line.
Rene Hudson is the team's top player, averaging 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. Jada Black has hit 65.5 percent (19-for-29) of her field goal attempts as she averages 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while Haleigh Martin is contributing 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
This will be the 24th meeting all-time between Castleton and New England College, with the Spartans holding a 19-4 series advantage. In the first meeting between the two schools last season at Glenbrook Gym, the Spartans rallied from a seven-point second half deficit to defeat the Pilgrims, 51-45, led by five fourth-quarter three-pointers from Lindsay Sabo, now NEC's graduate assistant coach.
In the rematch at Bridges Gym, Hudson led her team with 18 points as NEC snapped Castleton's 19-game winning streak over the Pilgrims with a 66-56 victory. The teams met one more time in the semifinals of the 2017 NAC Tournament in Bangor, Maine, with New England College coming back from a four-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Castleton, 52-48, led by 18 points from Marjani Lillard.
After Saturday's game, Castleton begins a busy week with a conference contest at Colby-Sawyer Tuesday, Dec. 5, followed by home games against Maine Maritime Friday, Dec. 8, and Husson Saturday, Dec. 9.