Spartan Women’s Hoop Prepares for Intrastate Battle

Spartan Women’s Hoop Prepares for Intrastate Battle

CASTLETON, Vt. – In a battle of two of the top women's basketball programs in the region, Castleton University heads to Middlebury, Vt., to face the Panthers of Middlebury College Tuesday, Jan. 9, starting at 7 p.m.

Castleton enters the game with a 10-1 overall record after maintaining its spot atop the North Atlantic Conference standings with a 59-41 victory over Lyndon Saturday to improve its league mark to 6-0. Meanwhile, Middlebury is 11-2 overall after starting its conference schedule with home victories over Connecticut College (75-59) and Wesleyan (77-60) over the weekend.

Alexis Quenneville leads the NAC and is 16th in the country in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 46.8 percent of her long distance shots so far this season. Ashlie Fay is 40th in Division III with 3.36 steals per game, and Makayla Farrara, Castleton's leading scorer at 13.0 points per game, is second in the NAC and 51st in the nation in free throw percentage, hitting 85.4 percent of her attempts from the charity stripe after a 10-for-12 free throw performance Saturday against Lyndon.

Tuesday's game will be a contest between two of the top 20 teams in the country in scoring defense, as Middlebury is 11th in Division III at 49.3 points allowed per game, just ahead of Castleton in a tie for 19th place at 50.9 points allowed per game. As a team, the Panthers are scoring 64.2 points per game, plus they are shooting 40.4 percent from the field, including 33.8 percent from behind the three-point line, and 70.1 percent from the free throw line.

Betsy Knox leads Middlebury in scoring at 11.1 points per game, just ahead of Maya Davis at 10.9 points per game, but Davis also leads the team in rebounding with 6.6 boards per contest. Alex Huffman is another player to watch, averaging 5.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 3.4 steals per game, currently 33rd in Division III in steals per game.

This will be the 24th meeting all-time between Castleton and Middlebury, with the Panthers holding a 16-7 series advantage. Castleton has won the last two meetings at Middlebury, including a 59-52 victory Jan. 27, 2016, in which Bryanna duPont scored 10 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Last season at Glenbrook Gym, Middlebury outscored Castleton 23-2 over the final 6:08 of regulation to rally for a 60-49 victory. Kira Waldman led the Panthers with 24 points, including 17 points in the fourth quarter. Amanda Beatty led Castleton with 13 points, while Fay contributed seven points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

After Tuesday's game, Castleton resumes conference play with a home game against Johnson State Saturday, Jan. 13, starting at 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.