CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team faces its toughest challenge of the North Atlantic Conference schedule, heading to Maine to take on Husson University Friday, Jan. 26, at 5:30 p.m. and Maine Maritime Saturday, Jan. 27, at 1 p.m.
With eight games remaining in the league schedule for the top eight teams in the current standings, Castleton is at the top of the table at 10-0, two games in front of second place Colby-Sawyer. This is the third time in the last five seasons that the Spartans, bringing a 14-2 overall record into the weekend, have won their first 10 conference contests.
The Spartans extended their overall winning streak to four games with a 71-28 victory over Maine-Farmington and a 69-58 win over Thomas last weekend. Castleton is currently 15th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 50.4 points per game while scoring 66.5 points per contest through the first 16 games of the season.
Husson, 9-8 overall, is in third place in the NAC standings at 7-3, one game behind second place Colby-Sawyer and one game in front of Maine Maritime and Lyndon. The Eagles rebounded from an 89-83 double overtime loss to Lyndon last Saturday with a 55-53 victory at Colby Tuesday night.
Kenzie Worcester leads the Eagles and the NAC in scoring at 19.9 points per game, plus she is second in the league in field goal percentage at 50.6 percent, fourth in three-point field goal percentage at 41.7 percent, and fourth in free throw percentage at 82.4 percent. Sami Ireland is averaging 8.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, and Megan Peach is contributing 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game off the bench.
Husson leads the all-time series, 17-12, but Castleton has won the last two meetings, including a 71-56 victory over the Eagles Dec. 9 at Glenbrook Gym. Makayla Farrara scored 21 points while Amanda Beatty contributed 17 points for the Spartans, and Worcester ended up with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists for the Eagles.
As mentioned before, Maine Maritime is tied with Lyndon for fourth place in the NAC standings with a 6-4 league mark. The Mariners are 10-6 overall heading into Friday's contest against Green Mountain, including a three-game winning streak after defeating Thomas Tuesday night, 80-58.
Alayne Felix leads the Mariners with 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, scoring in double figures in every game so far this season and has notched six double-doubles. Melinda Ogden is contributing 7.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
Castleton has won 19 straight games over Maine Maritime and holds a 26-6 series advantage after defeating the Mariners Dec. 8 in Glenbrook Gym, 65-57. Alexis Quenneville hit four three-pointers to lead the Spartans with 19 points, while Felix finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and two steals for the Mariners.
After the weekend, Castleton hosts Lyndon Tuesday, Jan. 30, at 5:30 p.m. before making the short trip south to face Green Mountain Saturday, Feb. 3, at 1 p.m.