WATERVILLE, Maine – After winning the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) regular season title, the Castleton University women's basketball team was honored by the conference coaches, as six members of the Spartan program received postseason league recognition, including three major awards.
Senior Ashlie Fay was named the Defensive Player of the Year, teammate Brooke Raiche was voted Rookie of the Year, and head coach Tim Barrett was chosen by his peers as Coach of the Year. In addition, Amanda Beatty received First Team All-NAC honors for the second consecutive year, and she is joined by Makayla Farrara as a First Team All-NAC selection. Senior Taylor Raiche represents Castleton on the NAC Women's Basketball Sportsmanship Team for the second straight year.
Fay finished the NAC regular season in the No. 2 spot in steals per game (3.1) and assists per game (4.9) in league contests. She also recorded 93 rebounds in conference action, 80 of which were on the defensive end to go along with five blocks against NAC opponents. Fay has claimed 75 steals so far this season, which ties her for seventh-most in a single season in school history. She currently leads the Spartans in rebounding (5.2/game), assists (4.6/game), and steals (3.0/game), and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9). Fay's overall statistics rank her in the top-50 among all NCAA Division III women's basketball players in five different categories. Her 116 assists currently rank her 36th, while her 3.0 steals per game rank her 45th, her 75 steals place her in 44th, and her 4.6 assists per game and 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio have her in 46th.
Raiche has been a consistent player on both ends of the floor to record a tremendous rookie campaign so far this season. The rookie finished conference play averaging 6.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Against NAC opponents, she pulled down 47 rebounds, dished 35 assists, claimed 21 steals and earned four blocks. The guard saw action in all 25 of Castleton's games, while scoring in double figures six times this season. In her first collegiate game, she collected 13 points, four rebounds, and three assists. She earned NAC Rookie of the Week twice this season, first on Dec. 11 after a week that included a 15-point performance against Colby-Sawyer. She earned the weekly award again on Feb. 5 in part after leading Castleton with 11 points on 5-of-8 field goal shooting at Green Mountain.
Barrett, in his 17th season at Castleton, is being recognized by his peers as NAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time (2008, 2012, 2014, 2015). He led the Spartans to their sixth 20-win season over the past seven years and has totaled eight 20-win seasons overall. The veteran coach has posted his 16th straight winning season and improves his overall record to 337-132 (.719). The Spartans ended conference play ranked in the top three in nine categories, including leading the league in free-throw percentage (74.2%), assists per game (17.3), and field-goal percentage (40.3%). Overall, Barrett's squad enters the NAC Tournament ranked in the top 40 in six Division III statistical categories, including top-20 rankings in scoring defense (ninth, 49.3), field-goal percentage defense (14th, 32.2), and free-throw percentage (19th, 74.6).
Beatty started all 25 games for the Spartans this season, finishing the regular season second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. She reached double figures in scoring 17 times this year, including seven of the last nine contests heading into this weekend's NAC Tournament. Beatty is fifth in the NAC in field goal percentage at 47.3 percent, hitting 31-of-61 (50.8%) attempts from the floor over the past five games. In the double overtime game at Husson Jan. 26, she scored a season-high 25 points, hitting 13-of-17 chances from the free throw line. She notched her first double-double of the season Feb. 10 at Maine-Farmington, collecting 20 points and 10 rebounds along with three steals.
Farrara, also in the starting lineup for all 25 games, led Castleton with 14.3 points per game, plus she contributed 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. She reached double figures in 17 games during the year, including 10 of the final 13 contests of the regular season. She shot 7-of-9 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to score 22 points in Castleton's comeback victory over Bates Nov. 18. She led the Spartans to a victory over Husson on Dec. 9 with 21 points, and then she scored 24 points while playing 45 minutes in the rematch against the Eagles Jan. 26. She scored her 1,000th career point late in the first quarter against Norwich Feb. 15, finishing that game with a career-high 30 points. She has made 36 consecutive free throws entering the weekend and is currently fifth in Division III in free throw percentage at 90 percent.
The NAC Women's Basketball Sportsmanship Team is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The honorees are individuals who have positively affected the basketball culture and environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity that go beyond the playing rules and etiquette. For the second consecutive season, Taylor Raiche represents Castleton on the Sportsmanship Team, chosen for her leadership both on and off the court. She started all 25 games for the Spartans during the regular season, averaging 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She shot 8-of-11 from the field in scoring a season-high 16 points against Maine-Farmington Jan. 19, and she grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds Jan. 6 at Lyndon.
Lyndon senior Mikayla Hodge was named Player of the Year, while Cheyenne Malloy of Maine-Farmington received the Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. Beatty and Farrara are joined on the All-NAC First Team by Hodge, junior Alayne Felix of Maine Maritime, and Husson junior Kenzie Worcester. For the complete all-conference release, click here.
Castleton hosts Maine Maritime in the first semifinal of the NAC Women's Basketball Tournament Friday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym. The second semifinal between Colby-Sawyer and Husson Friday at 8 p.m., as well as the championship game Saturday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m., will also be hosted by the Spartans.