CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team looks to extend its season-opening winning streak, first traveling to Johnson State to face the Badgers Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. before hosting the Lyndon State Hornets at Glenbrook Gym Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m.
Castleton has won its first five games of the season for the second straight year and is currently at the top of the North Atlantic Conference standings with a 3-0 league record. The Spartans boast one of the top defenses in the country, as Castleton is second in Division III in scoring defense, allowing just 38.8 points per game, and field goal percentage defense, with opponents hitting 25.7 percent of their field goal attempts.
Makayla Farrara, the current NAC Player of the Week, leads the team and is fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game, followed by Amanda Beatty with 13.4 points per game. Beatty is also second on the squad in rebounding with 6.6 rebounds per game, behind Taylor Raiche at 7.4 rebounds per contest, fifth-best in the league.
Johnson State is 2-4 overall after a 61-48 loss at Norwich Tuesday night. The Badgers are 0-1 in league play, falling to New England College, 63-54, this past Saturday. As a team, Johnson State is scoring 61.2 points per game on 37.1 field goal shooting, including 23.8 percent from behind the three-point line, and 61.1 percent free throw shooting.
Domonique Carter-Stanley leads Johnson State with 12.5 points and 3.2 steals per game, while Kasey DeGreenia is contributing 11.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per contest. Carter-Stanley is third in the league in steals per game, while DeGreenia is second in the NAC in rebounding. Sarah Voorhis is fourth in the league in field goal percentage at 48.2 percent to go along with 11.2 points per game.
Castleton brings a 20-game winning streak over Johnson State into Thursday's contest, with the Badgers last defeating the Spartans Feb. 6, 2007 in Johnson, 55-38. Last season, Castleton won the first meeting at Glenbrook Gym, 62-51, led by Jade Desroches with 21 points, six rebounds, two assists, and three steals. In the rematch, Bryanna duPont hit three free throws in the final 23 seconds to give the Spartans the 55-52 victory.
Lyndon State is 2-3 overall heading into a game against Green Mountain Thursday. The Hornets lost their conference opener at Colby-Sawyer this past Saturday, 63-44. As a team, Lyndon State is scoring 57.0 points per game on 33.7 percent field goal shooting, including 26.7 percent from behind the three-point line, and 67.9 percent shooting from the free throw line.
Mikayla Hodge has been one of the top players in the league so far this season, leading the Hornets and the NAC with 19.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, plus she is second in the league in field goal percentage at 50.8 percent. Gabrielle Foy is third in the conference in scoring with 16.5 points per game, and Alissa Mitchell has contributed in several ways for Lyndon State, averaging 9.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game.
The Spartans have won 19 consecutive games over the Hornets, with the last Lyndon State victory over Castleton coming on Feb. 8, 2001 in Lyndon Center, 61-49. Last season, Castleton swept the season series, first winning on the road, 49-32, thanks to a defensive effort that saw the Hornets shoot under 20 percent from the field. The Spartans won the rematch in Glenbrook Gym, 72-34, thanks in part to a 25-3 second quarter.
After this weekend, Castleton will not play another conference game until Jan. 7, 2017, against Green Mountain. The Spartans travel to Norwich University next Tuesday, Dec. 13, before a two-week break for finals and the Christmas holiday.