CASTLETON, Vt. – For the fourth consecutive season, the Castleton University women's basketball team is off to a 4-0 start following a 63-33 win over Northern Vermont University-Johnson on Saturday afternoon at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
The unbeaten Spartans led by seven points at the half and outscored the Badgers (0-4) 37-14 over the final 20 minutes of play to claim the victory. Castleton's defense was stingy all afternoon, holding the Badgers to just 22.0 percent (9-for-41) shooting from the field, allowing no more than 10 points in any single quarter and holding Johnson to just six points in the final 10 minutes. The Spartans shot 32.8 percent (21-for-64) from the field as a team with just a 26.1 percent (6-for-23) rate from three-point range, though the team converted on 15-of-19 free throws in the contest.
Brooke Raiche led the scoring attack once more, putting up 22 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 8-of-9 at the free-throw line. She added five boards, two steals and two assists in the victory. Alexis Quenneville got off to a slow start with just two first-half points, but the junior guard finished the day with 11 points and six rebounds for Castleton while dishing out a pair of helpers. Katlyn Toomey posted a game-high 12 rebounds and finished just one point shy of a double-double with nine points. Anna Iannotti pulled in four rebounds and was 3-for-4 from the field and 1-of-2 at the charity stripe for seven points in just 16 minutes off the bench.
Kaitlyn Brouard powered the Badger attack with 10 points, while Lindsey LaPerle and Alexandra Barry had eight points apiece. Barry added a team-high eight rebounds, while LaPerle and Christle Page had five boards apiece. Turnovers were costly for the Badgers, who coughed it up 29 times to Castleton's 14, while the Spartans turned those 29 turnovers into 29 points.
Both offenses struggled to get going in the opening quarter, as both team shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes. Raiche opened the scoring with a three-pointer before Olivia Perry put home a layup and Quenneville nailed a jumper to make it 7-0 Castleton just three minutes in. The Spartan offense then went cold as Johnson rattled off seven consecutive points over the following three minutes to tie the game. Ajla Medic drove for a layup to put Castleton back in front before Iannotti pushed the lead to four points with 28 seconds to play in the quarter, but Barry finished a layup with time winding down to cut the lead back to two before the buzzer.
The Badgers continued to battle early in the second quarter, taking their first lead of the game two minutes into the frame on a pair of free throws by Barry. After Perry sank a layup for the Spartans, Brouard buried a three for the visitors to but Johnson back up by three, 16-13. Four consecutive made free throws by Toomey on ensuing possessions gave Castleton the lead back—a lead the Spartans would not relinquish. The free throws sparked a 9-0 run for Castleton to put it up 22-16 before the two side traded buckets into the halftime break.
Coming out of the locker room with a 26-19 edge, Castleton outpaced Johnson 16-8 in the third quarter behind nine points from Raiche and five rebounds from Toomey. Castleton went on a 13-3 run that spanned nearly seven minutes of the quarter and was highlighted by six points from Raiche and a three-ball from Medic.
The Spartan dominance continued in the final 10 minutes, as Quenneville poured in nine points on 3-for-3 from long range, including threes on back-to-back possessions for Castleton. The Spartans opened the final frame on a 10-0 run that covered more than four minutes before the Badgers dropped a free throw to stop the run, but Castleton followed that up with another long run of nine consecutive points to make it 61-28. LaPerle drained a three to put a halt to Castleton's string of points, but it was too little, too late as the Spartans closed out the game, 63-33.
Castleton returns to action on Tuesday evening as they play host to in-state rival Middlebury College. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at Castleton's Glenbrook Gymnasium.