CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University women's basketball team fell by a final score of 61-56 in overtime to Eastern Connecticut State on Wednesday evening in Little East Conference action at Glenbrook Gym.
The Spartans rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to force overtime, outscoring Eastern 16-8 over the final 10 minutes of regulation play. After a last-second shot attempt went by the wayside, the two sides headed to overtime to decide a winner.
The Warriors rattled off the first four points of the overtime period before Castleton got on the board with a jumper by Tessa Davenport, but that was all the Spartans managed in the frame as Eastern took home the victory.
Castleton drops to 14-10 with the loss, including a 6-9 mark against LEC opponents. Eastern improves to 16-8 overall and 11-4 in the LEC. The Spartans shot just 29.3 percent from the field (17-of-58), but knocked down 6-of-17 from long range (35.3 percent) and 16-of-22 at the free throw line (72.7 percent). Eastern was 23-of-52 from the floor for a 44.2 percent clip while knocking down 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) at the line. The Warriors held a 42-35 edge on the glass, while Castleton converted 22 ECSU turnovers into 21 points.
Brooke Raiche led all players with 25 points on the night, shooting 7-of-20 from the floor while knocking down 9-of-10 at the line. The sophomore also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists with a block. Abbie Lesure scored a career-high 13 points in her final game at Glenbrook Gym, knocking down a pair of threes and making five free throws on the evening in addition to six rebounds and three assists. Tessa Davenport led the way on the glass with seven rebounds for Castleton.
Mya Villard had a big day for the Warriors, dropping 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Julie Keckler chipped in with 12 points, while Julie Jordan added eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
The Warriors got off to a fast start, scoring 10 unanswered points to open the game in less than three minutes. Castleton got on the board with a three by Lesure, before later narrowing the edge to five points, 14-9, on a pair of free throws by Alexis Quenneville. A 6-2 run to close the quarter gave Eastern a nine-point lead heading to the second frame, 20-11.
Ajla Medic opened the second quarter with a three for the Spartans to draw them within six, but the Warriors stretched the gap to 16 points over the course of the quarter thanks to a 12-2 run by Eastern. Raiche knocked down a late three before the half, sending the game into the break with Castleton trailing 32-19.
The Spartans clawed back in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors by a 19-14 margin thanks to 12 points in the quarter by Raiche. Castleton came out of the locker room on a 7-0 run to narrow the gap to just six points, 32-26, but Eastern stretched the lead back to 12 points midway through the quarter after a pair of layups. After seven consecutive points by Raiche over a two-minute span, the Warriors lead stood at just four points. Eastern closed the quarter on a 4-0 run to double the advantage to eight heading into the final 10 minutes.
Back-to-back buckets by ECSU stretched the lead back to 12 points in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, but a 14-2 run—capped by a pair of free throws by Lesure—knotted the game for the first time since the opening tip with just 2:19 to play in the final regulation period. After a layup by Kelsey Santagata put Eastern up 54-52, Raiche knocked down a pair of free throws with less than two minutes to play to knot it up at 54-54, a score that held into the final horn, sending the game to overtime where Eastern outscored Castleton 7-2 to take the win.
The Spartans conclude regular-season action on Saturday at UMass-Dartmouth at 1 p.m.