DARTMOUTH, Mass. – The Castleton University women's basketball team wrapped up regular-season action on Saturday afternoon at UMass-Dartmouth, falling by a final score of 63-52 in a Little East Conference matchup.
The Spartans end their first regular season in the LEC with a 14-11 mark overall and a 6-10 record against LEC schools en route to the No. 6 seed in the playoff tournament. Castleton will travel to third-seeded Southern Maine on Tuesday for quarterfinal action against the Huskies. UMass-Dartmouth wraps up the regular season 21-4 overall and 14-2 in the LEC to take the top seed in the tournament and earn a first-round bye.
The Corsairs outshot Castleton 39.6 percent (21-of-53) to 29.6 percent (16-of-54), while the Spartans knocked down seven threes to UMass-Dartmouth's four. The Corsairs won the rebounding battle, 45-34, and held a 17-7 edge in second-chance points. Castleton converted 22 Corsair turnovers into 29 points on the day.
Brooke Raiche led all players with 23 points on 6-of-16 from the field and 9-of-14 from the free throw line. Alexis Quenneville added 14 points on 4-of-14 shooting, with all four buckets coming from beyond the arc, while Katlyn Toomey pulled in 10 rebounds on the day. Ajla Medic chipped in with five points in 12 minutes off the bench, while Abbie Lesure had six points, three assists and three steals for the Spartans in 39 minutes of action.
Nakira Examond scored a team-leading 11 points with seven boards for the Corsairs, while Ashley Brown and Lauren Empey added 10 points apiece. Kayla McMahon chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds, while Shaelyn Carreiro had eight points in eight minutes off the bench. Examond and Brown each had big days defensively with four steals apiece.
The Spartans got off to a quick start, going up 7-3 in the first quarter after Lesure knocked down a jumper with 6:10 to play. Unfortunately for Castleton, those were the last points the Spartans mustered in the quarter as the Corsairs went on a 14-0 run to end the frame and take a 17-7 lead into the second quarter.
After a Medic layup stopped the run for the Corsairs on the first possession of the second quarter, UMass-Dartmouth immediately started a new scoring streak, rattling off 15 consecutive points to go up 32-9 with 3:30 to play in the opening half. Castleton bounced back with a three by Medic and a layup by Toomey, heading into the break down 36-14.
The Spartans came out of the locker room firing, rattling off 10 consecutive points out of the locker room—eight on free throws—to cut the deficit to just 12 points, 36-24. The lead shrunk to 10 points with less than two minutes to play in the frame, as Quenneville buried a three with an assist from Lesure to make the score 42-32 in favor of the Corsairs.
Castleton had its largest offensive output of the day in the fourth quarter, but UMD hung around shot-for-shot as the Spartans were unable to close the gap despite a 20-point quarter. Trailing by 15 points with 5:09 to play, Castleton went on a 10-2 run to narrow the gap to just seven points, capped by a three from Quenneville with just a minute to play. The Corsairs controlled the final minute of play, knocking down four free throws to push the gap to 11 points and give the game its final score of 63-52.
Castleton returns to action at Southern Maine on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. for the LEC Quarterfinals.