GORHAM, Maine – The Castleton University women's basketball team saw its season come to a close on Tuesday evening as the Spartans fell in the Little East Conference Tournament Quarterfinals to the University of Southern Maine by a final score of 63-40.
Castleton wraps up its first season in the Little East with a 14-12 record, marking the 17th consecutive season that the Spartans conclude the year with a winning record. The Huskies advance to the LEC Tournament Semifinals Friday after moving to 15-11 on the season.
The Huskies outshot Castleton 51.9 percent (28-of-54) to 32.0 percent (16-of-50), though both sides struggled from distance. Castleton knocked down 5-of-21 from beyond the arc, while USM managed to hit just 3-of-15 from three. The Spartans controlled the glass, 32-29, but the Huskies cashed in on 29 points from 20 Spartan miscues.
Brooke Raiche led the way for Castleton with 15 points on 7-of-15 from the floor, while Abbie Lesure chipped in with nine points on a trio of threes. Ajla Medic added five points off the bench for Castleton, while Katlyn Toomey chipped in with 11 rebounds and five assists.
Southern Maine's Jackie Luckhardt matched Raiche with a game-high 15 points, though she was joined in double digits by Alexa Srolovitz and Victoria Harris, each of whom had 11 points. Luckhardt led all players with seven assists, while tying for a team-high with six rebounds. She also added four steals for the Huskies.
After nearly two minutes of scoreless play to open the game, Southern Maine took the first lead of the contest with a three from Srolovitz, but Lesure buried a corner three for the Spartans on the ensuing possession to level the game. After back-to-back buckets by the Huskies, Castleton countered with jumpers by Raiche and Toomey to level the game at 7-7 with less than three minutes to play in the opening frame. Southern Maine went up 9-7 with 1:26 to play, but Raiche tied the game at 9-9 with a late layup before Srolovitz buried an elbow jumper just before the buzzer to give the Huskies an 11-9 edge after the first 10 minutes.
The USM lead stretched to as many as seven points in the second, as the Huskies opened the second quarter on a 7-2 run to go up 18-11. The Spartans worked it back to a two-point game—18-16—after a three by Lesure and a layup by Raiche. Five straight points by the Huskies pushed it back to a seven-point game, but Castleton cut it down to a five-point deficit before the break, 27-22.
Castleton's offense sputtered in the third quarter, as the Spartans managed just four points in the pivotal frame. The Huskies extended the lead to 15 points by the end of the quarter as they closed the third with a 10-0 run.
Two more buckets by Southern Maine to open the fourth pushed the home side's advantage to 19 points, but threes by Lesure and Ajla Medic helped the Spartans begin to chip away at the USM lead. The comeback stalled shortly after, as Southern Maine closed the game on a 12-2 run to give the contest its final score of 63-40.