BANGOR, Maine – Castleton University rallied from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and from trailing early in the first extra period to create another five minutes of action, but Husson University finally prevailed, 81-77, Friday night in a North Atlantic Conference women's basketball game at Newman Gym.
Husson (10-8, 8-3 NAC) opened an 18-point lead in the third quarter at 43-25 thanks to a 19-0 scoring run over a five-minute span, starting with a three-pointer by Kenzie Worcester. Castleton started to cut into the Eagle lead thanks to five straight points by Amanda Beatty, but Husson still held a 48-34 lead after the third quarter.
Still down by 15 two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Spartans started increasing the pressure on both ends of the court, going on a 13-2 scoring run to close to within four at 56-52 with 3:10 left in regulation. Makayla Farrara hit two free throws to bring the Spartans within three, and then she took advantage of two missed free throw attempts by Husson, hitting a three-pointer to tie the game at 61-61, forcing overtime.
The Eagles scored the first five points of the first overtime period before a layup by Brooke Raiche cut the Husson lead to three at 66-63 halfway through the extra session. After an exchange of one free throw each, Farrara once again kept the Spartans alive, hitting another three-pointer from the right wing to create another tie at 67-67 and force another overtime period.
Once again, Husson drew first blood, this time scoring the first nine points of the second overtime period while Castleton struggled on offense, missing its first seven shots and turning the ball over three times. A three-pointer by Alexis Quenneville brought Castleton within four at 76-72, but Husson went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 23 seconds to finally close out the game.
Beatty scored a season-high 25 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 13-of-17 shooting from the free throw line, while Farrara scored 20 of her season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and overtime periods, hitting 7-of-16 shots from the field, including three three-pointers, and 7-of-7 attempts from the charity stripe.
Worcester led all players with 32 points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots, shooting 10-of-14 from the field and 10-of-13 from the free throw line. Sami Ireland contributed 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, and Emma Alley contributed 10 points, three rebounds, and four steals in a game-high 47 minutes on the floor.
After the two teams exchanged baskets at the start of the game, Alley hit a three-pointer to give Husson a 5-2 lead. A layup by Ireland late in the first quarter extended the Eagle advantage to 12-8, but two free throws from Beatty closed the Spartan deficit to 12-10 after the first quarter.
The Spartans scored the first six points of the second quarter to pull ahead, 16-12, and then the two teams started exchanging points for the next few minutes. Husson scored the final four points of the second quarter on layups by Ireland and Megan Peach to go into the locker room at halftime ahead by one, 22-21.
As a team, Husson shot 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the field, including 4-of-10 from behind the three-point line, and 60.5 percent (23-of-38) from the free throw line. The Eagles scored 23 points off 22 Castleton turnovers.
The Spartans hit 36.1 percent (26-of-72) of its field goal attempts, including 4-of-17 from behind the three-point line, and 77.8 percent (21-of-27) of its free throw chances. Castleton won the rebounding battle, 46-38, earned 19 assists on 26 made field goals, led by nine assists from Ashlie Fay, and scored 21 points off 23 Husson turnovers.
Castleton (14-3, 10-1 NAC) concludes the weekend road trip at Maine Maritime Saturday, Jan. 27, starting at 1 p.m.