CASTLETON, Vt. – Green Mountain College used the guise of senior day to help thwart the Castleton University offense throughout the first half, but could not hold the hosts back in the second half falling 69-36 Saturday afternoon in a North Atlantic Conference (NAC) women's basketball game at Glenbrook Gym.
With the victory, Castleton, now 21-4 overall, clinched the NAC regular season title with a 16-2 league record and will host the semifinals and finals of the NAC Women's Basketball Tournament next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24. Green Mountain's season comes to a close at 5-20 overall and 1-17 within the NAC.
Castleton scored the first four points of the game, but Green Mountain went on a 7-2 scoring run, capped by a three-pointer from Mercedes Rideout (Nashville, Tenn.) with three minutes left in the first quarter, to take a 7-6 lead. Three free throws by Katlyn Toomey in the final 1:39 of the period put the Spartans back on top, 9-7, after the first quarter.
A layup by Taylor Hill (Ronceverte, W. Va.) and a three-pointer from Sharena Armstrong (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) in the first minute of the second quarter allowed the Eagles to retake the lead at 12-9. Down 14-11 with four minutes remaining in the first half, the Spartans put together a 10-0 scoring run, capped by a rebound and putback from Morgan Raiche May, to establish a 21-14 advantage. However, another three-pointer from Rideout and a layup by Keegan Hill (Hagerstown, Md.) cut the Eagles' deficit to 22-19 at halftime.
Armstrong scored all 10 Green Mountain points in the third quarter, tying the game three times in the first four minutes of the second half. Castleton finally broke away with 16 unanswered points, led by Makayla Farrara with seven points in that stretch, before a half-court heave at the end of the quarter from Armstrong found nothing but net, making the score 42-29 in Castleton's favor heading into the final period.
After exchanging points with the Eagles in the first minute of the fourth quarter, Castleton closed out the game with a 24-4 scoring run, thanks to the Spartans shooting 12-of-17 from the field, including 11-of-12 from inside the three-point arc, in the final 10 minutes.
Armstrong led the Eagles with 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-of-3 performance from behind the three-point line. She also pulled down seven rebounds and earned two steals. Rideout scored 10 points, and Taylor Hill pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for Green Mountain.
As a team, Green Mountain shot 27.5 percent (14-of-51) from the field, including 6-of-20 from behind the three-point line, and 2-of-3 from the free throw line. The Eagles did commit 28 turnovers, leading to 26 Castleton points.
With the Eagles closing out their season with today's finale, here's a look at the team's season leaders in a bevy of different categories.
|Category||Leader (Total)||Conference Rank|
|Minutes Played||Mercedes Rideout (913)||Ranks 1st overall in NAC|
|Points||Mercedes Rideout (330)|
|Shooting||Sharena Armstrong (35.5%)|
|3-PT Made||Mercedes Rideout (89)||Ranks 1st overall in NAC|
|3-PT Shooting||Mercedes Rideout (31.2%)|
|FT Made||Sharena Armstrong (60)|
|FT Shooting||Sharena Armstrong (80.0%)||Ranks 5th overall in NAC|
|Rebounds||Taylor Hill (197)||Ranks 5th overall in NAC|
|Assists||Sharena Armstrong (58)|
|Steals||Sharena Armstrong (24)|
|Blocks||Sharena Armstrong (28)||Ranks 4th overall in NAC in blocks per game (1.3)|