CASTLETON, Vt. – The University of Maine at Farmington women's basketball team started out strong but Castleton State College's defensive strength eventually took over, allowing just 15-second half points on the way to a 64-38 victory on Friday evening in North Atlantic Conference play.
The Spartans held the league's second-highest scoring offense to its lowest point total of the season and 27 below its season average as they improved to 14-2 overall and 9-0 in the conference. The Beavers shot just 28.6 percent from the floor and made three field goals in the second half as they dropped to 6-10 overall and 5-4 in conference play.
Castleton finished the game at 38.2 percent from the field and outrebounded UMF 49-37 on the evening. The Spartans also turned the ball over just nine times while forcing 17 Beaver turnovers on eight steals.
UMaine-Farmington sophomore Elizabeth Ferry and freshman Bridget Humphrey led the UMF offense with eight points apiece. Ferry added three rebounds and two steals while Humphrey chipped in with three rebounds and two steals off the bench. Sophomore Ayla Allen pulled down a team-high eight rebounds but went 0-for-8 from the floor and scored one point.
Castleton State was led by Alyssa Leonard who finished one assist shy of a triple double in 27 minutes of action. Leonard scored 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting, grabbed 11 boards and dished off nine assists while only committing one turnover. Shelby LaBarge was strong inside with nine points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals in 23 minutes off the bench. Meghan O'Sullivan scored a team-high 17 points while Jade Desroches was in double figures with 13 points.
The Beavers actually jumped out to a 4-0 lead before O'Sullivan drilled a triple from the top of the key at 18:14. Leonard gave the Spartans their first lead less than a minute later, but a 4-2 run by UMF put made it 8-7 at 15:56. Castleton responded with the next ten points over the next three minutes to pull in front 17-8.
UMF came back with six straight points and eventually closed the Spartan lead to 19-18 on back-to-back baskets by Kennadi Grover and Ferry at 8:44. Desroches ended the run with a three and Leonard followed with a jump shot for the 24-18 lead with 7:02 left. Ferry cut the lead to four a minute later but Castleton finished with the final six minutes of the half on an 8-3 run for the 32-23 advantage.
The Spartans allowed two quick buckets to the Beavers in the opening two minutes of the second half while scoring of their own, but came back with the next ten points for the 44-28 lead at 14:20. Humphrey connected on a jump shot 13 seconds later to make it a 14 points game but that would be as close as UMF got. The Beavers didn't record another field goal and Castleton pushed its lead as high as 28 in the waning minutes before finishing with the 26-point win.
UMaine-Farmington returns to the hardwood on Saturday, Jan. 25, when it faces Green Mountain College. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.