Women's Basketball: Warriors Struggle as Castleton Hands Them First Conference Loss

Junior forward Mya Villard became the second-fastest individual  (68 games) to reach 1,000 career points in the opening minutes of Tuesday's 59-48 Little East Conference loss to visiting Castleton University. She becomes only the fifth player in program history to collect as many as 1,000 career points in her first three seasons.
Junior forward Mya Villard became the second-fastest individual (68 games) to reach 1,000 career points in the opening minutes of Tuesday's 59-48 Little East Conference loss to visiting Castleton University. She becomes only the fifth player in program history to collect as many as 1,000 career points in her first three seasons.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. –Sophomore guard Brooke Raiche had 26 points and eight rebounds as the Castleton University women's basketball team won its sixth straight game with a 59-48 Little East Conference decision over Eastern Connecticut State University Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Now 8-1 away from its home court, Castleton (11-3, 3-2 LEC) spotted Eastern (8-4, 4-1 LEC) a 6-0 lead before outscoring the Warriors 13-2 the rest of the first quarter, and junior guard Alexis Quenneville scored nine of her 14 points in the second quarter as Castleton rolled up a 12-point, 31-19 halftime lead.

Entering play as the lone unbeaten team in the LEC, Eastern falls into a three-way tie for first place with the University of Southern Maine and UMass Boston, both of whom were idle.

After Eastern cut the Castleton lead to four four minutes into the second half, Quenneville chipped in all five of her second-half points on successive trips down the floor. While the Warriors were missing a pair of shots, Quenneville nailed the fourth of her four three-pointers to make it 36-29, then dropped in an inside bucket on a pass from Raiche as Castleton pushed the lead to nine, 38-29, midway through the third quarter.

Down by five entering the final ten minutes, the Warriors turned the ball over twice and missed a shot on its first three possession, and Castleton countered a basket in the paint by freshman forward Olivia Perry and a jumper from senior guard Abbie Lesure  to restore a nine-point 44-35 lead with 8:35 left in the game.

Behind Quenneville's four three-pointers and three from Raiche, Castleton outscored Eastern by 24 points from distance. The Spartans were 8-of-25 while Eastern misfired on all 15 of its attempts from beyond the arc and finished with a 32.2 shooting percentage overall – its second-worst of the year.

Quenneville followed Raiche with 14 points and three assists as the pair combined for 40 of their team's point total.

Eastern junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) reached and exceeded the 1,000 -point plateau with her first points of the game 3:26 into action with a steal and inside basket. She was fouled on the play and missed the free throw but the points gave the Warriors their early 6-0 lead.

Villard contributed her sixth double-double in eight games with 14 points and 11 rebounds to go along with four assists and two steals. Junior guard Julie Jordan (Sterling) added 11 points and four rebounds, senior forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford) had eight points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) eight points, four rebounds and two assists.

The contest was the first between the Warriors and Castleton -- a first-year member of the Little East -- in ten years.

Eastern hosts Southern Maine in a conference game Thursday at 5:30 p.m.