CASTLETON, Vermont – Some clutch free-throw shooting from senior Alex Bessey and a timely 3-pointer from senior Tia Day helped lift the University of Maine at Farmington women’s basketball team to a 74-72 win over Castleton University, in Saturday’s opening game of the Castleton Spartan Classic at Glenbrook Gym.
Bessey went 6-of-6 at the free-throw line over the final 2:16 of the game, helping to close what had been a 72-65 lead in the Spartans’ favor. Bessey’s first two foul shots were followed by Day’s 3-pointer with 1:40 showing on the game clock, further narrowing the margin to 72-70.
Additional pairs of free-throws from Bessey at the 00:21 and 00:04 marks allowed UMF to clinch the win, allowing the Beavers to post their first road victory over the Spartans since December 4, 2015.
The win, the first coaching victory for interim Head Coach Nate Carson, was also just the second triumph for UMF women’s basketball over former North Atlantic Conference rival Castleton over the last 18 meetings, dating back to the 2011-12 season in the old-look NAC.
UMF had led Castleton by 14 points, 24-10, at the end of the opening quarter, thanks to a 10-of-18 (.556 FG pct.) shooting effort by the Beavers over the first 15 minutes of play. While the Spartans rallied to outperform the Beavers in the second quarter, UMF still went into the intermission with a 41-38 lead.
An 11-2 run by the Beavers to close out the third quarter, punctuated by Molly Folsom’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the frame, kept UMF in front, 59-52, heading into the final 15 minutes.
Castleton knotted the game with seven straight points to open the fourth quarter, and the contest was still tied at 63-63 with 7:01 showing on the clock. A 9-0 surge from the Spartans gave Castleton a 72-65 lead, paving the way for the late UMF rally.
All five UMF starters finished in double-figures, led by Day with 19 points with five assists. Page Brown and Makayla Wilson each added 12 points, while McKenna Brodeur finished with 11 points and eight boards. Bessey ended the day with 10 points.
Folsom led the Beavers on the boards with 11 rebounds, sparking UMF’s 47-43 advantage on the glass. UMF also outperformed Castleton in shooting from the field (.391 FG pct.), beyond the arc (9-of-25, .360), and at the free-throw line (11-of-12, .917).
UMF completes play in the Castleton Spartan Classic on Sunday, Nov. 14, when the Beavers face another former NAC rival, New England College. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.