Castleton Advances to Fourth-Straight NAC Title Game
CASTLETON, Vt. – Vanessa Powers (Marshfield, Vt.) posted her eighth double-double of the season to lead top-seeded Castleton State College to a 73-51 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) semifinal win over the fifth seed, Maine Maritime Academy Friday afternoon at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
Powers was efficient on the inside, scoring 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 experience at the free throw line. The senior forward finished off her stat line with a game-high 12 rebounds and four steals. Classmate Christine Jaques (Burlington, Vt.) dumped in a dozen points on 4-for-7 shooting from long distance and freshman Meghan O'Sullivan (Merrick, N.Y.) added 12 points and five boards off the bench. Alyssa Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) and Tarryn Bolognani (Whitingham, Vt.) rounded out the Spartans in double-figures with 10 apiece.
Maine Maritime was led by Casey Everest (Portland, Maine) who scored eight points off the bench, while five other Mariners added six. Leah Jackson (Deham, Maine) had six points to go along with a team-leading five rebounds and three assists.
Castleton set the defensive tone early, racing out to a 19-4 lead over the first nine minutes of play. Powers was featured early, scoring eight points during the opening stretch, while Jaques added one of her four first-half triples.
Courtney Dufour (Augusta, Maine) nailed a pair of three-pointers on successive trips for the Mariners, but each time Jaques had the answer as Castleton maintained the 15-point cushion at 25-10. A 6-0 Spartan run pushed the lead above 20 where it would remain until intermission.
Maine Maritime was able to solve the Spartan defense with a bit more success to open the second half, but the Mariners were unable to get any closer than 19 on three different occasions over the final 20 minutes of play. The Spartans saw their lead balloon as high as 63-36 on an O'Sullivan 15-footer just inside of eight minutes to play.
Castleton shot 50.9% from the field and moved the ball well, piling up 18 assists on 29 field goals. The Spartan defense limited Maine Maritime to just 34% from the field while forcing 18 turnovers.
Maine Maritime's 2011-12 campaign ends at 14-13, while the Spartans move on to the NAC Final at 21-5. The 21 wins matches a program high-water mark set on four other occasions. Castleton awaits the winner of the second semifinal between Colby-Sawyer and Husson. The final will tip-off at Castleton on Saturday at 2 pm.