WSU pulls away

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Westfield State University women’s basketball team outscored Castleton State College, 7-0, in the final 50 seconds to earn the 56-49 non-conference victory Tuesday in Glenbrook Gym.
After a pair of free throws by the Spartans’ Liz Douglass with 1:01 left, Alyssa Darling found Jen Ashton in the far corner for a three to put Westfield St. in front 52-49 with just 47 seconds left.
Castleton missed a quick three on its next possession and was forced to foul as the Owls went 4-for-4 from the line in the last 30 seconds to earn the seven-point win and improve to 9-5 overall. The Spartans, meanwhile, drop to 10-2 on the year.
Castleton shot just 28.8 percent from the floor in the contest and hit 6 of 21 three-point attempts, while Westfield St. made 33.8 percent of its shots from the field and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. Both teams grabbed 47 rebounds but the Owls held a slight 26-22 edge on points in the paint.
Gabby Felix was strong inside for Westfield State, pulling down a game-high 15 rebounds, scoring 10 points and blocking a pair of shots. Ashton was solid with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and just one turnover in 36 minutes. Tayler Travis added nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks off the bench.
Junior Jade Desroches led Castleton with 15 points on 6-for-17 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and three assists. Senior Alyssa Leonard was also in double figures with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Classmate Heather Murdough added a team-high 10 rebounds, five points and two blocks.
The Spartans opened the game on a 10-4 run in the first seven minutes following back-to-back threes from Desroches and Ali Jones. Shelby LaBarge extended the lead to 12-4 and Castleton made it 16-8 with 11:15 left. However, a three from Travis jump started a 12-0 run by Westfield St. to grab a 20-16 lead at 8:02.
Desroches ended the run, but six straight points extended the Owl advantage to 26-18 with 5:42 remaining. Desroches drilled a three off a feed from Leonard to pull within five at 4:22 and the Spartans outscored Westfield 5-1 over the last three minutes to trail at halftime, 27-26.
Castleton opened the second half on a 5-0 run on a triple from Leonard and a layup by Murdough. The two teams traded baskets over the next six minutes, before back-to-back layups by Felix put the Owls in front 37-34 at 11:16. LaBarge cut the deficit to 37-36 20 seconds later, but a 4-2 run by Westfield St. made it a three-point game with 9:20 left.
Leonard tied the game up at 41 apiece on a three from the wing and Meghan O’Sullivan followed with consecutive layups for the 45-41 Castleton lead with 7:50 left. Four straight points by Westfield St. tied it up 45-45 one minute later. Keri Doldoorian put the Owls back in front at 4:26, but Leonard countered with a layup 33 seconds later for the 47-47 draw.
No one scored until Alyssa Darling nailed a jump shot at 1:28 for the 49-47 lead. However, on Castleton’s next possession, Douglass was fouled going to the hoop. She made both with 1:01 left and on the Owls’ ensuing possession the Spartans nearly stole it before Darling collected the ball at the top of the key and fired it to Ashton in the corner for the triple.
The Spartans return to action on Thursday when they travel to face Johnson St. at 7:30 pm. Westfield hosts Saint Joseph, CT, in a rescheduled game on Thursday, Jan. 16, with a 5:00 p.m. tip-off.

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