An irritated coach Tim Barrett walked into the Castleton women’s basketball locker room during halftime at the game against Middlebury College this past Tuesday. “I was animated, but disappointed in the effort [of the first half],” said the coach, now in his eighth season with the women’s program.
“[Coach] lit a fire under our ass,” said sophomore forward Kristie Dunchus. “He told us to play like we can.”
The Spartan women went on a 15-5 run to open the second half of play. Jessica Banks capped off the comeback with a huge three-pointer to tie the score at 41-41.
The Spartans could not carry that momentum into overtime, though, and were outscored 11-4 to lose the non-conference contest 63-56.
Banks led all scorers with 18 points, and Laura Cary followed her with 11, which included 9 free throws.
The Middlebury game marked the second game the women have played in their new Glenbrook Gymnasium. The home opener was November 25th against Plymouth State. The Spartans lost 60-44.
“We’re really excited with the way it came out,” said Barrett about the new gym. “Opening night had a great college atmosphere with the new pep band and great fans.”
“It’s different,” said Dunchus. “We went undefeated last year [at home]. We are superstitious in a way, but no one mentions it’s the new gym.”
This year’s new players didn’t know the old gym, however.
“I didn’t really play in the old one,” said sophomore guard, Tiffany Lafond. “But players say it’s a brighter experience.”
The Spartans do not open North Atlantic Conference play until January 13th. Until then, the Spartans will continue their non-conference play with tough teams like Middlebury.
“Definitely, it helps,” said Dunchus. “Last year we also played tough teams. It made us that much better come conference play.”
The team will also travel to California over the break.
“I’m interested in seeing how the level of competition on the West Coast compares to our level here,” said Lafond.
As for Barrett’s game plan for the upcoming non-conference games, “We need to be more consisted on both sides,” he said. “We need to take better care of the basketball.”
The Spartans fell to 3-3 overall with the loss. They will be at home on December 12th against Western New England. The game begins at 7:00 pm.