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Castleton University rallies to edge women's basketball 76-75

Sophomore Carly Christophi scored a career-high 23 points on Saturday, November 18, 2017 against Castleton University. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Senior Nina Davenport scored a game-high 31 points and sophomore Carly Christofi added a career-high 23 but the Bates women's basketball team could not hold on to a 14-point halftime lead in a 76-75 loss to Castleton University Saturday afternoon in the Tyler Tip-Off Classic. 

Bates (0-1) led 75-73 with eight seconds to go in the game but the Spartans (2-0) got a huge three-point shot from Alexis Quenneville to give them the lead for good.

The two teams played a very even first quarter on Saturday, with Bates holding on to an 18-17 lead after the first 10 minutes of action. Davenport (Freeport, Maine) got off to a hot start with 10 of the Bobcats' first 18 points on 4-10 shooting.

The Bobcats appeared to take control of the game in the second quarter when they tallied 23 points while holding the Spartans to only 10. Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) made all three of her field goal attempts in the quarter to pace Bates with eight points. Davenport added seven of her own to go along with four points each for senior Emily Freedland (Marblehead, Mass.) and sophomore Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.). The Bobcats caused five turnovers on defense while holding the Spartans to 28.6% shooting in the quarter.

At one point, the Bobcats went on an 11-0 run to open up a 36-24 lead. 

With Castleton down 41-27 at halftime, Quenneville hit three three-pointers, and Makayla Farrara hit two three-pointers as the Spartans went on a 17-5 run through the first four-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter. Bates extended its lead back to eight late in the quarter on a pair of Davenport free throws before Quenneville hit another three-pointer to close the Bates lead to 60-55 heading into the final period.

After a traditional three-point play by Davenport one minute into the fourth quarter, Castleton put together a 14-4 scoring run, capped by two more three-pointers from Quenneville, to pull ahead, 69-67, with 3:30 remaining in regulation. The teams traded three-pointers, starting with senior Lyse Henshaw (Brunswick, Maine) before Farrara hit a long distance shot to put the Spartans back on top.

Bates retook the lead on a three-pointer by Christofi with two minutes to go, and then the Bobcats extended their advantage to 75-72 with two free throws by Davenport. On Castleton's next possession, Farrara was fouled and made one of two free throw attempts, and then Ashlie Fay pulled down a rebound to give the Spartans another possession.

After taking time off the clock, the ball worked its way to Quenneville, who once again saw success from long distance, putting the Spartans back on top. Bates had two chances on what would be the final possession of the game, but Taylor Raiche blocked the first shot, and the Bobcats could not get a second field goal attempt close to the basket.

Quenneville finished the game 8-of-11 from behind the three-point line for a career-high 24 points. Farrara scored 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line, and 5-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe, plus she pulled down five rebounds and collected four assists.

Davenport led all players with 31 points, shooting 10-of-22 from the field, including four three-pointers, and 7-of-7 from the free throw line, to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Christofi contributed 23 points on 8-of-10 field goal shooting as Bates took care of the basketball, committing just six turnovers.

Castleton committed 12 turnovers in the first half as it fell behind, part of the 17 turnovers in the game that led to 22 Bobcat points. The Spartan offense brought the team back, as Castleton shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the field, including 12-of-22 from behind the three-point line, and 80 percent (8-of-10) from the free throw line.

The Bobcats wrap up the Tyler Tip-Off Classic Sunday at 4:00 p.m. when they take on Smith College.