CASTLETON, Vt. – Two players reached double-digits, including a team-high 15 points from senior guard Kate Karraker, but it wasn't enough as the Mount Holyoke College basketball team dropped its season-opener by a 70-45 margin to Castleton State College on Saturday in the Rutland Herald Tip-Off Classic.
The Lyons opened the contest on a layup by senior forward Amber Legare, but the homestanding Spartans took control as a Meghan O'Sullivan three-pointer and a Jade Desroches layup pushed Castleton State out to a 5-2 advantage. Those buckets helped lead a 17-0 run for the Spartans as they went up by an 18-2 margin with 11:31 to play in the half.
Mount Holyoke answered with 7:21 to play, going on a 6-0 run of their own to make it an 18-8 game . Leading the charge was Karraker, who nailed a three-pointer off a Genelle Green pass. Castleton once again built up a lead, but the Lyons battled back, closing the gap to nine (23-14) on another Karraker shot from downtown.
Another trey from Karraker with 2:01 remaining made it a 23-17 game and Legare chipped in a free throw in the final seconds to close the gap to nine as the Lyons headed into the locker room down 27-18.
Karraker led all scorers at the half, notching 12 points, including a 3-for-7 effort from three-point range. Desroches led the Spartans with 10 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
In the second half, MHC had several chances right off the bat, but couldn't connect. Castleton State grabbed the first bucket as Desroches made a jumper in the first 55 seconds. Green closed the deficit back to nine (29-20) with 18:34 on the clock, but O'Sullivan countered for the home team.
A layup from junior Kelly Stewart and a shot from Legare pushed it to 31-24 with 16:37 to go, but free throw makes by O'Sullivan and a three-pointer from Amanda Beatty made it a double-digit lead (36-24) once again.
Despite the momentum, the Lyons could not hold off the Spartans, who went on an 11-0 run, including a pair of three-pointers from Lindsay Sabo, to take a 42-24 lead with 14:47 left in the game. Another three-pointer from Karraker with 7:20 to play cut the Spartans lead to 58-36, but the home team continued to gain momentum, as a layup from Bryanna DuPont made it 64-40 with just 3:59 on the clock.
Castleton's Makayla Farrara went on to nail back-to-back three pointers to wrap up the home team's scoring.
Leading the way for the Spartans was Desroches, who dropped in 18 points and added eight rebounds and three steals. O'Sullivan chipped in with 13 points, while DuPont had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For Mount Holyoke, Karraker had a team-high 15 points, including four three-pointers. Legare added 14 points and eight rebounds, while senior forward Nicole DeMarchena posted a game-best four blocks.
The Lyons are back in action on Sunday when they close out play at the Rutland Herald Tip-Off Classic against Elms College. Game time is 12pm.