BRUNSWICK, Maine -- Castleton overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to earn a 76-70 overtime victory against Plattsburgh State in the second round of the NCAA tournament to advance to the program's first Round of 16. Jade Desroches led the team with 23 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists as the Spartans overcame a seemingly insurmountable lead to survive and advance.
Castleton dug themselves an early hole, beginning the game 1-for-8 from the floor. The Cardinals took advantage, jumping out to an early 16-4 lead, but the Spartans continued to battle, cutting into the lead with a Jade Desroches 3-pointer followed by consecutive buckets by Liz Douglass made it 18-11 with 8:41 to play in the first half.
Castleton cut the lead to 18-14 out of a media timeout with a 3-point play by Alyssa Leonard, but it would be as close as the Spartans could get to the Cardinals in the first. Plattsburgh St. finished the half on a 20-6 run, keyed by Kathleen Payne's 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc. The Spartans entered the locker room trailing 38-20.
Out of the break, Liz Douglass knocked down eight consecutive Spartan points to cut the lead to 42-28. She pentrated for a layup and drilled consecutive 3-pointers from the right wing to keep the Spartans alive. Jade Desroches added a free throw to make it 42-29 at the 4:08 mark.
Castleton kept picking away at the lead and using their nationally-ranked defense to stifle the Cardinals. Meghan O'Sullivan drilled consecutive jumpers and Douglass added a runner in the lane to cut the Plattsburgh lead to 45-39 with 11:49 remaining in the contest.
After a pair of free throw from Devona Paul, Desroches triggered a 12-5 run to tie the game. Desroches converted a jumper and then Shelby Labarge drilled an uncommon 3-pointer. Desroches got to the basket for another layup, and after a Plattsburgh 3, teamed up with Alyssa Leonard to drill back-to-back triples, tying the game at 52-52 with 8:39 remaining in the game.
The Spartans took their first lead of the contest with 8:39 to go on an Alyssa Leonard layup, and O'Sullivan followed with a 10-foot runner, putting the team ahead 56-52. Castleton extended their lead to eight with 3:33 left, but the Cardinals weren't finished. They mount a 10-2 run keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Brittany Marshall to tie the game at 65-65 and force overtime.
In the extra period, the Spartans fell behind 67-65 on a Marshall layup, but Shelby Labarge provided the answer for the Spartans in a big way. The senior forward scored nine points in the overtime period, including eight consecutive to put the Spartans on top for good. Labarge and Desroches combined to go 5-for-6 from the foul line down the stretch to seal the Castleton victory.
Labarge finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans, supplying a much needed lift off the bench. Liz Douglass went for 14 points as well, and added four rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Leonard and O'Sullivan each chipped in 12 points as the Spartans kept their historic playoff run alive.
Castleton improves to 27-3 on the season.