CASTLETON — The trade name for the precise shade of Castleton University’s color is 343 green. But it has been quite some time since Castleton women’s basketball coach Tim Barrett has seen a shade quite like this.
Heading into their first year in the Little East Conference, Barrett must retread a team that is as green as any he’s had in recent memory.
“It’s the youngest and most inexperienced team we have had in a long time,” Barrett said.
Twins Taylor Raiche and Morgan Raiche May are gone along with Amanda Beatty, Makayla Farrara and Ashlie Fay.
That means the Spartans return just one starter, Fair Haven’s Alexis Quenneville. West Rutland’s Brooke Raiche, the North Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year, is also back.
“Other than those two there is very little experience,” Barrett said.
Quenneville and Brooke Raiche had some outstanding games last year. Barrett is hoping for them to have more of them this season.
“We are looking for them to be more consistent,” he said.
Quenneville is an excellent 3-point shooter who can get on a roll.
“People know that about her now and she will have to find other ways to score,” Barrett said. “She will have to become a more complete player.
“Brooke is very athletic and talented on defense. We need her to become a more consistent offensive player.”
Brattleboro’s Abbie Lesure and Windsor’s Ashleay Wilcox are back and will be splitting time at point guard.
Wilcox was a freshman last season. Barrett expects she will grow into the college game this season.
“I think it was a big transition for Ashleay last year,” Barrett said.
Mill River’s Tess Davenport is one of the newcomers and she has already shown promise.
“She brings some size and I have been impressed with her in the preseason,” Barrett said. “She will see some time in the post and she can also step outside.”
Barrett is also looking for 5-foot-11 Katlyn Toomey to play a bigger role this year as a junior.
Lyndon’s Shay Mosher returns as a sophomore.
“She gives us some depth in the perimeter. She has had a pretty good preseason and has the ability to score from the perimeter,” Barrett said.
This will be the season the Spartans finally get some contributions from Burlington’s Ajia Medic, a senior who has been plagued by injuries.
“She is a good 3-point shooter and is healthy for the first time in two years,” Barrett said.
Other freshmen include Mount Anthony’s Anna Iannotti and out-of-state additions Lauren Pratt, Olivia Perry and Delaney Whitehead.
Barrett will get his first look at the Spartans on Friday and Saturday at the University of Southern Maine Tournament. It will be a North Atlantic Conference reunion. CU left the NAC after last year for the Little East but both its opponents at USM will be NAC teams, Thomas College on Friday evening and Maine-Farmington on Saturday at noon.
The Spartans were picked by the Little East coaches to finish eighth in the nine-team league.
The Little East Poll: 1. UMass Dartmouth 2. UMass Boston 3. Southern Maine 4. Eastern Connecticut 5. Western Connecticut 6. Keene State and Rhode Island College (tied) 8. Castleton 9. Plymouth State.
Castleton fans can see the new-look Spartans at home for the first time Nov. 17 when Northern Vermont University-Johnson visits Glenbrook Gym. The first Little East game comes on Nov. 28 at Plymouth State.
NOTES: Olivia Perry comes to campus with a reputation as a good defensive player at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut, but when her team needed her to score in the Putnam Rotary Senior All-Star game, she rang up 18 points and was named team MVP. ... Barrett has amassed a 337-133 record (.717) during his 17 seasons. ... Castleton was 21-5 and 16-2 in its final season in the NAC, the campaign coming to an end with a 57-49 upset loss to Maine Maritime in the NAC semifinals.