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Mitch's Sports Report: Castleton Women Still Perfect In Hoops; Play Ball! MLB Strikes New Labor Deal

Playing their first North Atlantic Conference game of the season, the Castleton Spartans mens' basketball team scored a 90-77 win over New England College at Glenbrook Gym last night. Jordan Nelson had a team high 22 points to lead the Spartans,  Edmund Fitzgerald added 14, and the Spartans got a 12-point effort from Julian Santos off the bench to improve to 4-1 on the season.

The mens' game was the first of a back to back home double header that concluded with the Castleton women taking on their New England College counterparts in the nightcap, and things did look good early on for the Lady Spartans. Castleton scored just two points in the first quarter and trailed 12-2 at the start of the second in a game that featured stingy defense from both teams. But the Spartans rallied in the fourth quarter and scored a 51-45 come from behind win in their first North Atlantic Conference game of the season. Lindsay Sabo had a game-high 19 points for Castelton, and Amanda Beatty added 13 as Castleton stays unbeaten at 3-0 on the year.

Elsewhere in womens' college hoops Candice Wright had a big night for the University of Vermont, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds to power the Catamounts to a 63-52 win over Holy Cross at Patrick Gym last night. It was the first career double-double for the UVM Sophomore. Sidney Smith led the Catamounts with 15 points as UVM improves to 3-4 on the season.

The St. Michael's Purple Knights had not suffered a loss to a Northeast-10 Conference opponent until last night, falling to Merrimack 58-50 in North Andover. Samantha Delaney had a strong game, leading all scorers with 14 points but the Warriors hung on for the win, evening St. Mike's record at 3-3 on the year.

The St. Michael's men didn't fare any better than the women against their Merrimack counterparts, losing 93-76, and the Purple Knights are still struggling to notch their first win of the year, now 0-6 despite a 27-point performance from Matt Bonds in the loss.

The Middlebury Panthers shot 54% from the floor and got 20 points from Matt St. Amour en route to a 99-83 win over Johnson State. The Panthers are 5-1 on the season while Johnson State drops to 2-3. The Badgers' Marqwon Wynn continues to have a strong season, though, and led all scorers with 23 points in the losing effort.

In the pro game, a rough night for the Boston Celtics, who couldn't solve Detroit's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in a 121-114 home loss to the Pistons. Caldwell-Pope poured in 25 points and Andre Drummond pounded the boards for 17 rebounds to go with his 20 point double-double night. As usual Isaiah Thomas led the Celts offense with 27 points and Kelly Olynyk had a season-high 19 but Boston was porous on defense in dropping their record to 10-8 on the season.

And perhaps there is hope for bipartisanship in this world. Facing a midnight deadline that could have threatened next year's baseball season, Major League Baseball's owners and players union agreed to a new, five-year collective bargaining agreement last night that will ensure that there will be cries of "play ball" come April. Highlights include a raising of the cap on the so-called luxury tax, meaning the highest paying teams are no longer limited to a tax of just 50% if they spend beyond the threshold to maintain a competitive balance with other teams (I'm looking at you, Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers). Also, teams that sign an elite free agent who received and rejected a qualifying offer from their current team will not have to give up a number one draft pick in return, and the two sides agreed to a hard cap on total annual spending for foreign-born amateur players, so no more huge signing bonuses for guys like Rusney Castillo. A little late for the Red Sox but, perhaps, lesson learned.