Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — The Middlebury women’s basketball team battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit on Friday, tying the score in the fourth quarter, before host Skidmore pulled away for a 55-49 victory. Middlebury (8-1) sees its season-opening eight-game winning streak come to an end, while the Thoroughbreds improve to 4-3. Following a busy stretch with three games in four days, the Panthers have three weeks off for finals and the holidays before returning to action on December 29 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in California.
In the opening quarter, the visitors grabbed an 11-2 lead on a jumper by Betsy Knoxwith 4:15 left, but Skidmore scored the final 10 points of the frame for a 12-11 edge.
After trading buckets in the early stages of the second quarter, Skidmore put together a 10-0 run over nearly six minutes of action, grabbing its largest lead at 11 (24-13) on a layup from Kelly Donnelly with 1:44 remaining. A basket from Alex Huffman pulled the Panthers to within nine (24-15) at the halftime break.
Out of the intermission, the hosts pushed their advantage to 11 (29-18) on a jumper by Lilly Berg with 7:44 on the clock. The Panthers sliced into the deficit with a 9-2 run over the next 2:09, capped off on a three-point field goal by Sarah Kaufman with 5:35 remaining. The Thoroughbred lead wavered between four and four and six points over the rest of the quarter, as a free throw by Kaufman with 24 ticks left pulled Middlebury to within five (35-30) headed to the final stanza.
A basket by Maya Davis and a three from Colleen Caveney knotted the contest at 35-35 with just over seven minutes left in the contest. After the teams exchanged buckets, Skidmore rattled off a 9-2 run over a span of nearly three minutes for a 46-39 lead on a jumper from Donnelly with 1:50 on the clock. The Panthers pulled to within four (46-42) on a layup from Sabrina Weeks with just over a minute left, but the Thoroughbreds knocked down 9-10 free throws down the stretch for the win.
Kaufman tied her season-high output with 12 points to lead the Panthers, while Knox chipped in with nine points and four assists. Caveney paced Middlebury with a game-best 10 rebounds to go along with four points, while Huffman finished with five points and four assists to go along with a career-high seven steals.
Donnelly led the hosts with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Haley English added 10 points and seven rebounds. Ari Fustini tacked on eight points and a team-best six assists in the victory.