February 16, 2009

The Panther women's basketball team saw its season come to an end against ninth-ranked Amherst, falling 71-49 at Pepin Gym. The Jeffs, who never trailed in the contest, took a 35-18 lead at halftime and weren't threatened in the second half. The Panthers finish their season at 8-15 overall and 2-7 in NESCAC play. Amherst (23-1, 8-1) secured the second seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament, and will host seventh-seeded Colby on Saturday.

With the game knotted at four early on, Amherst went on a 12-2 run, building a 16-6 lead with 11:00 left in the half. Four different Jeffs scored during the spurt, highlighted by a pair of buckets by Sarah Leyman. Middlebury answered, cutting the lead to five on a basket by sophomore Laura Sanchez (Seattle, Wash.) at the 5:21 mark. Amherst rallied, closing out the first half on a 12-0 run, for a 35-18 lead at the break.

Middlebury played an even second half, scoring 31 points to the Jeffs 35, but the halftime lead was too great to mount any tangible comeback. By the 11:10 mark, the Jeffs lead grew to 54-28 on a lay-up by Jaclyn Daigneault. The Amherst lead hovered around 20 points for the remainder of the game, as the season for Middlebury comes to a close.

Sanchez followed up a career-best 20 points in Friday's game with 19 to lead the Panthers. Senior Emily Johnson (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) scored nine points in her finale, ending her career with 977 points. Senior Ashley Barron (Brockton, Mass.) caps her career with 752 total points.

The previous night, Middlebury kept its post-season chances alive with a 65-54 win over Trinity in Pepin Gym. The Panthers held the Bantams under 27 percent shooting for the game and maintained a 35-22 advantage on the defensive glass.

Trinity jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, sparked by six points from Claire Arnstein. The Panthers answered with a 10-2 run, tying the game at 12 apiece at the 11:25 mark. Rookie Elissa Goeke (Chevy Chase, Md.) and Johnson both netted five apiece during the comeback. Middlebury continued to roll, ending the first half on a 19-9 run for a 31-21 lead heading into halftime. Sanchez chipped in six of her career-high 20 points during the spurt.

In the second, Sanchez paced the Panthers during a 12-0 run to open the half. Sanchez added another eight points during the outburst, giving Middlebury a 43-21 lead with 16:19 left in the game. Trinity managed to cut the lead to 10 with 5:29 on the clock, as Molly McGlynn chipped in eight and Arnstein added six more. Trinity could get no closer than nine points in the final minutes as the Panthers went 7-9 from the line down the stretch, sealing a 65-54 victory.

Sanchez had a big day, collecting a team high nine rebounds and leading all scorers with a career-high 20 points, going 4-6 from the field and 12-13 from the line. Johnson added 18 and junior Kaitlyn Fallon (Swarthmore, Pa.) chipped in 11. Arnstein and Christine Card each scored 14 for Trinity as Card also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds, while McGlynn finished with 10 points.

. Women's basketball final record: 8-15