January 26, 2009

The Panther women's basketball team had a busy week playing three home games, including a pair of NESCAC contests. The week began as Hamilton shot .491 from the floor on its way to a 65-54 non-league win over Middlebury in Pepin Gym.

Middlebury jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind a hoop and a three from senior Emily Johnson (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.). Hamilton scored the next six points to cut the advantage to 7-6 at the 15:30 mark. Rookie Brittany Perfetti (Clifton Heights, Pa.) was solid for the Panthers in the first half, going 3-3 from behind the arc, while Madelyn McGuinnis scored 10 for the Continentals on 5-7 shooting. Middlebury led by as many as five as they took a 30-29 lead into the halftime break.

The second half saw three ties, leaving the game knotted at 38 with 14:02 left to play. A hoop from Sydney Fasulo gave Hamilton a 40-38 lead at the 11:12 mark, as the Continentals would not trail again. Middlebury stayed in the game throughout, trailing by six with 5:08 remaining. A three from Molly Kane and two buckets from Fasulo gave Hamilton a comfortable 63-52 advantage with 1:38 left to play.

Johnson led the Panthers with 11 points and four assists, while first-year player Elissa Goeke (Chevy Chase, Md.) and junior Alana Wall (Honolulu, Hawaii) netted 10 points apiece. Fasulo led all scorers with 14 points, while grabbing seven boards, Laura Wetmore scored 13, while McGuinnis netted 10.

Trailing 38-34 with 6:24 left in the game, Middlebury went on a 21-11 run to close out Connecticut College 55-49 at Pepin Gym on Friday. Neither team shot particularly well from the floor, with the Panthers shooting just under 30 percent, while the Camels connected on only 34 percent of their shots. Middlebury dominated on the glass, outrebounding Conn. College 53-38 on the night. The Panthers were also 17-25 from the free throw line, as the Camels were just 3-7 from the charity stripe.

The first half saw eight lead changes before Middlebury, trailing 15-14 went on a 14-2 run in the final 8:44 to close out the half with a 28-17 advantage. Six different Panthers chipped in buckets during the run including a pair from sophomore Allison Needham (Lexington, Mass.).

The Camels made it interesting in the second, climbing back in to the game with a 15-4 run to tie it at 32 apiece with 12:56 left. Jennifer Shinall and Laura Coderre each netted six points for Conn. College in the comeback. The Camels eventually took a four point lead before the Panthers responded on their decisive run. During the run, the Panthers held a 45-43 lead with just 1:48 left, Johnson scored the next five points to give Middlebury a comfortable 51-43 advantage with just 27 seconds remaining.

Senior Ashley Barron (Brockton, Mass.) led the Panthers with a team high 12 points and eight rebounds, while Johnson and sophomore Laura Sanchez (Seattle, Wash.) each collected 10. Goeke collected six boards and blocked five shots.

A late comeback bid by Middlebury fell short as Wesleyan made all six of their free throws down the stretch for a 67-63 win at Pepin Gym on Saturday. The Cardinals shot 83 percent from the line, including an impressive 13-14 in the second half. The Panthers fall to 7-10 overall and 1-3 in NESCAC play, while the Cardinals improve to 9-7 and 1-3 in conference action.

Wall scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, but the Panthers trailed for most of the period. A three-pointer by Johnson cut the Cardinal advantage to 33-28 with 56 seconds left, but Ali Fourney nailed a three of her own in the final seconds for an eight point advantage at the break.

Wesleyan grew their lead to 38-28 to start the second half before the Panthers went on a 13-2 run to take the lead 41-40 at the 12:13 mark. Sanchez sparked the run collecting seven points, including a long three-pointer. The Cardinals responded with an 11-0 run, including nine points by Erin Gold, to build another double-digit lead, 51-41 with 8:23 remaining in the game.

In the final two minutes, a pair of free throws by Johnson cut the Cardinal lead to 61-58. Meredith Rowe hit a pair of free throws for Wesleyan before Johnson hit the first of two free throws and junior Kaitlyn Fallon (Swarthmore, Pa.) collected Johnson's miss for the put back with 50 seconds left. Middlebury was forced to foul, and Lowe hit another pair from the line for a 65-61 lead with 22 seconds remaining. Needham made a lay-up with 11 seconds left, cutting the Wesleyan lead to 65-63. After a time-out by Middlebury, Sanchez fouled Fourney on the in-bounds play. Fourney hit the final pair of free throws sealing the 67-63 win for the Cardinals.

Wall went 8-16 from the floor for 16 points for Middlebury, while Johnson chipped in 15 to go with her six assists. Sanchez netted 13 points and Fallon collected a team-high eight rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
. Women's basketball record: 7-10
. Up next: 1/29 vs. Keene, 1/31 @ Williams