December 3, 2012

The Middlebury College women’s basketball team came on strong late but it wasn’t enough, as the Panthers fell 62-60 at Castleton in Glenbrook Gym on Tuesday evening. The Spartans led for the entire second half but saw their lead shrivel to just one, 59-58, on a layup by junior Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.) with 41 seconds left in the half. Castleton whittled the clock down on its next possession before senior Kelly Conway hit an elbow jumper with just 23 seconds remaining.

Middlebuy sophomore Katie Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.) attempted a game-tying three with 12 seconds left, but it rimmed out and Castleton’s Stephanie Linder fought for the board. She was fouled and hit one of two free throws to push the lead to 62-58, before the Panthers hit a layup at the buzzer for the two-point final margin. 

Castleton shot 49.1 percent from the field, including 5-for-10 from beyond the arc as nine different players scored in the contest. Meghan O’Sullivan led the team with 13 points and three blocks while Alyssa Leonard added 11. Linder had a team-high seven rebounds and added eight points.

The Panthers shot 41.4 percent from the field, including just 38.7 percent in the second half. Senior Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) poured in a game-high 25 points on 9-20 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three blocks. Junior Katie Pett (Saginaw, Mich.) finished with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and two points.

Castleton jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in the first 1:21; however, six straight by the Panthers gave the visitors a two-point lead just a minute later. The Spartans regained the lead for good on a three by O’Sullivan on their next possession. Castleton saw its lead grow as high as seven over the next 12 minutes, though the Panthers cut it to two, 27-25, with 6:24 left.

A Jade Desroches triple pushed the lead back to five but Borsinger hit a three of her own and Ritter added a layup to tie the game 30-30 with 2:28 remaining. A layup by Liz Douglass at the 1:24 mark proved to be the final bucket of the half, with the Spartans leading 32-30.

Castleton didn’t let up to start the second and eventually pushed its lead to 10 on a jumper by Leonard at the 15:31 mark. The lead fluctuated from 6-10 over the next five minutes, before a three by junior Kristina Conroy (Easthampton, Mass.) cut the Middlebury deficit in half, 52-49, with 9:52 left.

The teams traded baskets over the next 2:24, leaving Castleton up six. Neither team scored again until a 4-0 Panther run trimmed the Spartan advantage to just 57-55 with 3:35 remaining. Middlebury and Castleton swapped baskets for almost three minutes, until Kirk’s layup pulled her team within one with 41 seconds left.

Middlebury dropped a 62-50 road game at 16th-ranked Emmanuel on Saturday afternoon at the Jean Yawkey Center. Fiona O’Dwyer posted a double-double with game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (10) for the Saints (6-0).

Middlebury was in control of the action in the early goings, holding a lead until O’Dwyer tied the contest at 7-7 with an old-fashion three-point play with 17:00 minutes left in the half.  O’Dwyer would give EC its first lead of the day with a jumper at the 16:51 mark to make it 9-7 before Pett converted a shot from the wing to even the game at 9-9 with 15:36 on the clock.

On the next possession, one of two free-throws by senior guard Laura Benvenuto made it 10-9 but more importantly gave Emmanuel the lead for good as they would never trail for the remainder of the action.

With 8:46 left in the first half, junior guard Bria Tiro knocked down a trey to give the Saints their largest lead of the half at 22-10 but Middlebury responded with a 13-2 run to make it a one-point game at 24-23 following a pair of free-throws by sophomore Nora Kelly (Dedham, Mass.)  with just over three minutes remaining in the half.

Emmanuel took a 30-25 lead into the halftime intermission and then opened the second half with a 6-0 run to increase their lead to 36-25 following a layup by Liz Daley.

The Saints held a double-digit lead for the majority of the half, however, the Panthers made one run to keep things close when they pulled to within six at 45-39 following a Pett layup with under 12 minutes remaining in the game. EC answered with two quick hoops including an O’Dwyer jumper to put the lead back to double-figures (49-39) with just over 10 minutes left.

EC took its largest lead of the contest when sophomore center Vanessa Bramantee finished a fast-break layup with 5:42 left to make it 60-44. Emmanuel was able to hold on for the 62-50 win and improve to 6-0 to start a season for the first time since 2009.

The Panthers were led by Borsinger’s 13 points while Pett was strong defensively with 10 rebounds and a pair of steals.

• Women’s basketball record: 2-4

• Up next: 12/4 vs. Norwich – 6:00, 12/6 vs. Johnson – 5:00, 12/8 vs. Skidmore – 2:00