December 10, 2012

The Panther women’s basketball team opened the game on a massive 23-2 run, on the way to a decisive 72-44 win over Norwich in the Panthers home-opener at Pepin Gym on Tuesday. The Cadets (4-3) managed to cut the deficit to 15 before the Middlebury lead bulged to 31 points in the second half. The Panthers held Norwich to 21.9% shooting for the game, while earning a commanding 58-32 rebounding edge.

During the opening run, eight different Panthers scored, led by five from senior Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) and four from junior Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.) for the 23-2 lead with 9:47 left. Norwich made a dent later in the half on back-to-back threes by Aliah Curry and Abigail Wright and a traditional three-point-play by Katrina Laidlaw, cutting the Panther lead to 34-19 with 2:08 left before intermission. Middlebury capped the half with a 6-0 spurt, as Kirk added a pair of lay-ups for a 40-19 lead at the break.

After an opening bucket by Curry in the second half, Middlebury went on a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach, building a 52-21 lead at the 15:20 mark. Junior Laura Lowry (W. Hartford, Conn.) and Kirk added two buckets apiece during that run as the Panthers cruised to the 72-44 victory.

Kirk led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double, as Borsinger earned a double-dip as well with 15 and 10, respectively. Junior Katie Pett (Saginaw, Mich.) helped build the Panthers’ huge rebounding edge with a game-high 13 caroms. Norwich was paced by Curry’s 14 points on 5-24 shooting from the floor.

Middlebury methodically pulled away from visiting Johnson State, en route to a lopsided 83-37 victory on Thursday. The Panthers used their commanding rebounding edge of 50-16 to spark their fast break for numerous easy baskets. Middlebury dominated on the offensive glass, holding a 19-4 advantage in that category, while dishing out 25 assists to the Badgers’ five. The 46-point win is the largest margin of victory for Middlebury since topping Lesley 91-33 on November 22, 2003.

The Panthers jumped out to a 12-2 lead less than five minutes into the game as Kirk and sophomore Rachel Crews (S. Burlington, Vt.) chipped in four points apiece during the run. Johnson State’s Mary Richardson cut the lead to 14-8 on a traditional three-point play at 12:50.  A three by Middlebury’s Laura Lowry at 8:27 pushed the Panther lead to 26-15, with the Panthers maintaining a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game.        Middlebury closed out the half on a 19-0 run after Lowry’s three, as the Panthers defense held the Badgers scoreless for the final 9:15 of the half, taking an imposing 45-15 lead into the break.

After shooting 55.9% from the floor in the first half, the Panthers continued their sharp shooting in the second, connecting on 53.1% pulling away for the 83-37 win. Middlebury’s defense held Johnson State to 25% accuracy from the field for the game, forcing 13 turnovers in the process.

Borsinger led all scorers with 19 points in 18 minutes of play, while adding five rebounds and three assists. Kirk added 10 points with four caroms, Crews chipped in 11 and seven as senior Jesse Miller (Wellesley, Mass.) nabbed a game-high 10 caroms. Richardson’s 18 points led the Badgers as she hit 5/13 from the floor including 1/3 from behind the arc and 7/8 from the charity stripe.

Middlebury made it three straight wins to end the semester as the Panthers defeated Skidmore (2-5) 68-59 in the team’s third game of the week in Pepin Gym. Middlebury improves its record to 5-4 with the victory and is idle until visiting Bates and Tufts on January 4th and 5th.

Leading 11-8, the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to take a 19-8 lead at the 9:29 mark of the first half behind buckets from four different players. The lead hovered at double-digits, with a late bucket by Crews sending Middlebury into halftime with a 32-18 advantage.

The lead grew to 16 early in the second half, before the Thoroughbreds went on a 10-2 surge to cut the advantage to 45-43 with 9:21 remaining. A three from Dani DeGregory and a three-point play from Ambert Holgate sparked the Skidmore burst.

Middlebury scored the game’s next five points, taking a 50-43 lead on a bucket from junior Kristina Conroy (Easthampton, Mass.) at the 7:12 mark. The lead stood at six when Crews found Borsinger for back-to-back threes, putting the Panthers up 62-50 with 2:02 remaining. Skidmore cut the lead to six late, but Middlebury held on for the 68-59 victory.

Borsinger finished with a game-high 23 points for Middlebury to go along with 11 boards in the game. Pett scored a dozen with a game-high 15 rebounds, while Crews netted 11 points.

• Women’s basketball record: 5-4

• Up next: 1/4 @ Bates – 8:00, 1/5 @ Tufts – 4:00