November 26, 2012

The Middlebury College women’s basketball team dropped an 80-47 game at Smith on Tuesday night. It was the Panthers who took an early 4-0 lead on baskets by sophomore Rachel Crews (S. Burlington, Vt.) and junior Sarah Marcus (Williamsville, N.Y.), but Smith (2-0) responded with nine straight points. Rosa Drummond knocked down a short jumper and a three point basket, and Amanda Zakoske fed Paulina Solis for a layup off an offensive rebound.  

Devon Quattrocchi’s jumper pushed the lead to 17-6 at the 12:41 mark of the first half, and Smith continued to pour it on, going up 29-10 on Lauren Weston’s short  hoop with 7:55 to play. Bethany Claps’ layup with 2:27 to play gave Smith their biggest advantage at 41-17, and the Pioneers took a 43-20 lead into halftime courtesy of Brittany Purington's basket just under the minute mark.

The second half saw more of the same, as Smith opened the period on a 10-2 run, capped by two free throws from Drummond. Smith led by as many as 37 points when Solis sank a layup with 3:06 left in the game.

Every player who got in the game scored for Smith, who was led by 15 points apiece from Drummond and Solis, while Quattrochi chipped in 13 points. Zakoske led the team with nine rebounds.  The Pioneers shot 50% from three point range, while Middlebury struggled from deep, connecting on just 2-11 long-range attempts. Sophomore Katie Ritter (Middlebury, Vt.) led the Panthers with nine points.

Middlebury scored 51 second half points on its way to an 81-73 road win at Plattsburgh on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Hall. The Panthers used a 9-19 (47.4 percent) performance from beyond the arc to earn the victory while the Cardinals made good on 20 of their 25 attempts at the free throw stripe.

Gunning for their first 2-0 start since the 2004-05 campaign, the Cardinals didn’t waste any time on the offensive end of the floor once the opening tip occurred. Plattsburgh State opened up the contest with an 8-0 run, forcing a pair of Middlebury turnovers and an 0-4 performance from the field by the visitors in the opening 4:20 of the conflict.  

Brittany Marshall gave the Cardinals their largest lead of the tilt with a three-pointer at the 15:11 mark of the first stanza to push it to an 11-2 game. Marshall and the rest of the Cardinals were able to hold Middlebury at arm’s length throughout the majority of the opening 20 minutes of play, maintaining a lead of at least four until the final minute shifted momentum in the favor of Middlebury.

Armed with a 30-22 advantage with 1:07 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals fell victim to the inside-outside game of the Panthers as Marcus canned a pair of triples while sophomore Nora Kelly (Dedham, Mass.) sliced through the Plattsburgh State defense to score a layup as time expired in the frame. Marshall swished a pair of free throws, but that’s all the scoring the Cardinals would do over that period of time as they headed into the locker room with a 32-30 advantage.

Maintaining their long-range assault on the Cardinals, Middlebury opened up the deciding frame on an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of triples from junior Laura Lowry (W. Hartford, Conn.) and a mid-range jumper from senior Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.).

Refusing to quiet down from the field, Middlebury saw its lead increase to as many as 10 points just five minutes into the frame before the Cardinals regained some semblance of offensive composure and began the task of chipping away at the lead.

Providing an instant spark off the bench, Devona Paul joined forces with Tequilla Lloyd as the pair embarked on an offensive excursion to get back in the game. Lloyd connected on a jumper in the paint followed by a layup, before Paul’s high-intensity brand of basketball was rewarded with a trip to the free throw stripe. The former Tappan Zee star swished both attempts to cut the Middlebury lead down to four, 51-47, but the Panthers were able to re-fortify their lead just moments later.

Down by seven at the 8:54 mark of the half Marshall went to work for the Cardinals, after Brooke Reifinger connected on one of her two free throw attempts. She went on a 7-0 run, consisting of a long ball, two free throws and a layup that gave the Cardinals their first lead since the halftime break at 59-58.

After some back-and-forth possessions, Marshall found Reifinger wide open in the corner and the junior buried her triple try to give the Cardinals a 66-63 lead with 4:31 remaining. Trading baskets yet again, Dana Nucaro made good on both of her free throws tried with 2:01 left, deadlocking the score at 68-all before the Panthers went on a devastating 10-0 run to complete their comeback victory. Seven of the 10 points during the decisive spurt were netted at the charity stripe.

Marcus scored 21 for the Panthers while Borsinger put up 20 points of her own while passing out a game-high seven assists. The Cardinals boasted a 39-33 advantage in the rebounding department but were just 3-of-12 from downtown.

• Women’s basketball record: 2-2

• Up next: 11/27 @ Castleton – 7:00, 12/1 @ Emmanuel – 3:00