January 7, 2013

Senior Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) scored a career-best 29 points as Middlebury held off a furious second-half rally from Bates,  earning a 72-68 victory in the NESCAC opener for both teams. The Panthers dominated the first half, outscoring Bates 37-21 with 50% shooting 15-30 from the floor and 5-8 from beyond the arc.

Bates started out the second half with 11 unanswered points in the opening 2:25, cutting Middlebury's lead to 37-32. The Panthers regained a 12-point cushion with a 7-0 run, with Borsinger figuring into all seven points. She assisted on a three by junior Laura Lowry (W. Hartford, Conn.) then converted a lay-up on an assist by junior Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.) , and finally stole the ball from a Bates player at midcourt and coasted in for a bucket and a 55-43 lead with 11:43 left to play.

The Panthers still led by a 12-point margin with 4:01 to play, at 66-54, before Bates’ Allie Beaulieu knocked down consecutive threes to make it a six-point game at 66-60 with 1:49 remaining. The Bobcats maintained intense full-court pressure and got a steal and a layup by Julia Rafferty to make it 67-62 with 34 seconds left.

After junior Katie Pett (Saginaw, Mich.) made 1-2 at the free-throw line for Middlebury, Meredith Kelly drove for a lay-up and a three-point play, making it 68-65 with 18 seconds left. Borsinger made four straight free throws in the final 16 seconds, offsetting a three by Rafferty with five seconds to play. Leading 70-68, Borsinger sank the final two foul shots with 0.9 seconds left sealing the win.

In addition to Borsinger’s career-high 29 points, including five three pointers, sophomore Rachel Crews (S. Burlington, Vt.) added 14, Lowry scored 10 and Pett grabbed 13 rebounds to go with nine points for the Panthers, as Kirk had five assists and eight rebounds.

Ninth-ranked Tufts used stifling defense to top Middlebury, 54-41, in NESCAC women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gym.

The first half was a struggle for both offenses as Tufts led 20-18 at the break. The Jumbos shot 30% (7-30) while the Panthers were 29% (7-24) from the field.

Sophomore Hayley Kanner led Tufts with nine points on 4-8 shooting in the first 20. Middlebury's leading scorer after one stanza was Kirk with six points. Pett had nine first-half rebounds.

Tufts' defense continued strong in the second half as the Panthers finished at just 32% (15-47) from the field. The Jumbos stayed at 30% (18-60), but they forced 15 turnovers while only committing eight of their own.

Kirk and Lowry had 10 points each for Middlebury, while Lowry was 3-6 from three-point range. Kirk added 10 rebounds to complete a double-double, while Pett finished with 15 rebounds for the Panthers to go along with seven points.

The Jumbos held a 45-38 rebounding edge, including 17-10 on the offensive glass.

• Women’s basketball record: 6-5

• Up next: 1/8 @ Suffolk – 6:00, 1/11 vs. Conn. – 8:00, 1/12 vs. Wesleyan – 4:00