January 28, 2013

The Middlebury College women’s basketball team used long-range shooting to propel past visiting Keene State 60-54 in Pepin Gym. The Panthers connected on a school-record 12 treys out of 29 attempts (.414 shooting), while the Owls were cold from long-distance, hitting 1-15 from behind the arc. The game was closely contested as the Panthers needed timely free throw shooting in the final seconds to seal the non-conference win. The previous record of 11 threes was set in 1998 against Union College.

The Owls (7-11) opened up an early 6-0 lead before senior Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) tied it with back-to-back threes at 15:04 in the first half. Middlebury (10-8) continued to score, taking an 11-6 lead at 13:55 on a three from senior  Kate Logan (Washington Crossing, Pa.). The visitors took a brief 18-17 lead after a pair of free throws by Siobhan Carnell at 5:59, as Borsinger and junior Laura Lowry (W. Hartford, Conn.) answered again from downtown, sandwiching threes around a Carnell jumper, for a 23-20 Panther advantage with 4:02 left in the half. The Middlebury lead bumped to 27-20 on a junior Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.) bucket before Carnell answered for Keene State. In the final minute of the first, Kirk hit 1-2 from the line for a 28-22 lead at the break.

Trailing 31-26 early in the second, the Owls hit their lone three when Christan Wojtas connected at 16:32 and Kelsey Cognetta followed, dropping in a lay-up to tie the game at 31-31. Another Borsinger three gave the Panthers a 34-31 cushion at the 16 minute mark as the Panthers pulled to a 51-42 advantage over the next 10 minutes of action. At that point, Carnell took over the game, going on a personal 7-0 run for Keene State, finally cutting the deficit to 51-49 after a pair of charity tosses with 2:42 left to play.

The sharp-shooting Panthers, who set the school-record on Logan’s three at 6:49, did not attempt a three pointer over the final 1:44, as they were sent to the line by the Owls as the hosts hit 7-13 free throws down the stretch. During the closing 1:44, Keene State could not close the gap as they were only 1-5 from the floor, dropping the contest 60-54.

Borsinger’s 18 points, including five threes, paced Middlebury, as Kirk netted 16 and Lowry collected a dozen points, while senior Jesse Miller (Wellesley, Mass.) nabbed 10 rebounds.

Middlebury dropped a 62-36 NESCAC road game at 22nd-ranked Williams on Saturday afternoon.

With a little less than seven minutes to go in the first half at Chandler Gym, Mary Kate O’Brien pulled down the rebound off a wayward jumper from junior Kristina Conroy (Easthampton, Mass.) and began heading up court. As the guard approached the three-point line, she suddenly slipped a bounce pass to her right to Claire Baecher, who launched up a shot from behind the arc and found nothing but net for a 29-11 Ephs lead.

A pair of spin moves under the basket from Baecher and Danny Rainer, respectively, netted the Ephs their first four points. A mid-range Ellen Cook jumper off a kick-out from Kellie Macdonald, who had retrieved her own rebound, made it six, and a three from the top of the key by Baecher pushed the Eph lead to nine with just 3:36 elapsed in the game.

After Rainer sank a pair of free throws to push the lead back out to nine, Noreen Pecsok called a 30-second timeout in an effort to settle her team down. Initially, the move paid dividends as the teams traded baskets for the next few minutes, leaving the score at 17-9 in favor of Williams with 11:59 remaining in the half from there.

From that point on it was all Williams, as the Ephs launched into a 16-2 run that left them firmly in control well before the first half drew to a close. Grace Rehnquist was the early offensive star, with eight quick points off the bench via a pair of threes and a coast-to-coast layup following a steal to give the Ephs a 22-9 advantage.

While those would be Rehnquist’s final points of the night, Baecher more than picked up the slack and scored nine of the Ephs next 11 points that gave the Ephs a 33-11 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the period.

Of the 33 points, 14 belonged to Baecher, who finished with 20 points and six rebounds in just 22 minutes of playing time.

To their credit, the Panthers refused to back down an inch at any point throughout the game and managed to bring the deficit down to 19 when Borsinger, who led the Panthers with 13 points on the day, bridged the two halves with a nice running lay-in and a pair of free throws.

But the Ephs matched their intensity level and quickly sealed the outcome with a 7-0 run punctuated by a great transition connection between Cook and Rainer, who finished with 11 points, which made it 43-17 with 16:50 to go in the contest.

• Women’s basketball record: 10-9

• Up next: 2/1 @ Bowdoin – 8:00, 2/2 @ Colby – 4:00