February 14, 2011

The Middlebury women’s basketball team wrapped up regular season NESCAC play with a 66-47 win over Trinity (13-10, 3-6 NESCAC) in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (14-8, 3-6) have earned the seventh seed for the NESCAC Tournament and will visit second-seeded Colby on Saturday, February 19th in a quarterfinal match-up.

Earlier in the week, Middlebury stopped a four-game losing streak, beating visiting Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) 74-64 in a rare Monday night match-up in Pepin Gym.

            With only seven players dressed for the visitors, ACPHS matched Middlebury in the early going, exchanging leads six times before Middlebury went on a 12-2 run, highlighted by five points from senior Lauren Sanchez (Seattle, Wash.), for a 22-14 lead at 12:17. ACPHS responded with an 8-2 spurt over the next five minutes, cutting the Middlebury lead to 24-22, as Alyson Johnson and Kelly VanValkenburgh added three points apiece. Middlebury sophomore Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) put on a show over the final 6:30 of the half, leading a 16-6 run, as she scored 11 points on 5/6 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and nabbed a steal during the run.

            Leading 40-28 at intermission, Middlebury built a 52-32 lead to open the second half as junior Stephany Surrette (Worcester, Mass.) added six points from the low block during a 12-4 run. ACPHS cut the lead to 60-49 at the 10:46 mark as Middlebury went cold from the floor, hitting 2/12 during the ACPHS comeback bid. Middlebury maintained its double-digit lead down the stretch as neither team shot particularly well over the next 8:25 minutes of play, as the Middlebury Panthers hit 2/14 from the floor and ACPHS was 1/7 before a pair of buckets with just over two minutes left cut the Middlebury lead to 69-59. Down the stretch, a pair of free throws from Sanchez and a three from Borsinger kept the visiting ACPHS Panthers at bay for the 74-64 victory.

Borsinger led all scorers with a career-best 19 points for Middlebury on 7/14 shooting, including 3/4 from behind the arc. Surrette added 13 on 5/7 shooting, grabbing a team-high nine rebounds for Middlebury, as junior Brittany Perfetti (Clifton Heights, Pa.) and Sanchez added nine points each.

Trailing 25-16 at the break, Middlebury fell to second-ranked Amherst 63-43 at Pepin Gym on Friday night. Playing a deliberate half court tempo, the Panthers held their own well into the second half against the nation’s number four scoring team (80 ppg).

Middlebury held an 8-6 lead at 14:08 in the first half before the Jeffs went on a 13-1 run, opening up a 19-9 cushion with 5:14 left. A three by Borsinger cut the lead to 19-12 at 4:04, before Amherst answered with buckets by Jaclyn Daigneault and Sarah Leyman. Borsinger rang up another three  followed up by a free throw by Perfetti, cutting the Jeffs’ lead to 23-16 with 1:03 left in the half. A Daigneault lay-up off a Panther turnover capped the first half scoring at 25-16. In the first half, Amherst scored 12 points on 14 Middlebury turnovers.

In the second half, a lay-up by Surrette off a strong low post move cut the Amherst advantage to 31-23 at 15:22. The Panthers could have knifed the lead more, but they were cold at the free throw line over the next few possessions, as the Amherst lead grew to 37-25 at the 12:56 mark. Middlebury twice cut the lead to ten points over the next two minutes, but could not break the double-digit barrier as Amherst slowly pulled away in the final ten minutes for the 63-43 conference win.

For the game, the Jeffs scored 23 points off 22 Middlebury turnovers, while collecting 16 second-chance points to the Panthers’ four. Neither team shot particularly well on the night as Middlebury hit 14/43 shots (.326), while Amherst was 24/61 (.393).

Borsinger paced Middlebury with 18 points on 7/13 shooting, including 2/2 from behind the arc. Surrette added seven points and a team-best nine rebounds, while Perfetti also chipped in seven points.

Against Trinity, the Bantams opened the game with a three from Kaitlin Ciarleglio, but Middlebury responded with a 12-2 run, capped by five points from Perfetti, including a three at 16:10 for a 12-5 Panther advantage. With Trinity trailing 17-8 nearly midway through the first half, the Bantams rallied with a 7-0 spurt, cutting the deficit to 17-15 with 8:52 remaining. Middlebury maintained a slight edge over the next few minutes before Trinity’s Kristen Fahey hit a three on her only attempt in the half at 1:45, cutting the Panther lead to 22-21. Middlebury closed out the half on a 4-0 burst, capped by a pair of free throws by Sanchez with less than a second left in the half, for a 26-21 lead at the break.

            In the first half, Perfetti led Middlebury with eight points on 3/4 shooting, while Sanchez scored all five of her first half points from the charity stripe. The Bantams hit only 2/12 from behind the arc, while connecting on 6/29 from the field (.207) in the opening half.

            After Perfetti opened the second half with a three, Trinity scored consecutive buckets before the Panthers pulled away with a 19-6 run. Junior Maddie Moreau (Canton, N.Y.) scored eight points, including a pair of threes, highlighted by her second long distance connection at 10:23, capping the run with a 48-31 lead. Middlebury was not threatened down the stretch as the lead grew to 66-43 in the final minutes before Trinity ended the scoring with a pair of field goals, setting the final score at 66-47.

As the Panthers found their shooting touch in the second half, hitting 11/19 shots (.573) including a perfect 4/4 from behind the arc, the Bantams went 10/33 (.303) from the floor, including 0/11 from downtown. For the game, Trinity hit 2/23 shots from the three-point line.

            Sanchez led Middlebury with 16 points on just 1/3 shooting, as the Panthers all-time leading free throw shooter hit 13/16 attempts, while collecting a game-high eight rebounds. Three other Panthers scored in double-digits, including Moreau’s 15, Perfetti’s 13 and Surrette, who chipped in 10 points while hauling in seven boards.
• Women’s basketball record: 14-8
• Up next: 2/15 vs. Hamilton – 6:00, 2/19 @ Colby – 3:00 (NESCAC Quarterfinals)