January 24, 2011

            The Middlebury College women’s basketball team watched a comfortable 17-point first half lead disappear against visiting Connecticut College, eventually beating back the Camels 80-73 at Pepin Gym on Saturday. The win evens the Panthers’ NESCAC record at 2-2, improving to 11-3 overall, while Conn. College drops to 7-10 and 0-4 in conference play.

            In the first half Middlebury jumped out to a 15-4 lead, as sophomore Tracy Borsinger (Chatham, N.J.) and junior Stephany Surrette (Worcester, Mass.) each chipped in four points in the early going. The lead ballooned to 36-19 with balanced inside scoring and junior Brittany Perfetti’s (Clifton Heights, Pa.) 3/3 marksmanship from behind the arc. Trailing by 17 with 4:55 left in the half, the Camels went on a 15-0 run to close the gap to 36-34 at the break. The Camels forced five turnovers, while hitting 5/7 from the field, as Tara Gabelman led Conn. College with six points during the run.

            The Camels took their first lead at 40-38 with 17:26 left in the second half on a jumper by Caitlin Cimino. Middlebury eventually built a 51-46 lead capped by a pair of free throws by senior Lauren Sanchez (Seattle, Wash.) with 13:12 left to play. Conn. College battled back, tying the game at 53 apiece on a Gabelman lay-up with just under nine minutes to play.

            The Panthers again responded with a quick 9-2 burst for a 62-55 lead that started with a three from junior Maddie Moreau (Canton, N.Y.) and capped with a traditional three-point play from Borsinger. Conn. College wound not go away as Gabelman scored her then game-high 18th point during an 11-4 counterpunch, as Kim Horne tied the game at 66 with 4:13 left. Even after Gabelman fouled out at the 3:50 mark, Horne hit 1/2 free throws for a 67-66 Camel lead with 3:28 remaining.

            After retaking the lead on a basket by Middlebury rookie Scarlett Kirk (San Francisco, Calif.), the Panthers gained the advantage as Perfetti grabbed the errant in-bounds pass from the Camels, setting up a basket and free throw by Borsinger for a 71-67 lead with 2:35 left in the game. As Conn. College began to foul down the stretch, Middlebury hit 5/6 from the line to secure victory 80-73. 

            Sanchez had a game-high 19 points, hitting 10/10 from the line, while collecting a game-high nine rebounds for Middlebury. Borsinger tied a career-best with 16, as Perfetti finished with 14 and Surrette added 11 points for Middlebury. 

Middlebury broke open a tie game early in the second half with a 21-9 run, pulling away from Wesleyan 70-58 in a NESCAC contest at Pepin Gym on Friday night.

            In the first half the teams exchanged leads seven times with neither holding more than a four point advantage. The Panthers held an early 6-2 lead after a lay-in by Surrette at 17:55. Over the next 11 minutes the teams were evenly matched, before Wesleyan went on a 5-0 spurt starting with a three from Erin Gold at 6:10 followed up on a bucket by Jenna Klaes for a 23-19 lead with 5:40 left. Middlebury tied the game at 27 apiece on a lay-up from Borsinger at 3:43, but the Cardinals ended the half scoring the final four points for a 31-27 lead at the break.

            In the second half, a pair of Borsinger free throws gave the Panthers a 35-33 lead at 16:10, starting the decisive 21-9 run. Kirk and Borsinger each chipped in five points during the span, for a 54-42 lead with 8:17 left in the game. During the final minutes of play the Middlebury lead hovered at double digits, as Wesleyan got as close as 62-54 with two minutes remaining on a Gold basket. Borsinger followed with a traditional three-point play to bump the Panther lead back to double digits as Middlebury cruised to the 70-58 finish.

            Borsinger’s career-best 16 points paced Middlebury, as Moreau added 11 and Sanchez netted 11 and collected nine rebounds and five assists, both game-highs.
• Women’s basketball record: 11-3
• Up next: 1/25 @ Colby-Sawyer, 1/27 vs. Keene – 5:00, 1/29 @ Williams