Women's Basketball Falls In NESCAC Semifinals

February 23, 2013

The Middlebury women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end with a 59-49 loss to Williams in a NESCAC semifinal contest at Amherst. The Panthers end their season with a record of 14-12, after a quarterfinal win over Bates. Fifteenth-ranked Williams improved to 22-4 and will battle Amherst for the NESCAC title on Sunday.

Down 18-8 at the 10:12 mark of the opening period, Williams closed out the first half on a 20-5 run, setting up a match-up with archrival Amherst, which defeated eighth-seeded Bowdoin, 60-45, in the league’s other semifinal.

Williams’ Claire Baecher netted a team-high 15 points, while adding seven rebounds, seven blocks and three steals. Danny Reiner poured in 14 points with six rebounds and three blocks, while Kellie Macdonald hit five of her nine field-goal attempts to finish with 13 points.

Scarlett Kirk paced Middlebury with a game-high 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Sarah Marcus had nine points despite playing just 11 minutes. Tracy Borsinger and Laura Lowry managed six points apiece, while combining for 11 boards.

Opening up an early six-point lead, Lowry put the upset-minded Panthers up 10-4 with a pair of free throws at 14:07. Rainer momentarily stemmed the tide with a layup on the Ephs’ ensuing possession, but Middlebury rattled off six unanswered, building a 16-6 cushion with 12:00 to go in the half.

Still down 10 at 18-8 following a pair of Marcus free throws, Williams rattled off a big 20-5 run, surrendering just two Panther field-goals in the final 10:12 of the first. Grace Rehnquist got the rally started with a triple inside of the 10 minute mark before Rainer connected on a jumper to trim the Eph deficit to five.

After a Lowry bucket pushed the Middlebury lead back up to seven, Baecher drained a three before a Rainer bucket coupled with a pair of Macdonald free throws suddenly pulled Williams even. Macdonald gave the Ephs their first lead of the night on a jumper at 2:12, before Jennie Harding dialed one up from distance to put Williams up five.

Ahead 28-23 at the intermission, Harding opened up the second half scoring with another trey before Macdonald buried a three of her own to push the cushion to 11. Hoping to keep pace, the Panthers reeled off an 8-3 spurt, pulling back within six on a Marcus layup at 12:23, but a 13-4 Williams run over a span of 4:33 helped the Ephs pull away.

Rehnquist and Macdonald got it started with a string of four-straight points before Middlebury’s Katie Pett connected down low to make it 41-33. Rainer came right back with a jumper before Rehnquist converted a three-point play the old fashioned way to up the difference to 13. Baecher capped off the run with a pair of free throws at 7:50, making it 48-33.

Middlebury would as get as close as 11 inside of the two-minute mark but Williams did just enough down the stretch, holding onto a 10-point victory. Shooting 39.6 percent (21-53) from the floor, the Ephs held the Panthers to just 30.6 percent (19-62) from the field and 7.1 percent (1-14) from three-point range.