Women's Basketball Drops Opener

November 16, 2013

In Middlebury’s season-opener, Katie Pett matched career-highs with 16 points and 23 rebounds, but the Panthers fell short to Fitchburg State 63-58 at Colby-Sawyer College. After Laura Lowry hit a three with 46 seconds left to play, giving Middlebury a 58-57 lead, the Falcons closed out the game with six consecutive free throws to secure the win. Middlebury (0-1) returns to action on Sunday, playing the host school at 1:00 p.m.

Fitchburg (2-0) scored the first nine points of the game before the Panthers got on the board. The Falcons pushed their advantage to 12 on two occasions, but Middlebury fought back, connecting on 12 of 14 free throws in the opening  frame. Trailing 26-18 with less than four minutes in the half, the Panthers closed the gap on a 9-2 run capped by a pair of free throws by Rachel Crews, cutting the deficit to 28-27 at the break.

Middlebury’s Siobhan O’Sullivan scored the opening bucket of the second half to give the Panthers  their first lead of the game at 29-28. The teams went  back and forth with five lead changes over the next 12 minutes, as Pett scored eight of her 16 points during that span. Fitchburg’s Rebecca Fluet hit a jumper to put the Falcons in front 45-43 at 7:49, starting a 6-0 run. Fitchburg’s lead grew to eight on a pair of Fluet free throws, but a 13-4 Panther run, highlighted by seven points from Lowry, including her three with 46 seconds left, gave the Panthers a 58-57 advantage.

Fitchburg retook the lead on a pair of Fluet free throws with 33 seconds left, but a turnover by Middlebury forced the Panthers to foul, sending the Falcons to the charity stripe. Fitchburg went 4-4 from the line in the final seconds, sealing the 63-58 win.

Fluet led the Falcons with 15 points and a game-high seven assists. Laura Cote chipped in 14 points and four steals, while Amy Fahey was the third Fitchburg player in double figures with 12, as she added a game-best five blocks.

Katie Pett paced Middlebury, matching career-highs in points (16) and rebounds (23). Lowry finished with 11 points, Sarah Marcus added 10, while O’Sullivan chipped in six with a team-best five assists.