After starting off the new year strong earning their first win in NESCAC play in over a year against Bates Jan. 4, Middlebury continued with a 60-44 win over Suffolk on Jan. 8. Despite falling to Connecticut College 66-57 on Friday, Jan. 11, Middlebury quickly put the loss behind them to finish the week with a 62-45 victory over Wesleyan on Saturday, Jan. 14.
“We were very pleased to win [our first NESCAC game] this year,” co-captain Jesse Miller ’13 said. “As with any win, we are happy but not satisfied. Each game that we play is important to the success of our season and in becoming the team that we strive to be.”
Middlebury started the game against Suffolk from behind, trailing 17-15 with 6:37 left in the first half. However, spurred on by a two and a three-point play from Katie Pett ’14, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to hold a 22-17 lead, before going into the break with a 26-22 advantage.
The Panthers started off the second half where they had finished, outscoring the Rams 20-5 in the first 10:31 minutes of play, led by a pair of threes from Tracy Borsinger ’13. Middlebury led by as many as 20 points before coming away with the 60-44 win.
Borsinger led the team with 18 points, while Pett recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Middlebury was unable to carry the momentum from the win against Suffolk, losing 66-57 against Connecticut College.
Both teams started off slowly, unable to score until Middlebury opened a 6-0 lead at the 14:58, after a three-point shot finally fell for Borsinger. Conn. College answered with a 16-3 run, led by Caitlin Cimino, who had a strong first half for the Camels.
Borsinger dragged the Panthers back into the game with back-to-back threes, cutting the lead to 16-15 with 6:50. Both teams continued to exchange buckets before the Camels took a 27-26 lead into the break thanks to a buzzer-beating lay-up from Kaitlyn Cresencia.
Middlebury kept Conn. College within grasp in the opening minutes of the second half thanks to shots from Borsinger. However, the Camels began to pull away with a 12-5 run amounting to a 50-43 lead with 8:13 left on the clock.
Two lay-ups from Sarah Marcus ’14, gave Middlebury a boost and kept the Panthers within five. Yet Conn. College continued to penetrate the lane, an area where Middlebury typically struggled on defence, for a 10-3 run and an overall lead of 62-50 with 1:13 remaining. Despite a three from Marcus, Middlebury was only able to cut the lead to nine.
Borsinger led the Panthers with a game high of 21 points, 8-18 from the floor, while Scarlett Kirk ’14 had a team best of nine rebounds and game high of five assists.
In a quick turnaround, Middlebury was able to bounce back against Wesleyan with a comfortable 62-45 win.
Learning from their mistakes against Conn. College, Middlebury established their dominance from the beginning of the game quickly building a 13-5 lead, including four points from both Kirk and Borsinger.
Wesleyan was able to slowly close the gap, eventually taking a 19-18 lead after a pair of free throws by Karly Finison at 6:43. Middlebury answered with a 10-0 run finished by a three-pointer from Borsinger to go into the break with a 28-22 lead.
The Cardinals took the lead in the second half with a 9-2 spree. The teams continued to trade buckets before a free throw from Kate Logan ’13 gave the Panthers the lead for good at 10:17. Middlebury built a 51-40 advantage with 5:09 left in the game with five points from Marcus, before converting well from the line as Wesleyan resorted to fouling in the final minutes.
“We share two very specific goals for the team, which is to play good defense and share the ball on offense, and I thought we did that very well against Wesleyan,” Coach Noreen Pecsok said.
Kirk led the game with 16 points while Marcus contributed 13 off the bench. Pett recorded a career-best of 23 rebounds.
“I just knew we had to limit Wesleyan to one shot on the defensive end and offensive rebounds are huge for our momentum, so I just did my best to make sure those things happened,” Pett said of her new record. “As we head into the rest of our NESCAC games, we’re not looking for moral victories. We want the notches in the win column too.”
Despite beating Colby-Sawyer in their season opening tournament, Middlebury was not able to repeat the performance, falling to a 71-62 non-league road defeat on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
The Chargers started the game with a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game, holding the visitors scoreless until the 16:11 when Borsinger connected on a trey. Colby-Sawyer led by as many as nine when Taylor DeSanty sunk a three-pointer at the 13:26 mark to make it 12-3.
While Middlebury was able to cut the deficit to four points at various occasions during the first half, Colby-Sawyer went into the break with a 26-21 lead. The Panthers were only able to shoot 22.6 percent from the floor, but were able to keep the Chargers within reach after forcing 13 turnovers.
Middlebury was never able to take control of the game, always lagging at least three points behind Colby-Sawyer. While the Chargers shot 62.1% in the second half, Middlebury stayed in contention thanks to 7-12 on three-point shooting. The Chargers finally pulled away with a 7-1 run with 1:23 left.
Borsinger led all scorers with 21 points, adding a team-high of nine rebounds, while Kirk claimed 12 points with Lowry in third with 10 points. The Panthers finished the game with a 32.8 percent shooting accuracy thanks to a total of 20 points off of turnovers.
Middlebury returns to action against Hamilton on Friday, Jan. 18.
“Anytime a NESCAC opponent comes to play on our home court, we feel like we have a real chance of winning,” Pecsok said.