Middlebury ended their most successful season since 2002 with a hard-fought 59-49 loss to Williams in the NESCAC semi-final at Amherst on Saturday, Feb. 23.
“I though we played really well against [Williams], but player for player we were just out-manned,” said Coach Noreen Pecsok. “They were just bigger, stronger and faster.”
The Panthers opened up to an early six-point lead as Laura Lowry ’14 put the Panthers up 10-4 with a pair at 14:07. Despite a layup from Eph player Danny Reiner, Middlebury went on a 6-0 run to build a 16-6 advantage with 12:00 left in the half.
A pair of free-throws added to a Panther lead 18-8, but Williams built up considerable momentum, going on a 20-5 run and giving up just two Middlebury field-goals in the final 10:12 of the first half.
Kellie Macdonald gave the Ephs their first lead of the night with a jumper with 2:12 left in the half, after they had managed to claw back from a seven-point deficit. A three point shot from Jennie Harding gave Williams a 28-23 advantage at the half.
Harding opened up the scoring for the Ephs in the second half with another three, and Macdonald followed suit to give Williams an 11-point lead. Determined not to be left behind, Middlebury reeled off an 8-3 spurt, pulling back within six after a layup from Sarah Marcus ’14 at 12:23.
However, Williams scored 13 points over a span of 4:33, led by Macdonald and Grace Rehnquist, to pull away yet again at 41-33. Despite last-gasp efforts from Middlebury, Williams did just enough to hold onto a 10-point victory.
Shooting 30.6 percent from the floor and 7.1 percent from the three-point range, Scarlett Kirk ’14 led Middlebury with a game-high 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Marcus had nine points in a collective playing time of 11 minutes.
Looking back on the season, the Panthers achieved many of the goals they set out at the beginning.
“As senior captains we can definitely say that we achieved our initial goal of being able to look back and be really proud of the team that stepped off the court after each and every game,” said co-captain Tracy Borsinger ’13.
As for the future, Pecsok is excited with where the team can go next year.
“I think the future is bright; we took the same kids who struggled last year and with hard work they really shone this year, which shows we can achieve good things with this team,” said Pecsok. “We’re really motivated to get back to the NESCAC final four!”