Women’s Basketball Struggles in Maine


Middlebury Athletic Communications

After defeating Wesleyan and Conn. College in their first two conference games over break, the Panthers fell to Bates and Tufts last Friday and Saturday.


In two games away on the road, Middlebury suffered its first Nescac loss of the season Friday, Jan. 12, to Bates by a narrow margin of 60–57. The Panthers were unable to bounce back from the loss as they also fell to Tufts Jumbos 61–45 the next day, Saturday, Jan. 13. 

With just a one-point lead at the end of the first, Middlebury and Bates were exchanging well. Neither team secured a lead larger than three. The two teams went on to continue the back-and-forth with Middlebury holding a 28–26 lead after the first half. 

Within the first minute of the third quarter, Bates was able to gain a 31–28 lead with baskets coming from Melanie Binkhorst, and a three-pointer by Emily Fredland. The Panthers fought back, managing to lead twice, but were unable to maintain a comfortable lead trailing 44–40 heading into the fourth.

With the score at 49–44 three minutes into the final quarter, the Panthers rallied a 5–0 run with Sarah Kauffman ’18 scoring a layup. Bates responded with a run of their own, breaking the deadlock and eventually gaining a 57–51 lead with around a minute remaining. Forward Betsy Knox ’20 managed to convert a three-point play with 37 seconds on the clock to cut the Bobcats’ lead to three. Bates managed to get a quick three-pointer to extend their lead to 6 down the stretch, to which Kaufman responded with a three-pointer of her own.

Kauffman led the Panthers in scoring with 15 and forward Maya Davis ‘20 had a game-high eight rebounds. The Panthers seemed to have done everything right, having fewer turnovers, out rebounding the Bobcats 33–30, and the bench pouring in a 15-point performance compared to Bates’ six. 

In its second game, Middlebury were down eight to Tufts 14–6 after the first quarter. A 10–2 run halfway into the second quarter enabled the Panthers to be within two with 3:27 before the half. Knox led the way during the run with six points before Tufts grabbed a bucket to solidify a 25–21 lead entering the second half.

Roughly three minutes into the third quarter, Davis pulled off a three-point play to give the Panthers a 27–25 advantage. Just as the Panthers were going to close in on the lead, the Jumbos ran rampant with a 16–2 run for the next five minutes. With the score at 41–29, Middlebury scored eight of the next 13 to make the score 46-37. Sabrina Weeks ’18 scored four during the 8–5 exchange.

The Jumbos went on a 7–0 run midway into the final quarter to give themselves a comfortable lead of 56–39 with just over three minutes to play. After a few more exchanges, Tufts secured a solid victory over the Panthers, 61–45.

Knox led the Panthers in three statistical categories with 12 points, six rebounds, and two assists. 

Middlebury will take on Williams on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Massachusetts before returning home Monday Jan. 22, to host Smith College.