The Panther women’s basketball team improved to a 6-0 record after beating the Sage Colleges on Thursday, Nov. 29 and Colby-Sawyer on Saturday, Dec. 1. Their winning streak is a testament to the squad’s versatility on both sides of the court.
The team is ranked sixth nationally for team defense, which, alongside offensive tenacity, is a dangerous combination — one that has led them to their 6-0 start.
“We’ve done a really good job at playing our game and staying consistent and composed. Our defense has also been extremely effective,” said junior forward Vanessa Young. “We’ve been holding teams to fewer points than they normally score.”
Against Sage, the Panthers pulled away 63-44, scoring 28 points off of turnovers and amassing an impressive field-goal percentage of 42.9. The third quarter characterized a 19-point scoring run, compared to the competition’s five points. The Panthers kept Sage at a 15-point deficit for the final quarter, securing their victory.
Middlebury’s defense proved its dominance on Saturday, Dec. 1 against Colby-Sawyer. Not only did the Panthers hold their competition’s field-goal percentage to 16.4 (9-55), but they also held out 56-31 for rebounds.
Junior Maya Davis had a notable presence in both games, combining for 26 points and 18 rebounds. Colleen Caveney ’19 dropped 19 points against Sage, while Catherine Harrison ’19 led the team with 17 points on Saturday versus Colby-Sawyer.
“We are really excited to have had such a strong start. We’re looking forward to finishing a strong preseason and getting into NESCAC play in January,” Young said.
Last year, in NESCAC standing Middlebury finished fourth, behind No. 1 Amherst, No. 2 Bowdoin and No. 3 Tufts. Amherst and Bowdoin met in the NCAA championship last year, while Tufts made it to the semifinals, where they lost to Bowdoin. Amherst, Bowdoin and Tufts will prove to be tough competition for the Panthers once again, as the NESCAC teams are successful at the national level.
The Panthers still have to face nonconference play before getting to the NESCAC stage. Looking forward, the team will hopefully go into January with experience that could help it against other NESCAC powerhouses.