Women’s Basketball Dominates as Starters Double Up


Colleen Cavaney ’19 breaks through defenders, hitting 17 points against Williams on Saturday, Jan. 19.

The most recent NESCAC women’s basketball rankings place the Middlebury Panthers in third out of the 11 teams, behind Amherst and Bowdoin, after beating the Williams Ephs 76-62 last Saturday. The Panthers move to an overall 15-2 record, 4-1 in the NESCAC conference.

 Williams is ranked in a three-way tie for sixth in NESCAC standings with Conn. College and Wesleyan, just one loss behind Trinity.

 Last week, junior forward Vanessa Young emphasized the team’s desire to work on their defensive game to ensure success in the latter part of the regular season. Saturday’s contest was a testament to this improvement, alongside depth and teamwork in the Panthers’ offensive game.

 On Saturday, all five Middlebury starters put up impressive points (four out of five hitting double digits) to combine for the Panther win. Betsy Knox ’20 (nine points), Catherine Harrison ’19 (15 points), Alex Huffman ’19 (11 points), Colleen Cavaney ’19 (17 points) and Kira Waldman ’20 (14 points) accounted for 66 out of the Panthers’ 76 points.

 Middlebury controlled the paint and demonstrated its offensive strength against the Ephs this week, proving the Panthers are a force to be reckoned with within the conference. Williams scored only 26 points in the paint compared to the Panthers’ 40 points. Midd further proved its offensive dominance as the Panthers hit a 57.7 percent field goal percentage.

Though this past week exemplified the Panthers’ strength as a team, Knox knows there is more work to be done heading into the later part of the season.

“As a team, we want to continue to eliminate our mistakes. We want to be a great team, and to do that we need to put together 40 minutes of great basketball. We are already really close off the court, but we are working hard to improve our on-court chemistry as well,” Knox said.

Moving forward, there are only two non-conference teams left to play before the Panthers close out the regular season against NESCAC competitors Trinity, Bowdoin, Colby, Hamilton and Amherst. With these games, the Panthers will be able to keep refining their defense and offense, and improve their standing at both the conference and national level.

Knox acknowledges that the upcoming games are important but the team is ready for the competition ahead.

“All of our games coming up are big games. As a fairly veteran team, we have learned that every team in the NESCAC is good and has the capacity to beat any other team on any given day,” Knox said. “To win we have to play well — nothing will be handed to us at this point. We have two non-conference matchups this week, which are also big for us. We need to play well so we can make NCAAs.”