Women’s Basketball Snags Playoff Victory

By LAUREN BOYD

MICHAEL BORENSTEIN/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS
Alex Huffman ’19 looks for a pass.

This week, the Panther women’s basketball team elevated itself into the NESCAC finals, beating the fourth-ranked Trinity Bantams, 75-71. While the Panthers fell to Trinity during the regular season, they stepped up their game to compete at their best when it mattered most.

Junior Maya Davis controlled the offensive game, posting an impressive 22 points in the bout. She also had eight rebounds on the game. This high-intensity performance also handed Davis the NESCAC women’s basketball player of the week. The notable accolade holds importance during the NESCAC playoffs, showing her vital offensive game in the Panther victory.

According to Davis, the regular -season loss helped them roll over Trinity and into the semifinals.

“We made some defensive changes to try and stop their key players as well as adjust[ing] our offensive game to focus on the places that were open in the last game,” Davis said. “The great thing about playing them twice is that we were able to make changes to our strategy and get some redemption.”

Middlebury and Trinity were neck and neck in team stats, breaking even in points scored in the paint and almost identical in rebounds, assists, turnovers, and field goals. Just as the team stats ended up relatively level, the game proved to be a close stretch the whole way through.

The fourth quarter came with a one-point Panther lead, which in a matter of minutes increased to a 59-52 game. The Bantams, however, refused to give in. As seen throughout the rest of the contest, Trinity battled back to a one-point game with less than five minutes to play.

A string of Middlebury players closed out the game for the Panthers, moving the team into the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament.

 Next week, the Panthers will have to face off against an undefeated (24-0) Bowdoin team, ranked first in the conference and in the NCAA (according to D3Hoops.com). Tufts and Amherst will battle against one another for the other spot in the NESCAC final.

In order to beat Bowdoin, Middlebury will have to put forth its best game.

“We are focusing on what we can control, which is our effort and energy. We are also showing up every day to practice eager and excited for this opportunity,” said Davis.

The Panther squad has a lot to gain from the win against Trinity, and can apply what it has accomplished to compete against one of the best DIII women’s basketball programs.

“It felt so great to get the win on Saturday,” Davis concluded. “It was a full team effort and everybody contributed in different ways, but we did it together and I think that is one reason why it felt so good. We are excited and focused this week while preparing for our game this weekend.”

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