Middlebury college watched a comfortable 17-point first half lead disappear against visiting Connecticut College, eventually beating back the Camels 80-73 at Pepin Gym on Saturday. The win evens the Panthers' NESCAC record at 2-2, improving to 11-3 overall, while Conn. College drops to 7-10 and 0-4 in conference play.
In the first half Middlebury jumped out to a 15-4 lead, as Tracy Borsinger and Stephany Surrette each chipped in four points in the early going. The lead ballooned to 36-19 with balanced inside scoring and Brittany Perfetti's 3/3 marksmanship from behind the arc. Trailing by 17 with 4:55 left in the half, the Camels went on a 15-0 run to close the gap to 36-34 at the break. The Camels forced five turnovers, while hitting 5/7 from the field, as Tara Gabelman led Conn. College with six points during the run.
The Camels took their first lead at 40-38 with 17:26 left in the second half on a jumper by Caitlin Cimino. Middlebury eventually built a 51-46 lead capped by a pair of free throws by Lauren Sanchez with 13:12 left to play. Conn. College battled back, tying the game at 53 apiece on a Gabelman lay-up with just under nine minutes to play.
The Panthers again responded with a quick 9-2 burst for a 62-55 lead that started with a three from Maddie Moreau and capped with a traditional three-point play from Borsinger. Conn. College would not go away as Gabelman scored her then game-high 18th point during an 11-4 counterpunch, as Kim Horne tied the game at 66 with 4:13 left. Even after Gabelman fouled out at the 3:50 mark, Horne hit 1/2 free throws for a 67-66 Camel lead with 3:28 remaining.
After retaking the lead on a basket by Middlebury's Scarlett Kirk, the Panthers gained the advantage as Perfetti grabbed the errant in-bounds pass from the Camels, setting up a basket and free throw Borsinger for a 71-67 lead with 2:35 left in the game. As Conn. College began to foul down the stretch, Middlebury hit 5/6 from the line to secure victory 80-73.
Sanchez had a game-high 19 points, hitting 10/10 from the line, while collecting a game-high nine rebounds for Middlebury. Borsinger tied a career-best with 16, as Perfetti finished with 14 and Surrette added 11 points for Middlebury. Four players hit double-figure scoring for Conn. College, as Gabelman led with 18 points, while Jennifer Shinall, Jeanna Dunleavy and Horne netted 11 apiece.