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Middlebury Stages Fourth Quarter Rally to Escape Past Women’s Basketball in NESCAC Opener

Kylie Caouette

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Connecticut College women's basketball team dropped its NESCAC opener to Middlebury by a 49-44 score on Friday evening at the Charles B. Luce Field House.

After Middlebury (11-0, NESCAC 1-0) carried a 22-19 lead into the break, the second half featured a tale of two quarters with each team having a big upper hand over a 10-minute stretch. The Camels outscored the Panthers by a 19-4 score during the third to move ahead by a 38-26 score, but the visitors outscored Connecticut College, 23-6, and held the hosts to just 13.3 percent shooting from the floor during the fourth to escape with the win to remain undefeated.

Connecticut College started its monster third quarter by netting seven unanswered. Junior Dana Muckstadt (Dover, Mass.) first found senior Margaret Corcoran (Milton, Mass.) for a layup on the team's first possession before giving the Camels their first lead at 23-22 by finishing a pass from captain Caroline Pangallo (Fairfield, Conn.) the next time down the floor. Junior Sami Ashton (Clinton, Conn.) and senior Kylie Caouette (Ashburnham, Mass.) each connected from long range down the stretch to give the Camels a commanding 12-point cushion with 10 minutes left to play.

Despite surrendering the lead and being held to just 12.5 percent shooting in the third quarter, Middlebury completely turned things around in the fourth by sinking 3-point field goals and getting to the free throw line. Colleen Caveney slashed the margin down to one at 41-40 by converting a 3-point play the old-fashioned way with 4:42 remaining, and Maya Davis tied the score at 44s by putting back her own miss at the 1:40 mark. After the hosts missed a layup on the other end, Davis came through again and put the Panthers up by a 46-44 score with just over a minute left.

Connecticut College had its chances to tie the score twice in the final minute, but Caveney came up with a key block and the Panther defense forced the hosts to take a 3-pointer that did not come close to going in. Ivy Houde grabbed a rebound and made a free throw at the other end to put the game on ice.

The Panthers got off to a fast start, as Kira Waldman drilled a trey on the first possession of the game and Caveney followed with a layup to make it 5-0. Alex Huffman also canned a 3-pointer to help give the visitors a 12-8 advantage through 10 minutes of action, and the Panthers would hold off a feisty Camels squad for the rest of the half. Even though Pangallo tied the score at 14s at the midway point, Davis and Huffman each completed old-fashioned 3-point plays to keep the Panthers ahead heading into recess before staging a fourth-quarter rally which would prove to be the difference.

Huffman registered a double-double by finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for Middlebury, which made up for committing 23 turnovers by holding a lopsided 52-37 advantage on the glass. She also added four steals. Davis fell just shy of the same feat by finishing with 13 points and nine boards, while Emily Wander contributed nine points off the bench.

Connecticut College (9-4, NESCAC 0-1) was paced by Ashton and Caouette in the tough setback. Both players netted 12 points, and Ashton also pulled down eight rebounds and was one of three Camels to record two steals.

The Camels will regroup and next host Williams tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m.