MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – The Middlebury women's basketball team extended its winning streak to eight-straight games, as the Panthers broke a 41-41 tie in the fourth quarter en route to a 56-50 victory Thursdayover Sage. Middlebury (8-0) is right back in action Friday for an 8:00 p.m. start at Skidmore, while the Gators (4-3) travel to Union on Saturday.
In the opening 10 minutes, the hosts grabbed a 10-6 lead on a jumper by Betsy Knox, but Sage later claimed the lead in the final minute. Genevieve Schoff converted a conventional three-point play and Gessica Patregnani added a bucket in the closing seconds for a 15-12 advantage.
In the second stanza, Sage extended its lead to 19-16 on a free throw by Kaitlyn Bowman with 4:05 on the clock. Knox buried a jumper for the Panthers to make it a one-point contest, but Schoff scored from in the paint to push the difference back to three points (21-18). The hosts finished strong with a three-pointer from Colleen Caveney with 55 seconds left before the half and Kira Waldman added a basket from in the lane on the next possession. Middlebury held a 23-21 edge at the break.
The teams remained close in the third quarter with the Panthers taking the biggest lead of the frame at 30-26 on a layup by Maya Davis. Sage tied the game twice during the final six minutes with neither team leading by more than a point during that span, as the hosts led 38-37 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Following a free thrown by Davis 39 seconds into the fourth quarter, the Gators knotted the score at 39-39 on a basket from Bowman. The teams exchanged field goals on their next possessions for the game's ninth tie, but Waldman knocked down a three pointer with 7:08 on the clock for a 44-41 lead. Sage twice closed the gap to a point with the second (46-45) coming with 5:43 remaining. A key six-point run by the Panthers quickly pushed the gap to 52-45, as Alex Huffman, Caveney and Davis all scored from in the paint. Schoff cashed in on another three-point play to cut the difference to 52-47 with 1:59 remaining. Davis secured the victory in the final 1:06 for the hosts, connecting on all four of her foul shots for a 56-50 final.
Davis poured in a career-high 18 points for the Panthers on 7-11 shooting from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds. Knox chipped in with 12 points, while Caveney and Waldman each netted nine. Huffman finished with one bucket, but was a factor in other areas with six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The Panthers shot 47.1 percent from the field (24-51) and limited the Gators to 34.6 percent (18-52) as Middlebury's defense held an opponent to 50 points or less for the fifth time in eight contests.
For Schoff her career records book climb now includes 100 career blocks, which is No. 2 all-time. She also sports 1,130 career points (Mo. 3), whle adding 726 rebounds (No. 3) and has now played in 89 games (No. 9).
Sage is back in action on December 9 at Union for a 2 p.m. non-conference game.
Story by Lyle Fulton, Middlebury Athletic Communication Office