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Panther women win one, lose one on court

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Middlebury College women’s basketball team split two games last week, losing on Saturday at Salve Regina, 61-54, after edging host Castleton on Nov. 20, 64-62.
The 3-1 Panthers also hosted Johnson State on Tuesday night after the early holiday deadline for this edition of the Independent. They will also entertain Norwich this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Middlebury suffered its first loss of the season, at Salve Regina (3-1). Salve Regina’s Meaghan Harden recorded game highs in points (36) and rebounds (15) to spark her team.
The teams exchanged the lead nine times over the first 15 minutes, and a Rachel Crews hoop gave Middlebury its last lead at 20-19. Harden’s 22 first-half points helped the Seahawks take a 30-25 advantage at the half.
The Seahawks then opened the second half with a 16-8 run, taking their largest lead at 46-33 at 11:20. Sarah Kaufman led the Panthers on a 13-4 run to get as close as four points (50-46 at 3:45), but Harden had a pair of layups and six free throws down the stretch.
Kaufman recorded 12 points and 10 boards, Elizabeth Knox finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Sabrine Weeks also netted 10 for Middlebury.
On the previous Thursday, Middlebury dodged Castleton in the 64-62 victory. The Spartans (2-1) had a chance to tie the game with 2.6 seconds left on three free throws from Jade Desroches, but the senior missed her second attempt and then intentionally missed her third. The teams scrambled for the rebound, leading to a jump ball with 0.8 seconds left with the arrow in Middlebury’s favor.
Middlebury shot 44.1 percent from the floor and outrebounded Castleton, 44-36. Defensively, the Spartans forced 21 turnovers with 12 steals and also blocked 13 shots. However, they shot 33.3 percent from the field. 
Knox scored 22 and added eight rebounds and four assists. Weeks contributed 12 points, and Kaufman chipped in with eight rebounds and five assists.
For CSC, Ali Jones recorded 18 points and six rebounds. Meghan O’Sullivan added 16 points, four rebounds and three steals, while Desroches scored 15 points and added three assists, four steals and a career-high five blocks.
Middlebury led by as many as 14 in the first half before settling for a 34-26 lead at the break. But Castleton’s Makayla Farrara connected on back-to-back triples to make it 40-40 with 15:01 left. The Spartans took the lead on a Jones trey five minutes later, 51-49, and Jones hit again from behind the arc at 4:54 to make it 61-57.
Panther Alexis Coolidge responded with a personal 5-0 run, including a three-point play with 1:48 remaining to put Middlebury in front. The Spartans were forced to foul with 26 seconds left, and Kaufman made both shots to make it 64-61 and set up the final sequence.

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