Cadets hold off Middlebury women’s basketball

MIDDLEBURY — Visiting Norwich held on for a 55-49 victory over the Middlebury College women’s basketball team on Tuesday evening, holding off a late Panther rally to improve to 5-1.
The Panthers dropped to 4-2 heading into a pair of weekend home games that will conclude their first-semester play: They will host Alfred State at 6 p.m. on Friday and Skidmore at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Skidmore game is part of a doubleheader, as the undefeated Middlebury men will host the Thoroughbreds at 4 p.m. following the women’s game.
On Tuesday, Norwich jumped out of the gate early, scoring 15 of the game’s first 20 points for a 15-5 edge with 14:40 left in the opening half. Middlebury cut the deficit to 17-11 on a put-back from Holly Lanchantin, but Norwich rattled off the next seven points to take its largest lead of the first session at 24-11 with 5:46. Shyan Josler capped that run with a pair of free throws.
PANTHER SENIOR ALEXIS Coolidge puts up a shot over Norwich defender Kelsey Lotti Tuesday night. Coolige scored nine points in the Middlebury loss. Independent photo/Trent Campbell
The Panthers cut the Norwich lead back to 24-16 after a three-pointer from Sarah Kaufman set up by Alexis Coolidge at 5:08 but the Cadets scored the final four points of the half and took a 28-16 edge at the break. Both teams struggled from the field in the first half. Norwich hit just nine of 33 shot attempts, while the Panthers were limited to seven of 30.   
In the second half, Norwich secured its largest lead of the evening at 17 (46-29) on a three-pointer from Kelsey Lotti with 11:27 left. The Panthers cut the deficit to 11 with a 6-0 run on a three from Kaufman, a free throw from Sabrina Weeks and a jumper in the paint from Coolidge.
The Cadets pushed their lead back to 51-35 at 8:48 on a layup from Arianna Harrison and a shot beyond the arc by Aliah Curry. Over the ensuing 6:55, Middlebury reeled off an 11-0 run, cutting the Norwich lead to 51-46 with 1:08 left on a Weeks free throw. However, the Cadets knocked down clutch free throws and held on for the six-point win.
Kaufman led all scorers with 16 points, while adding six rebounds. Weeks added 10 points and eight rebounds along with a game-best four blocked shots, while Knox contributed nine points and nine boards. Coolidge chipped in with nine points, a game-high five assists and four rebounds.
Curry, the nation’s second-leading scorer at 26.8 points per game entering Tuesday, was held to 14 points on four-for-16 shooting. Lotti chipped in with 12 points, while Heather LeBlanc recorded 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Cadets.
Most statistics were even, with both teams finishing about 30 percent from the floor. However, the Panthers made just six of 15 free throw attempts, while the Cadets converted 13 of 19.  

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