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Women’s hoop splits contests

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College women’s basketball team split two games late last week, with the second game, a loss at Skidmore, the Panthers’ first of the season.
Middlebury wrapped up its pre-holiday stretch at 8-1, the program’s best start since 2001. The Panthers next play on Dec. 29 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in California.
On Thursday the Panthers broke a 41-41 fourth-quarter tie in a a 56-50 victory over visiting Sage (4-3).
The Panthers led after three periods, 38-37, before Sage tied the game twice early in the fourth, for the final time at 41-41.
Kira Waldman knocked down a three pointer at 7:08 to put Middlebury on top for good, 44-41. Sage twice closed the gap to a point, including making it 46-45 at 5:43.
The Panthers then went on a decisive 6-0 run, with Alex Huffman, Colleen Caveney and Maja Davis scoring hoops inside.  
Davis tossed in a career-high 18 points for the Panthers and grabbed eight rebounds. Betsy Knox chipped in 12 points, and Caveney and Waldman each netted nine. Huffman contributed six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Genevieve Schoff led Sage, an NCAA Division III tournament team a year ago, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers limited Sage to 34.6 shooting and held an opponent to 50 points or fewer for the fifth time in eight games.
On Friday, host Skidmore snapped a late 35-35 tie with a 9-2 run on the way to a 55-49 victory. The Thoroughbreds, who had also defeated NESCAC team Williams at home this winter, improved to 4-3. 
Middlebury took an early 11-2 lead, but went cold, scoring only four points in the second quarter as Skidmore led at halftime, 24-15.
A 9-2 Panther third-quarter run capped by a Sarah Kaufman three helped the Panthers cut the lead to 35-30 after three periods, and a basket by Maya Davis and a three from Caveney knotted the contest at 35-35 with seven minutes to go.
Later in the period Skidmore’s 9-2 run made it 46-39; Kelly Donnelly capped it with a jumper at 1:50. The Panthers pulled to within four on a Sabrina Weeks layup, but the Thoroughbreds iced the win from the free throw line.
Kaufman’s 12 points led the Panthers, while Knox chipped in nine points and four assists. Caveney grabbed 10 rebounds, and Huffman added five points, four assists and seven steals.
Donnelly led Skidmore with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Haley English added 10 points and seven rebounds.

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