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Panther women’s hoop leads NESCAC, falls to Westfield State

NEW LONDON, Conn. — The Middlebury College women’s basketball team opened NESCAC play with two road wins this past weekend, results that pushed the Panthers’ program-record start to 12-0. But the streak came to an end with an upset on the road on Tuesday, the day after Middlebury was ranked No. 25 in the NCAA Division III poll.
The Panthers will host NESCAC foes Bates and Tufts this weekend. Bates is 5-5, 1-1 in NESCAC play, while Tufts is 12-1 and ranked No. 6.
On this past Friday the Panthers rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to knock off host Connecticut College, 49-44. The Camels are 10-4, 1-1 NESCAC. The Panthers trailed 39-26 early in the final quarter before closing out the game on a 23-5 run. 
The Camels took their biggest lead of the game at 39-26 before the Panthers stormed back. Middlebury still trailed by 44-40 at 2:43, and tied the game on a hoop by Colleen Caveney and a Maya Davis putback at 1:40.
Davis then gave the Panthers the lead with two free throws, and Alex Huffman added two more foul shots and Ivy Houde sank another to close out the win.
Davis paced Middlebury with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Huffman recorded 12 points and 10 boards to go along with four steals. Caveney and Emily Wander each netted nine points, while Betsy Knox snared eight rebounds.
The Camels took their lead by outscoring the Panthers by 19-4 in the third quarter. The Panthers held an opponent to 45 points or fewer for the ninth time in 11 games and outrebounded the Camels, 52-37.
On Saturday the Panthers defeated host Wesleyan, 69-57. The Cardinals dropped to 6-5, 0-2 in NESCAC. The Panthers were again tough in the late going and on the boards. Middlebury, second in D-III in rebounding margin, outrebounded Wesleyan, 51-37.
The Panthers led after three periods, 45-43, and the Cardinals were still in the hunt down 53-49 when Middlebury went on a 9-0 run to lead by 62-49 with 1:31 to go.
Caveney led four Panthers in double figures with 15 points, while Davis and Kira Waldman each scored a dozen. Huffman netted 11 points with seven rebounds, and Knox grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench to go along with 10 points.
Olivia Gorman paced the Cardinals with 14 points.
On Tuesday host Westfield State (7-7) rallied in the fourth quarter for an 84-79 victory. The Panthers held a 61-52 lead after three periods, but the Owls tied the game at 67-67 with 7:21 to play. They led, 77-75 with 2:31 to play when Lucy Barrett scored four key points, including two free throws at 0:58 to make it 83-79. Barrett led all scorers with 31 points.
Caveney led the Panthers with 24 points, while Davis netted 20 with 12 boards. Betsy Knox scored 14 points off the bench, and Huffman dished out eight assists and grabbed six rebounds. Middlebury continued its dominance on the boards with a 46-36 advantage. The Panthers scoring defense is also ranked second nationally, but could not contain the Owls.

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