A 15-0 run spanning 5:03 of the third quarter lifted Middlebury to a 66-46 NESCAC victory on Saturday afternoon over Bates in Pepin Gymnasium. Middlebury (11-3, 3-1 continues its season-long four-game homestand on Tuesday when it hosts SUNY Potsdam at 5:00 p.m., while Bates (5-10, 2-2) travels to Connecticut College on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers jumped out to a 12-6 lead with 6:08 left in the opening quarter, knocking down five of their first six shots, including two three-point field goals from Sarah Kaufman. The hosts continued to add to the advantage, pushing it to 12 (18-6) on a pair of free throws by Maya Davis at the 2:34 mark. Bates' Emily Freedland made two free throws at the close of the quarter, cutting the Panther edge to 10 at 20-10. Middlebury made 61.5 percent (8-13) of its shots from the floor in the opening period, while limiting Bates to 26.7 percent (4-15).
The hosts opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run covering 3:47 of action, highlighted by seven points from Colleen Caveney, for a 29-12 lead with 6:13 left before halftime. The Bobcats closed the opening half with 16 of the final 20 points, cutting the deficit to five (33-28) on a layup by Lexie Nason with 15 seconds on the clock. Allie Coppola tallied 11 points for the visitors.
Out of the break, a layup from Coppola during Bates' opening possession sliced the Panther lead to three (33-30). Middlebury responded with the decisive 15-0 run, including six points from Catherine Harrison, for an 18-point advantage with 4:34 left in the third. The Panthers maintained an advantage between 16 and 18 over the final minutes of the frame, taking a 52-34 edge into the fourth.
The Panthers maintained their double-digit lead over the final quarter, pushing it to as many as 22 (66-44) on a layup by Davis with 42 seconds left before cruising to the win.
Kaufman led four Panthers in double figures with 15 points to go along with three assists, while Harrison tallied her fourth double-double of the season and 14th of her career consisting of 10 points and 11 rebounds in addition to a career-best five blocked shots. Betsy Knox chipped in with 13 points and three assists, while Caveney had 11 points and seven rebounds. Alex Huffman pulled down nine rebounds for the hosts to go along with four points and a pair of assists.
Coppola finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-17 shooting as well as contest-best 12 rebounds for Bates, while Bernadette Connors also wound up in double figures with 10 points and added seven rebounds. Nason chipped in with five rebounds and four points off the Bobcat bench in 14 minutes played.
As a team, Middlebury tallied 10 blocked shots and held a 46-38 rebounding advantage led by Harrison's 11.