Colby battled back from a nine-point deficit with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but Middlebury outscored the Mules by a 17-2 count in the extra session for a 64-49 NESCAC victory on Friday. The Panthers (15-5, 5-2) return to the court on Saturday when they host #23 Bowdoin at 3:00 p.m., while Colby (10-10, 2-5) plays at Hamilton at the same time.
Middlebury jumped out to an 11-4 lead with 4:51 left in the opening quarter on a lay-up from Betsy Knox. The Mules chipped away at the deficit, cutting it to 12-10 on a jumper by Haley Driscoll with 51 seconds left. Kira Waldman knocked down back-to-back three-point field goals on the final two possessions for Middlebury, including a running 23-footer from the right wing as time expired for an 18-10 lead.
In the second, Waldman made another three on Middlebury's first offensive trip for a 21-10 advantage. Colby fought back to within three (23-20) on a lay-up by Emily Davis at the 3:54 mark, but the Panthers rattled off the next nine points for a 12-point bulge (32-20), finished off by a bucket from Sarah Kaufman with 27 seconds remaining. Colby's Ainsley Burns hit a jumper as the halftime horn sounded for a 10-point host lead at the break.
The third quarter saw Colby outscore Middlebury 8-6, taking a 38-30 lead into the fourth. The Mules were limited to 25 percent (3-12) from the floor in the third, while the Panthers shot just 18.2 percent (2-11).
Colby's MK Caverly scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, pulling the visitors to within three (38-35) with 6:56 on the clock. The Panthers increased their lead back to nine (47-38) on a three from Kaufman with 3:37 remaining, but Colby tallied the final nine points of regulation including a game-tying lay-up from Driscoll with 21 seconds left. The Panthers turned the ball over on the final possession of regulation, sending the game to a five-minute overtime period.
In the overtime, Davis made a lay-up on the Mules' first possession, but the Panthers recorded the final 17 points and cruised to the win. Middlebury forced Colby to go 0-6 after the made lay-up with three turnovers. The Panthers knocked down 11-12 free throw attempts during the overtime.
Kaufman led three Panthers in double figures with 15 points to go along with three assists. Alex Huffman finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds as well as three steals, going a perfect 6-6 from the line in the overtime. Huffman's rebounding total tied her career high. Catherine Harrison chipped in with 11 points off the bench, while Waldman ended her night with nine points and Knox tacked on seven points and seven rebounds.
Caverly finished with a team-high 13 points and added a game-best five steals, while Davis tallied a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in addition to four steals. Driscoll recorded 11 points, while McCrum handed out a game-high six assists.
The NESCAC contest between the Panthers and Mules also served as a Play4Kay event.