Middlebury hung with visiting Bowdoin during the first quarter, but the 23rd-ranked Polar Bears outscored the Panthers 32-11 in the second, en route to an 82-52 victory on Saturday in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (15-6, 5-3) return to the court on Friday when they travel to #2 Amherst for a 7:00 p.m. start, while Bowdoin (17-3, 6-2) plays at Husson on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
Bowdoin clung to a one-point edge at 8-7 with 6:52 left in the first quarter. The visitors then rattled off a 9-2 run over the next 3:34 of action, capped by a lay-up from Taylor Choate, for a 16-9 edge with 3:18 left. The Panthers tallied the next five points on a three-point field goal by Alex Huffman and a jumper from Sarah Kaufman, cutting the deficit to a pair (16-14) at the 2:15 mark. Bowdoin closed the quarter scoring eight of the final 12 points for a 24-18 edge after one. Lauren Petit had six points on a pair of threes during the final two minutes.
In the second quarter, Huffman drew the Panthers to within four (24-20) on a lay-up seconds into the frame. The Polar Bears answered with a decided 18-2 run spanning 6:06 for a 42-22 lead with 3:48 on the clock before halftime. The advantage grew to as many as 27 at 56-29 on a lay-up from Maggie Hasson just before the halftime break.
Bowdoin made 52.4 percent (22-42) from the floor in the first half, including 60 percent (12-20) in the decisive second quarter. The Polar Bears also knocked down 57.1 percent (8-14) of their shots from beyond the arc.
The visitors maintained nearly a 30-point advantage over much of the third quarter, growing the largest edge of the game of 35 (69-34) on a Hasson lay-up with 2:56 on the clock.
The Panthers outscored Bowdoin by a 13-11 count in the fourth quarter, as the Polar Bears cruised to the 30-point victory.
Huffman, Kaufman and Maya Davis each finished with nine points for the Panthers, while Davis pulled down a game-best seven rebounds and Huffman added five. Colleen Caveney chipped in with eight points, Catherine Harrison had five rebounds, while Lily Kuntz and Kira Waldman both dished out three assists.
Choate led a balanced Polar Bear attack with 12 points, as 12 different players found the scoring column. Marle Curle was also in double-figures with 10 points, while Kate Kerrigan added nine points and three other Polar Bears had eight. Curle and Lydia Caputi handed out four assists apiece, while Hannah Graham led the visitors with six rebounds.
The Polar Bears held a 47-36 rebounding advantage and committed just nine turnovers for the game, while forcing Middlebury into 19 miscues.