Middlebury hung with top-ranked Amherst in Friday's first quarter, but the Purple & White outscored the Panthers 24-2 in the second quarter en route to a 67-33 NESCAC victory in LeFrak Gymnasium. Despite the loss, Middlebury earned the right to host a NESCAC Quarterfinal game next weekend as the fourth seed. The Panthers (15-7, 5-4) return to the court on Saturday when they travel to Trinity at 3:00 p.m.
A tightly-contested first quarter saw Amherst claim an 11-7 edge after late three-point field goals by Meghan Sullivan and Meredith Doswell helped give the hosts their four-point advantage. In the second quarter, the Purple & White erupted for 24 points and the smothering defense held Middlebury to just two points, as Amherst staked a 35-9 lead at intermission.
Ali Doswell scored the first seven points of the second frame, before Kira Waldman hit a jumper with 4:20 on the clock for the Panthers to give the visitors their only points of the stanza. The Purple & White knocked down five three-pointers, including two each from Ali Doswell and Meredith Doswell, and one from Maeve McNamara to help extend the hosts' cushion to 26 points (35-9) at the halftime break.
Another strong defensive showing in the third quarter helped Amherst extend its lead to 49-9 with 4:21 left in the quarter, as Meredith Doswell canned two more triples. A three-point play by Maya Davis at the 3:45 mark gave Middlebury its first points of the third quarter, as the Panthers executed a 10-2 run to close out the period, highlighted by a trey from Rachel Collins with 10 seconds on the clock.
Hannah Fox went a perfect 4-4 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, as the Purple & White cruised to the conference victory.
Meredith Doswell finished 6-10 from the field and 5-5 from three-point range en route to 18 points. She also hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds, dished out four assists and notched five steals. Ali Doswell collected 15 points and dished out five assists, while Sullivan added 11 points.
Middlebury was led by Waldman's seven points, while Catherine Harrison and Lily Kuntz followed with six points apiece. Harrison added a team-best seven rebounds and blocked two shots, while Sabrina Weeks also blocked two shots for the Panthers.