The Middlebury women's basketball team scored the first five points of the fourth quarter and held off a late comeback attempt by host Clarkson (3-2), earning a 53-49 win over the Golden Knights in Alumni Gymnasium. The Panthers remain unbeaten for the season at 4-0 and will host Rensselaer on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in their home opener.
Tied at 15-15 after one quarter, the Panthers found some offensive rhythm in the second, scoring 12 of the first 13 points, as Emily Wander capped the run with a 15-foot jumper at the 4:19 mark. A basket by Raeanna Dunn on Clarkson's ensuing possession snapped an 0-8 streak from the field to start the stanza, pulling the hosts back to within single digits (27-18). A pair of free throws from Dunn with 1:40 left got the Green and Gold to within seven (29-22), but a layup by Middlebury's Catherine Harrison in the final minute pushed the margin back to nine (31-22) at the half.
Out of the break, Kira Waldman gave Middlebury an 11-point lead (37-26) on a three-point field goal with 5:57 on the clock. The Golden Knights responded with a 13-2 run of their own over nearly the next four minutes, cutting the deficit to just two (39-37) on a three from Dunn with 1:56 left. Three pointers from Sabrina Weeks for Middlebury and Clarkson's Devin Sorell kept the Panthers' two-point edge (42-40) headed to the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the score remained close as both teams struggled to find the shooting touch. A jumper from Sarah Kaufman, free throw by Colleen Caveney and a pair of charity tosses from Maya Davis gave the Panthers a 47-40 lead with 6:13 left. Clarkson moved to within one at 47-46 on a free throw from Hannah Earl with 3:39 remaining. Down by 51-48 with 15 seconds left, Clarkson's Molly Stewart got a good look at a game-tying shot, but Alex Huffman secured the rebound for the visitors and the Panthers held on for the win.
Davis and Harrison led a balanced scoring output with eight points apiece, while Huffman and Weeks each had seven. Waldman chipped in with six points on two threes, while Harrison pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with three blocked shots. Huffman added nine rebounds and a team-best four assists for the Panthers.
Shea paced Clarkson with game-highs of 15 points and seven assists to go along with nine rebounds. Sorell scored 10 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
Middlebury held a 53-36 rebounding edge and limited Clarkson to just 23.7 percent shooting from the floor (14-59), including 2-16 in the fourth quarter, and 25 percent (8-32) in the game from three-point range.