Middlebury suffered its first NESCAC loss of the season, falling by a score of 60-57 at Bates (6-10, 1-2) on Friday night. The Panthers (12-3, 2-1) return to action on Saturday when they visit #8 Tufts for a 3:00 p.m. game.
Neither team led by more than three points in a back-and-forth first quarter, as the Panthers held a 15-14 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Middlebury held a slim lead for much of the second quarter, going up by five (21-16) on a jumper from Sabrina Weeks at the 6:52 mark. Two free throws by Bates' Nina Davenport left the Panthers with a 28-26 advantage at the break.
The Bobcats opened the second half with a bucket from Melanie Binkhorst and a three from Emily Fredland, taking a 31-28 lead after 56 seconds. Middlebury regained the advantage twice before a late hoop from Binkhorst moved the hosts ahead 44-40 at the end of three quarters.
Freedland put Bates up by five (49-44) with a three at the 7:15 mark, but the Panthers responded with a 5-0 spurt to knot the game at 49-49 on a layup from Sarah Kaufman with 3:52 remaining. Bates answered with the next five points, and later led 57-51 with 1:05 remaining. The Panthers cut the lead to three (57-54) on a three-point play from Betsy Knox with 37 seconds on the clock, but Julia Middlebrook answered from long range on Bates' next possession. Kaufman knocked down a late three for the Panthers, as the Bobcats went on to the 60-57 win.
Kaufman led Middlebury with 15 points, while Maya Davis scored 10 and grabbed eight boards. Davenport scored a game-high 16 points for Bates, Freedland added 15, while Binkhorst netted 14.