Middlebury outscored Bates 32-16 in the paint and held off a fourth-quarter rally on its way to a 61-56 win in NESCAC action Saturday afternoon in Alumni Gymnasium. All five Middlebury (9-5, 2-2) starters scored between nine and 11 points in the win. The Panthers return to action on Tuesday when they host Smith at 5:00 p.m.
Eileen Daley and Sarah Kaufman scored 11 points apiece to pace Middlebury. Colleen Caveney made all three of her three-pointers for nine points, while Catherine Harrison grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds to go with nine points. Kaufman dished out a game-high five assists and Alex Huffman scored 10 points.
Bernadette Connors and Nina Davenport scored a game-high 17 points apiece for Bates (5-10, 1-3), with Connors hitting two three-pointers in the final 2:30 of the game as Bates had a late comeback attempt.
The Bobcats outrebounded the Panthers 41-33 and held a 14-2 advantage in second-chance points. Middlebury made 25-56 field-goal attempts (.446) and 5-10 (.500) shots from beyond the arc, while Bates made 18-60 (.300) shots, including 6-26 (.231) from deep.
Middlebury expanded a 16-13 lead after one quarter into a 10-point advantage less than two minutes into the second session, with a three by Caveney followed by a pair of free throws by Rachel Collins and a Harrison layup. Another three by Caveney gave the Panthers a game-high 11-point advantage (26-15) with 4:13 to go in the second quarter.
Bates charged back to within two (26-24) with a 9-0 run with hoops by four different Bobcats in the streak. Huffman turned a Bates turnover on its last possession into a layup at the other end for a 28-24 Middlebury lead at the half.
Middlebury led 34-28 early in the third quarter and used four-consecutive defensive stops to increase the lead to 36-28 when Collins made a layup with 4:51 left in the period. Coppola earned two trips to the free-throw line and also made a layup to get the Bobcats back within three (38-35).
After a steal by Chelsea Nason, Madeline Foote drove for a layup and the foul, hitting the free throw to close it to 41-40. Jackie Welche rebounded a Kaufman miss, was fouled and made both free throws to give Bates a 42-41 advantage with 28 seconds to go in the period.
The score was tied at 43-43 after three quarters, and Bates led for the final time when Foote drained a three to start the fourth period. A 6-0 Middlebury run, with hoops by Harrison, Weeks and Kaufman, gave the lead to Middlebury for good at 49-46. Kaufman answered a Connors' jumper with a three to make it 55-50.
Connors drained threes late in the shot clock on consecutive Bates possessions, with the second one cutting the gap to 57-56 with 1:03 to go. Kaufman assisted a Daley layup, and Huffman drove for an unassisted layup in the final minute, while Bates missed three-point attempts on its only two possessions of the game's final minute.