Eileen Daley scored a career-high 14 points and tied a career-best with 13 rebounds as Middlebury picked up a 70-57 win over Smith (6-9) in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (10-5) return to action at Williams on Sunday, while Smith entertains Mount Holyoke Wednesday night.
Middlebury got off to a slow start, trailing 9-0 at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter after five missed shots and five turnovers. The Panthers responded with an 8-1 run, with four points from Colleen Caveney to trail 10-8 late in the quarter.
Tied at 17-17 in the second quarter, Middlebury rattled off nine-straight points to take a 26-17 lead with 3:02 remaining. Five points from Daley keyed the Panther spurt. The lead grew to as many as 10 before a half-court shot from Smith's Meghan Holland made it a 31-24 game at the intermission.
Smith went on a 6-0 spurt early in the third quarter to come within three at 33-30 on a bucket from Kennedy Guest-Pritchett. Middlebury maintained its lead, closing the quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 52-39 lead after 30 minutes. Sarah Kaufman scored seven of the 10 points in that stretch, three of them coming from behind the arc.
The Panthers extended their lead to a game-high 17 points in the third quarter in a free throw from Daley. The advantage stayed in double digits throughout the remainder of the game, as Middlebury won for the third time in four games.
Kaufman led all scorers with 21 points on 7-12 shooting, while Sabrina Weeks netted 11. Catherine Harrison finished with 10 points and eight boards on 4-6 shooting, while Alex Huffman grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists.
Guest-Pritchett paced Smith with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Jade Chihara and Lauren Bondi each scored nine. Holland added eight points and five assists.