The Middlebury women's basketball team outscored The Sage College 19-5 in the third quarter, breaking open a close game at the half for a 63-44 road victory Thursday. The Panthers (5-0) return to action Saturday at 1:00 p.m., hosting Colby-Sawyer.
Middlebury's defense entered the contest ranked sixth nationally in team defense, and held a team to 45 points of fewer for the fourth time in five contests.
The first quarter featured a pair of runs with the Panthers going on a 14-3 burst to erase an early deficit. After Sage (2-2) hit a three pointer on its first possession, Middlebury's Catherine Harrison converted twice from in the paint, kicking off a 14-3 run that saw the visitors claim a 14-6 lead. The Gators finished the opening 10 minutes scoring the final nine points, for a 15-14 edge.
In the second stanza, the Panthers responded with a 9-0 run over the first five minutes, claiming a 23-15 advantage. Colleen Caveney netted five points in that time with Maya Davis tallying the other four. Middlebury took its biggest lead of the quarter (25-17) on two free throws by Emily Wander with 3:28 on the clock. Sage closed out the half strong, trimming the margin to three points at 27-24 on a jumper by Tanisha Edge in the closing seconds.
Out the break, the visitors began to pull away, scoring 13 of the first 17 points of the new quarter for a 40-28 advantage. Caveney capped the fast start by the Panthers, draining a three-pointer with four minutes left, ending the team's second 9-0 run of the contest. Kira Waldman gave the Panthers a 46-29 cushion at the end of the frame, sinking a pair of field goals in the final 1:39.
Middlebury never allowed the Gators to get any closer than 15 points in the final 10 minutes, taking its biggest lead at 63-37 on a pair of free throw by Davis. Sage recorded the last seven points of the game, making the final 63-44.
Caveney led all players with 19 points, while Davis recorded a double-double with 13 points on 4-5 shooting from the floor with 10 rebounds. Harrison had a balanced game, finishing with nine points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. Caveney and Ivy Houde spearheaded the defense with five steals apiece.
Madasyn Bush led Sage with 10 points, hitting all three of her shots from the floor, while Megan Flynn led the hosts with eight rebounds and added six points.
Middlebury shot 42.9 percent from the floor (24-56) and limited the Gators to 25.9 percent (14-54). The hosts held the edge on the glass, outrebounding the Panthers 40-33.