The Middlebury women's basketball team rallied from a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, opening NESCAC play with a 49-44 triumph at Connecticut College (9-4, 0-1) on Friday. The Panthers (11-0, 1-0) trailed 39-26 early in the final frame, before closing out the contest on a 23-5 run. Middlebury is back in action Saturday at Wesleyan with a 3:00 p.m. tipoff.
The visitors raced out to a modest five-point lead with Kira Waldman scoring on the team's first possession of the contest, followed by a lay-up from Colleen Caveney. After a bucket by Maya Davis with 8:12 showing on the clock, the Camels closed the gap to 12-8 after the 10 minutes of play.
A pair of free throws by Conn. College's Caroline Pangallo tied the score just short of the midway point of the second stanza, but the Panthers responded. Davis converted a conventional three-point play with 4:48 before the break and Alex Huffman made a bucket and a free throw after being fouled. Middlebury closed out the half holding a 22-19 lead.
In the second half, the hosts had a big third quarter to take the lead for the first time. The Camels opened with a 7-0 run to claim a 26-22 advantage with less than four minutes expired. Kylie Caouette finished the frame with a basket in the paint and a three pointer for a 38-26 lead, as Conn. College outscored Middlebury 19-4 in the quarter.
The hosts took their biggest lead of the game at 39-26 on a free throw by Ashley Howe, but the Panthers stormed back. Middlebury trailed 44-40 with 2:43 remaining and a field goal by Caveney and a put back by Davis tied the contest at 44-44 with 1:40 left to play. Davis gave the Panthers the lead for good with just over a minute left, sinking a pair of free throws. Huffman added two more foul shots and Ivy Houde sank another to close out the come-from-behind 49-44 victory.
Davis paced Middlebury with 13 points and had nine rebounds, while Huffman recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards to go along with four steals. Caveney and Emily Wander each netted nine points, while Betsy Knox snared eight rebounds.
For the Camels, Sami Ashton and Caouette each finished with 12 points, with Ashton and Casey Walsh both grabbing eight rebounds.
This marked the ninth time in 11 games the Panthers have held an opponent to 45 points or less. Middlebury shot 28.1 percent from the floor (17-60), while Conn. College hit on 32.1 percent (18-36). The Panthers, which lead the country in rebounding margin, held a 52-37 edge on the glass.