Middlebury dominated the boards by a 57-37 count, on its way to a 66-50 win over the University of New England (9-10) Thursday night in Pepin Gym. The 17-2 Panthers return to action on Sunday at Trinity with a 2:00 p.m. start, while the Nor'easters host Western New England on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Middlebury jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind four points from Catherine Harrison. Leading 10-9, the Panthers went on a 7-0 spurt, with a two and a three from Colleen Caveney, taking a 17-9 edge with 2:09 remaining in the first quarter. Sadie Nelson answered with a three for UNE, before Middlebury took a 17-14 lead after 10 minutes.
Another 7-0 run in the second quarter put the home team up 24-16 at the 5:56 mark. The Panthers led by as many as nine (30-21), before the Nor'easters chipped away and trailed 30-27 at the half.
Middlebury opened the third quarter with a 9-1 run, going up 39-28 at the 4:58 mark on a layup from Kira Waldman. The lead grew to as many as 14, before UNE closed the quarter on a 7-2 run, as the Panthers led 46-37 after 30 minutes.
Middlebury's advantage remained in double digits throughout the fourth quarter, growing to as many as 16 on two occasions for the 66-50 final.
Caveney's 16 points led the Panthers (along with four steals), while Waldman finished with 15 points and a career-best 11 rebounds. Maya Davis netted 11 points, while Harrison scored nine with a game-high 15 boards, including 13 on the offensive side. Betsy Knox ended the night with eight points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
Jocelyn Chaput paced UNE with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Nelson added 10 points and six caroms.
Middlebury, which owns the second-best rebounding margin in the country, added to that number with a +20 advantage (57-37) on the night. The Panthers held the Nor'easters to .259 shooting from the floor and held an opponent to 50 points or less for the 11th time this season.