Fourth-ranked Amherst (21-2, 8-1) went on a big third quarter run, opening up some breathing room on its way to a 72-62 win over Middlebury (18-6, 5-5) on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers have clinched the fifth seed for the upcoming NESCAC Tournament, and will visit either Tufts or Trinity for a quarterfinal game next Saturday.
Trailing 9-6, Middlebury scored the final 11 points of the quarter in a 4:41 span, holding a 17-9 lead after 10 minutes. Kira Waldman scored four points during the run with a three-point play from Colleen Caveney.
Middlebury led by as many as 11 twice in the second quarter, before a 9-2 burst brought Amherst back to within two at 24-22 with 4:12 on the clock. The game went back and forth with three ties, as the Panthers took a 32-31 lead into the halftime break.
The Mammoths slowly increased the lead in the third quarter, before closing the session by scoring 10 of the final 12 points for a 57-44 advantage.
The lead grew to 16 early in the fourth quarter, but a three from Betsy Knox and a bucket from Waldman brought the visitors within 11 (60-49) with 8:16 remaining. Amherst responded with a quick 7-0 spurt, going up 67-49 on their way to the win.
Caveney finished with 14 points for Middlebury, while Waldman scored 11 and Maya Davis netted 10. Knox netted 10 points with nine rebounds, while Catherine Harrison scored eight points with eight boards.
Hannah Fox led all scorers with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Madeline Eck netted 20. Meghan Sullivan finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.