Middlebury continues its quest toward a NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship when it takes on top-seeded Bowdoin in a NESCAC Semifinal game on Saturday, February 23 at 2:00 p.m. The game between the fifth-seeded Panthers and the Polar Bears will be followed by a match-up between second-seeded Amherst and third-seeded Tufts at 4:00 p.m. The league's championship is being hosted by Bowdoin in Morrell Gymnasium. Semifinal winners will square off in the conference final on Sunday, February 24 at 12:00 p.m. with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake.
Bowdoin (24-0) advanced to the semifinals for the 19th consecutive season following a 96-75 victory over No. 8 Connecticut College. The Polar Bears set a NESCAC Championship record for most points in a game. Bowdoin looks to advance to the championship game for the first time since 2015 and is seeking its ninth title and first since 2009. Bowdoin leads the league in scoring at 84.6 points per game and also tops the NESCAC in field goal percentage (48.0%), 3-point field goal percentage (37.9%), and assists per game (17.4 apg). Abby Kelly (Bombay, N.Y.) ranks among the conference leaders in scoring at 14.8 points per game, while Maddie Hasson (South Portland, Maine) (62.7%) and Hannah Graham (Presque Isle, Maine) (50.0%) lead the league in the field goal percentage and 3-point shooting, respectively. Samatha Roy (Stafford Springs, Conn.) is the league leader in assists (4.3 apg).
Middlebury (19-6) earned a 75-71 victory at No. 4 Trinity to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2013 and the third time in program history. The Panthers' 19 victories are the most since their record-breaking 22-win campaign in 2001-02. As a team, Middlebury is the second-best rebounding squad in the NESCAC, averaging 44.3 caroms per contest. The Panthers are scoring 67.5 points per game for the season. Junior Maya Davis (Milton, Mass.) leads the team in scoring at 12.6 points per game, while shooting 58.1 percent from the field. Davis also ranks second in the NESCAC in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Senior Colleen Caveney (Lowell, Mass.) is chipping in 11.5 points per game and junior Betsy Knox (Bethesda, Md.) is the second leading shot blocker in the conference with 35 rejections this season.
Bowdoin overcame a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to pull out a 62-58 victory at Middlebury on February 1 in the regular season. The Polar Bears are 3-0 versus Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship. The teams last met in the 2015 quarterfinals with Bowdoin posting an 80-52 victory.
The second semifinal features the top two defensive teams in the conference as No. 2 Amherst (23-2) meets No. 3 Tufts (23-2). The Jumbos are allowing 47.8 points per game, while the Mammoths are giving up 48.2 points per game this season.
Amherst, the three-time defending champion, eased past No. 7 Wesleyan, 60-40, to move into the semifinals for the 12th year in a row. The Mammoths enter the semifinal matchup riding a six-game win streak as they look to earn a trip to the championship game for the fourth straight year and 11th time in 12 seasons. Madeline Eck (Rye, N.Y.) (16.4 ppg) and Hannah Fox (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) (16.3 ppg) rank 1-2 in the conference among the scoring leaders. Fox, junior Cam Hendricks (Glastonbury, Conn.), and first-year Dani Valdez (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) are tied for the team lead on the boards at 6.0 rebounds per game. Fox is also dishing out 3.2 assists per game.
Tufts posted a 75-51 victory over No. 6 Williams to pick up its 20th NESCAC postseason victory and move into the semifinals for the sixth straight year. The Jumbos have two NESCAC titles and are seeking their sixth straight trip to the championship game. Senior Jac Knapp (Westfield, N.J.) (13.5 ppg) leads three players averaging double figures. She is shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range and handing out 3.3 assists per game. Junior Erica DeCandido (North Wales, Pa.) and sophomore Emily Briggs (Canton, Conn.) are chipping in 12.3 and 10.1 points per game, respectively. DeCandido is also the team leader in rebounds (5.4 rpg) and is dishing out 3.6 assists per contest.
In the regular season matchup on February 1, Amherst posted a 50-40 victory behind a double-double effort from senior Meghan Sullivan (Granby, Mass.) (12 points, 10 rebounds). Amherst and Tufts have played in the NESCAC title game four of the last five years. The Mammoths own a 6-1 advantage in the all-time NESCAC Championship series and defeated Tufts, 44-40, in last year's championship game.
Results for the NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship will be available at the completion of each day on the NESCAC website.
2019 NESCAC Women's Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinals - Saturday, February 16
No. 1 Bowdoin 96, No. 8 Connecticut College 75
No. 2 Amherst 60, No. 7 Wesleyan 40
No. 3 Tufts 75, No. 6 Williams 51
No. 5 Middlebury 75, No. 4 Trinity 71
Semifinals - Saturday, February 23 - hosted by Bowdoin
No. 5 Middlebury at No. 1 Bowdoin - 2:00 p.m.
No. 3 Tufts vs. No. 2 Amherst - 4:00 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, February 24 – hosted by Bowdoin
Semifinal Winners – 12:00 p.m.
-- Courtesy of the NESCAC --