Women's Basketball Earns First NCAA Bid Since 1997-98

Women's Basketball Earns First NCAA Bid Since 1997-98

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For the first time in 21 years, the Middlebury women's basketball team will take part in the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers (19-7) earned an at-large bid and will travel to DeSales University (Pa.) for a regional on March 1-2. Middlebury will take on John Carroll (22-6), while DeSales (25-2) will face Shenandoah (16-13) in the other matchup.

Middlebury earned an at-large bid to the tournament after falling in the NESCAC Semifinals to top-ranked Bowdoin. The Panthers are 1-3 in NCAA Tournament play, last appearing in 1998 when they lost 67-45 at Western Connecticut. Middlebury made its first appearance in 1995, before picking up its first tournament win the following year.

Middlebury enters the tournament with a record of 19-7, earning its most wins since 2002. The Panthers set a school record with 12-consecutive wins to start the season. Middlebury captured ECAC titles in 1992 and 1997, advancing to the NESCAC Championship in 2002.

Defensively, Middlebury allows just 55.4 points per game and has held its opponents to 50 points or less on 11 difference occasions. The Panthers boast the seventh-best rebounding margin in the country at +13.1 and average 44.8 rebounds per game, second in the NESCAC.

Junior Maya Davis leads a balanced scoring attack with 12.5 points per game this season, while shooting .571 from the floor, second-best in the league. Her 7.8 rebounds per game are also second in the NESCAC, while her .816 free throw shooting places her fourth. She is a two-time All-NESCAC selection.

Senior Colleen Caveney also averages double figures with 11.6 points per contest to along with a team-high 1.5 steals per game.

Senior Catherine Harrison is seventh in the NESCAC with 7.0 rebounds per game, while averaging 8.9 ppg. She is fifth in the league in field-goal percentage (.527) and is the school's all-time leader in blocked shots (101). Harrison owns 19 career double-doubles and is fifth in Middlebury history with 736 rebounds.

Junior Kira Waldman paces the squad in assists (2.4), scoring 8.4 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Rounding out the starting lineup is senior Alex Huffman, one of only two Panthers (Caveney) to start all 26 games this season. The guard averages 5.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg to along with 2.2 assists per contest. She owns 185 career steals, seven shy of the school record.

Junior Betsy Knox (8.9 ppg) and sophomore Emily Wander (7.2 ppg) are usually first off the bench. Knox averages 4.9 rpg and a team-best 35 blocked shots. She is second, only to Caveney, with 1.4 steals per game.

Head Coach K.J. Krasco is in her fifth season at the helm of the program, owning a career record of 76-50. Her teams have taken part in the NESCAC Tournament for the past four seasons, increasing its win totals from 11 in her first season to 19 this year. She came to Middlebury from NESCAC foe Bowdoin, where she served as the top assistant coach for the previous three seasons.

Middlebury has never faced John Carroll or DeSales, downing Shenandoah 74-39 on November 20, 2016.

2019 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament – Center Valley, Pa.
First Round - Friday, March 1
Middlebury (19-7) vs. John Carroll (22-6) – 5:00 p.m.
Shenandoah (16-13) at No. 15 DeSales (25-2) – 7:00 p.m.

Second Round - Saturday, March 2
Friday's winners – 7:00 p.m.