Middlebury outrebounded Westfield State 52-22 en route to a 76-60 win over the Owls (3-1) in the team's home opener in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (2-0) return to action on Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. tip at Skidmore.
Middlebury jumped out to a 10-2 lead on a three-point play from Maya Davis at the 5:54 mark. A late three from Westfield's Cayla Durkee cut the lead to 20-11 after the first quarter.
The Owls put together a run of 9-0 between the end of the first and the 8:48 mark of the second quarter, cutting the gap to 20-17 on a three from Melissa Gray. Westfield State later tied the game, but trailed 36-34 at the intermission.
Middlebury controlled the third quarter, outscoring its opponent 27-17, while shooting .706 from the floor. The Panthers went on a 7-0 run early to lead 45-38 on another three-point play by Davis. Middlebury closed the quarter on a 6-0 spurt, taking a 63-51 lead.
The lead grew to as many as 17 in the final session, as the Panthers held their opponents to 3-20 (.150) shooting from the floor to secure the win.
Kira Waldman paced the Panthers with a game-high 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to go along with a 7-11 shooting performance. Davis shot 7-10 from the floor to earn 16 points to go along with eight rebounds. Betsy Knox finished with 11 points, 10 boards and six assists in the win.
Gray paced Westfield State with 13 points and a game-high seven steals, while Lauren Legere netted 10.
Middlebury finished the game shooting 57.4 percent from the floor, with the Owls forcing 28 turnovers in their fast-paced style of play. The Panthers blocked eight shots in the game, three from Lily Kuntz.