Middlebury Edges Castleton in Overtime Thriller

Gianna Palli had six points, six rebounds and six assists in Tuesday's win. (photo by Will Costello)
Gianna Palli had six points, six rebounds and six assists in Tuesday's win. (photo by Will Costello)

The Middlebury women's basketball team put together a 7-2 run at the start of Tuesday's overtime, fending off a couple of Castleton comeback attempts, on its way to a 64-60 win over the Spartans (5-1) in Pepin Gymnasium. The Panthers (4-0) return to action on Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. tip at Cabrini, while Castleton entertains Keene State on December 4 at 5:30 p.m.

The first quarter saw four ties, as Castleton's Emilee Bose knocked down a three-point field goal in the final seconds for a 13-13 score after the initial stanza.

Knotted at 15-15, Castleton mustered a 9-3 run, capped by a three from Elise Magro, for a 24-18 edge with 6:32 left before halftime. The Panthers tallied the final nine points of the quarter, taking a 27-24 lead into the break on a three from Vanessa Young.

After a basket from Maya Davis gave the hosts a 29-24 advantage, the Spartans rattled off a 12-0 run to grab a 36-29 lead with 4:46 remaining on a jumper from Kylie Wright. The Panthers chipped away at the deficit, tying the score at 37-37 on a layup by Davis in the waning seconds of the quarter.

The fourth quarter saw both teams maintain small leads throughout most of the stanza. Davis gave Middlebury a 52-49 lead with a pair of free throws with 1:13 left. A layup from Katlyn Toomey with 49 seconds remaining moved Castleton to within 52-51. Following a Panther turnover, the Spartans missed a three and a putback attempt, but Bose was fouled on the ensuing rebound with 0.5 seconds left. She missed the first attempt but made the second to tie the contest at 52-52. After a Middlebury timeout advanced the ball to half court, a last-second three from Gianna Palli was off the mark, sending the game to overtime.

In the extra five minutes, Kira Waldman posted a pair of layups, sandwiched around a three-point play from Betsy Knox, for a 59-54 edge with 3:21 left. The Spartans made it a 62-60 game on a jumper from Bose with 1:20 remaining, but Knox made two free throws down the stretch as the Spartans missed a trio of threes for the final 64-60 victory.

Davis paced the Panthers with a season-high 21 points on 6-7 shooting from the floor and 9-11 at the charity stripe, to go along with nine rebounds. Knox posted a nice all-around game of 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. Palli added six points, six rebounds and six helpers in the victory.

Bose led four Castleton players in double figures with 15 points to go along with eight boards, while Alexis Quenneville netted 13 points and a team-best five assists. Wright chipped in with 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals.