The Middlebury women's basketball team used a key 16-3 run to start the fourth quarter, as the Panthers pulled away from visiting Plattsburgh State 65-55 on Tuesday. Middlebury (10-2) opens NESCAC play on Friday, hosting fourth-ranked Amherst at 7:00 p.m., while the Cardinals (4-5) entertain SUNY Geneseo the same day at 5:30 p.m.
The hosts got off to a strong start, racing out to a 7-2 lead with less than two minutes expired. A traditional three-point play by Kamryn You Mak and layups by Betsy Knox and Maya Davis accounted for the points. The Cardinals knotted the contest at 11-11 on a three pointer by Theresa Quinn, before Hanna Whitney and Middlebury's Lily Kuntz traded threes late in the frame, as the Panthers led 22-17 after 10 minutes of play.
Middlebury started the second stanza with a 14-4 run, ballooning the lead to 36-21 on field goal by Alyna Baharozian. The Cardinals closed out the opening half with an 8-0 burst, making the difference to 36-29 at the break on a layup at the buzzer by Kelly Degnan.
Out the break, the visitors chipped away at the Panther lead, creeping back to within three points (40-37) on a basket in the paint from Taylor Durnin. Plattsburgh State took its first lead of the contest with 3:52 on the clock when Ly'rell Walker sank a jumper for a 43-42 edge. The Cardinals took their biggest lead at 48-44 late in the stanza, before two free throws by Davis brought the hosts to within a pair with one quarter remaining.
In the final frame, Middlebury received a runner in the lane by Baharozian and two field goals from Knox for a 52-48 cushion. A trey by Whitney pulled the Cardinals to 52-51 with 7:47 remaining, but they were then held scoreless for the next 6:43 The hosts put together another nice 10-0 run to gain some separation, extending the lead to 62-51. Five different players contributed points burst, before closing out the 65-55 win.
Middlebury's defense was stellar over the final 10 minutes, limiting the visitors to only 12.5 percent (2-16) from the floor.
Knox recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while blocking two shots, eclipsing 100 for her career (101). Davis chipped in with 15 points and nine boards, while Kuntz netted nine points. Kira Waldman had a balanced performance with six points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Durnin paced the Cardinals with 16 points, while Mya Smith and Walker each scored eight. Taylor Clare led Plattsburgh State with 10 boards.
Middlebury shots 42.5 percent (25-59), while holding the Cardinals to 32.8 percent (20-61). The Panthers held a 42-32 edge on the glass. The hosts were also a perfect 10-10 from the foul line.