The Middlebury women's basketball team dropped its opening conference game of the season, falling by a score of 60-38 at the hands of fourth-ranked Amherst (12-1, 1-0) Friday night in Pepin Gym. The Panthers (10-3, 0-1) return to action tomorrow when they host Hamilton at 3:00 p.m., while the Mammoths will visit Williams with the same start time.
Amherst jumped out to a 9-2 lead on a three from Madeline Eck at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter. Middlebury responded with a 7-0 run, sparked by a two and a conventional three-point play from Maya Davis to tie the game a 9-9 with the 2:47 remaining. The Mammoths scored the final four points of the quarter to hold a 13-9 edge.
Eck knocked down a jumper with 7:24 on the clock in the second session to put the guests up 19-11. The lead hovered around eight with Gabrielle Zaffro putting her team up 30-20 with four seconds remaining, before Hannah Fox stole the inbounds pass and converted a layup at the buzzer for a 12-point advantage at the intermission.
Middlebury cut the lead to eight (34-26) early in the third quarter on a hoop from Betsy Knox. Amherst responded with a 7-0 run, and eventually led 44-30 after three.
In the final frame, Amherst scored 12 of the first 15 points and slowly extended its lead, on the way to the 60-38 win.
Davis and Kira Waldman each scored 11 to pace Middlebury, with Waldman grabbing seven boards. Knox finished with her eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Amherst's Hannah Fox led all scorers with 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds, seven steals and five assists. Eck added 15 points in the win on 6-9 shooting. The Amherst defense forced 23 turnovers in the game, cashing in for 24 points.