Middlebury hung with top-ranked Tufts (23-0, 9-0) for three quarters, but the Jumbos outscored the Panthers 29-12 in the final frame to pick up a 77-54 win. Middlebury (12-11, 1-8) wraps up its season on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. game at Bates.
The two teams traded points to open play, before Lily Kuntz put the Panthers ahead with a three. Cailin Harrington cut the lead to one with a jumper, before Middlebury went up three again with a hoop from Betsy Knox. Down by three, Emily Briggs made a jumper that brought the Jumbos within one, 15-14, ending first quarter of play.
A Sofia Rosa jumper to go along with a three from Harrington put Tufts ahead four (23-19) at the 4:11 mark. The Panthers answered with shot from beyond the arc from Kira Waldman and a jumper from Michaela Sullivan to go ahead 24-23 with 3:16 to go. The hosts closed the half on a 12-6 run to lead 31-29 at the break.
Middlebury scored the first eight points of the third quarter to take its largest advantage of the game (37-31) with 5:09 on the clock. Tufts responded with a 10-0 run at the 2:44 mark, going up 46-41 late in the quarter, before taking a 48-42 advantage into the final frame.
The Jumbos controlled the fourth quarter, holding the Panthers scoreless for the first 3:45, while extending the lead to 57-42. Tufts converted 8-17 shots in the final frame and sank 10-12 free throws, pulling away for the 77-54 victory.
Knox and Kuntz each scored 12 for the Panthers, while Waldman finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and tied a career-high with seven assists. Claire Miller finished with six points and a career-best nine boards.
Erica DeCandido led all scorers with 20 points for Tufts to go along with seven rebounds, while Molly Ryan scored 13 and grabbed nine boards.