MIDDLEBURY, VT - Despite outscoring the Panthers in the third and fourth quarters, the Williams College women's basketball team (8-9/2-3 NESCAC) fell to the Middlebury College Panthers (15-2/4-1) 76-62.
"I thought we started the game well, we were following our game plan; second quarter when they went on a run we just panicked and lost it on both ends of the floor," contended head coach Pat Manning. "I'm happy with how we competed third and fourth quarters and we fought back. We'll build from this and keep going."
Two Middlebury players carried the top scoring spots: Colleen Caveney with 17 and Catherine Harrison with 15. In addition, two Midd players, Betsy Knox (nine points) and Kira Waldman (14 points) snagged eight rebounds apiece. Eph co-captain Lauren Vostal was the top scorer for Williams with 15 points, followed by her fellow co-captain Lexi Jones with 13. Junior Emily Peckham was the top rebounder for Williams with seven.
An early three-points from junior Emily Chang, who is one of Williams' leading scorers, put the Ephs on the board. However, Middlebury built up an early lead with Harrison and Knox taking the bulk of the Panther's points first period. Williams' Jones shone particularly in points, sinking six baskets for 11 points total, making her the only player to make it into double-digit points in the first period. However, the Ephs spent much of the first quarter working off a seven-point deficit to tie with the Panther 17-17 before going into the second.
It did not take long for the Ephs to recapture the lead, with junior Katie Brule scoring the point to tip Williams into being up 20-19 over the Panthers. However, this streak of good luck didn't last, as Middlebury opened up for a overwhelming run against the Ephs. Midd's Caveney and Waldman would go on to score 11 and 13 points respectively, with three other Panthers putting points on the board as well, putting Midd up 49-27 at the half.
With things looking bleak from the Williams bench, the team set out to make up for an unfortunate second quarter. The Eph's defense tightened up, no longer letting Middlebury achieve the scoring heights they had previously. Six different Ephs put points on the board, with Vostal and sophomore Gabby Martin contributing five each to help Williams outscore Midd 20-15 in the third, cutting a 22-point deficit to 17.
Vostal also had a good fourth, sinking eight points for Williams to help the Ephs once again outscore the Panthers for the fourth quarter 15-12. Coming off a 22-point deficit to 14 by the end of the game, the Ephs lost gracefully with Midd coming in strong at 76-62.
"We'll regroup at practice on monday and we'll keep working to put together forty minutes," said Manning. "It's inconsistency that hurt us; we played pretty well for three quarters but it's one that hurt us."
The Ephs will face off against the Smith College Pioneers on Tuesday, January 22 at 7:00 PM.