Middlebury, Vt. - A 16-0 run to start the second quarter proved to be the difference, lifting the Middlebury College women's basketball team to a 62-50 victory over the visiting Trinity College Bantams in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) on Sunday in Pepin Gym. The Panthers improve to 14-5 overall and 4-2 overall, while Trinity falls 13-7 overall and 1-5 in the league. Trinity visits league rival Wesleyan on Ground Hog Day at 7 p.m.
The Bantams jumped out to a 9-2 lead on a three-point field goal by junior guard Becky Reifler (Garden City, N.Y.) with five minutes left in the opening quarter. The hosts answered with the next eight points, taking a 10-9 lead at the 2:22 mark on a layup by Sabrina Weeks. Trinity scored the final four points of the quarter, including a layup by junior center Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) for a 13-10 advantage.
Middlebury rattled off the decisive 16-0 run to start the second quarter, grabbing a 26-13 lead on a layup by Kira Waldman with 2:06 left. Waldman had eight points for the Panthers during the spurt, including two threes. The Bantams went scoreless over the first 8:09 of the stanza, committing four turnovers and missing their first 11 shots from the floor. Trinity closed the half scoring nine of the final 12 points, pulling to within seven (29-22) on a jumper from sophomore Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.).
The Panthers opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run, gaining their largest lead of the contest (40-25) on a three from Maya Davis with 5:15 remaining. The visitors chipped away at the deficit, moving to within five (43-38) on a pair of free throws from Erickson with just over a minute left. A three from Sarah Kaufman pushed the Middlebury lead back to eight at 46-38 after three quarters. The final quarter saw the Bantams cut the Panther edge to five on two separate occasions, as Erickson knocked down a jumper in the lane for a 50-45 score with 6:32 left. Trinity was unable to get any closer, as the Panthers knocked down 8 of 10 free throws over the final minutes.
Erickson led the Bantams with 16 points in addition to eight rebounds, while Kabari had eight boards to go along with seven points. Sophomore guard Meghan Lewis (Demarest, N.J.) chipped in with eight points and three steals. Davis paced Middlebury with 14 points to go along with eight boards, while Waldman added 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high four steals. Middlebury held an advantage in points in the paint (30-18) and limited Trinity to 27.1 percent (16-59) from the floor in the triumph. The Bantam defense forced 18 Middlebury turnovers.