Hartford, Conn. - After taking a 32-27 lead at the half, the Trinity College women's basketball team held on down the stretch to come away with a 59-55 victory over the Middlebury College Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Oosting Gymnasium in Hartford. The Bantams, who honored their five seniors before the game for Senior Day, improve to 16-4 overall and 3-3 in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play while Middlebury falls to 17-3 on the year and 4-2 in conference.
After trailing by five at the half, the Panthers made it a one-point game, 54-53, with 2:13 left on a made jumper by Betsy Knox (Bethesda, Md.). Trinity, however, held strong down the stretch, knocking down its free throws and playing a smothering defense to hold on for the victory. The Bantams sank five free throws and held Middlebury to just one field goal in the game's final two minutes.
Senior co-captain Erin Cunningham (Wilton, Conn.) led the Bantams with 16 points while classmate Courtney Erickson (Everett, Mass.) turned in a 10 point, four rebound performance. Sophomore guard Allie Morin (Westwood, Mass.) added nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench, while junior Peace Kabari (Manchester, N.H.) was a menace on defense, blocking five shots, collecting two steals and pulling down eight rebounds to go along with six points. Before the game, Trinity honored Cunningham, Erickson, senior co-captain Meghan Collins (Topsfield, Mass.), Erica Junquet (Monroe, N.J.) and Becky Reifler (Garden City, N.Y.) as part of Senior Day.
Middlebury was paced by Alex Huffman (Lynn, Mass.) who scored a game-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Maya Davis (Milton, Mass.) also finished in double-figures with ten points. Middlebury shot just 3-of-20 from beyond the arc and committed 16 turnovers. Both teams finished with 33 rebounds.
Erickson scored six early points in the first quarter to help the Bantams to a 21-15 lead after one. Both sides played a back-and-forth first half before Trinity took an 18-13 lead on an old fashioned three-point play by rookie Kaylen Campbell (Hillsborough, N.C.). Middlebury cut the deficit back to three on a layup by Colleen Caveney (Lowell, Mass.) before Morin answered with a triple with 42 seconds left to make it 21-15.
The Bantams took a 24-15 lead with 8:50 to play before the half on a three-pointer by Cunningham for its largest advantage of the game. Middlebury eventually cut the deficit to five at the half. The Bantams enjoyed a lead for a majority of the third quarter but the Panthers refused to back down. A jumper by Coveney with 2:03 showing made it a 40-38 lead in Trinity's favor before a hoop-and-harm by Davis gave the visitors a 44-42 lead with under a minute to go in the third. Reifler answered with a three-point play of her own to take back the lead before converting a layup with 14 seconds left to put the hosts ahead, 47-44 after three quarters of play. Trinity never trailed in the final quarter, surviving for a 59-55 victory.
The Bantams return action on Friday for their final home game of the season, a 7 p.m. matchup versus in-state NESCAC rival Wesleyan University.