Middlebury staves off women's hoops' furious rally

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tracy Borsinger scored 29 points and Middlebury held off a furious second-half rally by Bates for a 72-68 women's basketball victory on Friday night, in the NESCAC opener for both teams.

Rachel Crews added 14 points, Laura Lowry scored 10 and Katie Pett grabbed 13 rebounds to go with nine points for the Panthers (6-4, 1-0 NESCAC). Scarlett Kirk had five assists and eight rebounds.

Senior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) and junior Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) scored 19 points apiece for Bates (5-6, 0-1 NESCAC), while grabbing nine and eight rebounds, respectively. Sophomore Molly Brown (South Dartmouth, Mass.) scored 12 points off the bench in her first game since November, while junior Julia Rafferty (Reading, Mass.) doled out six assists and tied Kelly with a game-high three steals.

Middlebury dominated the first half, outscoring Bates 37-21 with 50% shooting from the floor (15/30) and 62.5% shooting from beyond the arc (5/8), compared to 23.5% shooting overall by the Bobcats and a 11.8% rate from three-point land (2/17). Borsinger made 3-of-4 from behind the arc in the period en route to 13 points.

Bates started out the second half with 11 unanswered points in the opening 2:25, cutting Middlebury's lead quickly to 37-32. The Panthers regained a 12-point cushion with a 7-0 run, with Borsinger figuring into all seven points: she assisted on a three by Laura Lowry, then converted a layup on an assist by Scarlett Kirk, and finally stole the ball from a Bates player at midcourt and coasted in for a layup and a 55-43 lead with 11:43 left to play.

The Panthers still led by a 12-point margin with 4:01 to play, at 66-54, before Beaulieu knocked down consecutive threes to make it a six-point game at 66-60 with 1:49 remaining. Bates maintained intense full-court pressure and got a steal and a layup by Julia Rafferty to make it 67-62 wiht 34 seconds left. After Pett made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line, Kelly drove for a layup and a three-point play, making it 68-65 with 18 seconds left. Borsinger made four straight free throws in the final 16 seconds, offsetting a three by Rafferty that made it 70-68 with five seconds to play. Borsinger's final two foul shots with 0.9 seconds left finally sealed the win.

Bates takes on Williams Saturday at 4pm (Live Stats / Video).