Panthers lose game on last-second free throws

COACH KELLY KRASCO and members of the Middlebury women’s basketball team celebrate Panther Augusta Dixon’s kickoff with 1.8 seconds left in their home game against Skidmore on Saturday. Unfortunately, Skidmore had three free throws with a tenth of a second left to secure the victory. Independent photo / Steve James

SOPHOMORE PANTHER FORWARDER Emily Downer hits the window in the Middlebury College Women’s Basketball Team’s 68-66 home loss to Skidmore on Saturday. The Panthers fell to 2-1.
Independent photo / Steve James

MIDDLEBURY – Skidmore’s visit improved their record to 4-0 and handed the Middlebury College women’s basketball team their first loss on Saturday, 68-66. The 2-1 Panthers were next due to travel to Castleton on Tuesday after the holiday deadline for this issue of the Independent, then will be off until they welcome Lyndon this next Tuesday.

Skidmore’s Clare Driscoll made three free throws with 0.1 seconds left in regulation to give the Thoroughbreds the victory in a game that saw several changes in lead.

The Panthers got the upper hand, 12-6, but Skidmore managed an extended push to lead, 21-16, at 7:02 of the second quarter. The Panthers responded with a 12-2 run over the next 3:12, capped by a Claire Miller layup, and eventually Middlebury took a 30-26 halftime lead.

Out of the break, the two teams traded small leads for much of the third quarter, and eventually Middlebury led, 50-45, after three periods.

Middlebury scored 52-45 on a jumper from Alexa Mustafaj to open the fourth quarter, but a 10-4 Skidmore scored by a three-point play from Kate McCarney made it a close game until the end.

The Panthers took a 64-60 lead on two Miller free throws with 44 seconds left, but Skidmore scored the next five points, capped by McCarney three, to bring the score to 65-64. Panther Augusta Dixon sank a jumper running down the right side with 1.8 seconds left to get her team back on top.

But after a Thoroughbred timeout moved the ball forward, Driscoll took the incoming pass, got around a screen at the top of the touchline, and was fouled while attempting a three-point shot before reversing the throws. francs to create the final score.

Mustafaj led Middlebury with 19 points left with six rebounds and three steals, while Miller had 15 points and eight best rebounds. Dixon and Reagan McDonald each scored 10 points, and McDonald added a record six assists.

Skidmore’s Julia Blanck led all scorers with 23 points and 14 rebounds. McCarney scored 19 points and Driscoll added 12.

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