Women's hoops falls at Middlebury in NESCAC quarters

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The Bates women's basketball team overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half to tie the game with 3:58 left, but host Middlebury's late 12-0 run propelled the Panthers to a 75-64 win in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship.

Fourth-seeded Middlebury (14-11) advanced to the NESCAC semifinals for the first time since 2002, while fifth-seeded Bates ends the season at 12-12. The Panthers will advanced to next weekend's championship weekend at Amherst, after top-seeded Tufts was upset by #8 Bowdoin. Middlebury will take on Williams at 7:30, while the hosts entertain Bowdoin at 5:30 on Saturday.

Bates senior captain Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) scored a game-high 24 points in her final game as a Bobcat, with six rebounds and five assists. Also finishing their Bates careers, senior captain Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) had eight points and six rebounds, and senior captain Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine) scored seven points before fouling out in 15 minutes of action.

Bates junior Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while junior Julia Rafferty (Reading, Mass.) had four assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals. Playing in her first game since Dec. 8 after a layoff due to injury, first-year Chelsea Nason (Boxford, Mass.) contributed six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes.

Middlebury led 8-6 early before an 8-0 run by Bates gave them a 14-8 advantage with 13:15 left in the first half. Trailing by five at the 7:55 mark, the Panthers went on a 7-0 spurt to cut the lead to a pair at 27-25 with 5:04 remaining. Laura Lowry had five of the seven points, including a three-point play. With the game tied at 30-30, Middlebury scored nine of the game's next 11 points to take a 39-32 advantage with less than a minute to play in the half. A three from Beaulieu and a late bucket by Middlebury's Rachel Crews left the Panthers with a 41-35 halftime advantage.

The Panthers extended their lead in the second half as a 9-2 run put them up 56-43 with 13:54 left in the first half. Middlebury went ice-cold at that point, missing its next nine shots as they went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal. Shooting 5-9 from the line, the Panthers found themselves in a 61-61 tie with 3:58 remaining when a bucket from Lowry broke the drought. Not only did the field goal end the drought, it sparked a game-deciding 12-0 run that put Middlebury up 73-61 with seconds remaining in the game. Lowry hit a two and a three during the run, with seven points from Katie Pett.

Tracy Borsinger finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for Middlebury, followed by Lowry with 17 and five boards. Pett finished with 13 points, eight caroms and three steals, Scarlett Kirk netted nine with four assists, while Kate Logan scored eight.

For the second time in her career, Beaulieu tied Bates' team record for 3-pointers in a game, with six, while extending her own career record for threes to 206 -- 56 more than any other player in team history. She also established the team single-season record for threes, finishing with 64 on the year to pass Lauren Dubois' former record of 60 set in the 2003-04 season. Beaulieu finishes her career with 1,170 points, passing Lisa Kelley '86 (1,166) into seventh place on Bates' all-time points list.

O'Connell made both of her free throws in the game, meanwhile, to finish the season with a team-record .900 free throw percentage (27 of 30).