Middlebrook's clutch three propels women's basketball to 86-85 double overtime win over Nor'easters

Sophomore Julia Middlebrook hit the game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left in double overtime to clinch a thrilling 86-85 win for the Bates women's basketball team over the University of New England on Sunday, November 25, 2018. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Sophomore Julia Middlebrook hit a three-pointer with three seconds left in double overtime and the Bates women's basketball team won an 86-85 thriller over the University of New England Sunday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium. 

In a battle of attrition, the Bobcats (3-0) prevailed in their longest game since a triple overtime contest at Colby in 2011.

Bates trailed 84-81 when first-year Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) made a layup with 28 seconds left in the second overtime, trimming the UNE lead to one. Then the Nor'easters (2-4) went up 85-83 with 14 seconds remaining after Allie Goodman split a pair of free throws. 

After Bates called timeout, first-year Amaari Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.) found Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.) in the right wing and the sophomore connected to put the Bobcats up one.

UNE called timeout and the Nor'easters got one final chance to win the game. But an Elyssa Nicholas runner in the lane went off the back iron, setting off a celebration and improving the Bates women's basketball team's record to 3-0 for the first since since 2004-05. 

Four Bates players finished in double figures. Graff paced the Bobcats with 17 points. She dished out five assists and made 8-11 free throws. First-year Mia Roy (Bedford, N.H.) poured in 16 for Bates and first-year Ariana Dalia (Brick, N.J.) added 14 points and five rebounds. Junior Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.) chipped in 11 points and six rebounds. Binkhorst, Roy and Dalia all eventually fouled out in a game that saw a combined 62 fouls committed. 

Ashley Coneys led all scorers with 21 points for the Nor'easters. Meanwhile, Jocelyn Chaput tallied a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds. Both players eventually fouled out, as did Sadie Nelson, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Nicholas added 14 points on 5-9 shooting off the bench for UNE.

The game featured 18 ties and 10 lead changes. Neither team led by double figures at any point in the contest. The Nor'easters shot 43.7% from the floor and Bates finished with a mark of 38.7%. The Bobcats shot 9-18 from three, including the Middlebrook game-winner. Middlebrook finished with six points, three rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Taylor McVeigh (Hanson, Mass.) led all players with 42 minutes played, tallying seven points and hauling in a team-high seven rebounds.

Bates scored 30 points off 25 UNE turnovers while the Nor'easters scored 17 points off 23 Bobcat turnovers. 

The Bobcats found themselves down 40-31 with 5:29 left in the third quarter after a Coneys layup. Dalia answered with a three and Roy converted an old fashioned three-point play with 3:55 left in the third to trim the deficit to 40-37. A Coneys layup extended the UNE lead to 42-37 and a Nicholas jumper put the Nor'easters up seven with 3:29 to go in the quarter. 

Trailing 46-40 with less than 90 seconds remaining in the third, the Bobcats got six straight points from Binkhorst to tie the game at 46 heading into the fourth quarter.

Roy got the scoring started in the fourth quarter by drilling a three. The Bobcats appeared to pull away late, with Graff converting a three-point play with 2:33 left in regulation to give the Bobcats a 60-52 advantage, their biggest lead of the game

But the Nor'easters chipped away, starting with a Nicholas three. The teams traded free throws and Nelson made a layup with 1:23 to go, trimming the Bates edge to 62-59. After a Bates turnover, Coneys converted a layup to make the score 62-61. McVeigh split a pair of free throws and Coneys drew a foul with eight seconds left. She made both her free throws to tie the game at 63, forcing overtime.

In the first overtime period, the Bobcats went up 67-63 on a Roy three with 3:57 left. Coneys made a layup with 2:39 remaining to cut the Bates lead to one. Then Nicholas split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 68. Senior captain Erika Lamere (Weston, Mass.) converted a three-point play to put the Bobcats ahead 71-68 with 1:58 to go in overtime. But as they'd done all afternoon, the Nor'easters answered, with Coneys converting a three-point play of her own. 

The teams traded free throws down the stretch of the first overtime period and the game went to double overtime tied at 75.

Nicholas hit a three to put the Nor'easters up 80-78 with 3:31 left in double overtime and the Nor'easters led for the remainder of the period until Middlebrook's game-winning three.

The Bobcats are back in action Tuesday when they host the University of Maine-Farmington at 7pm.