MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- The Bates women's basketball team cut a 17-point deficit to eight early in the fourth quarter, but host Wesleyan University ended the game with a 21-4 run to defeat the Bobcats 67-42 Friday night.
Tara Berger and Caleigh Ryan each recorded a double-double for the Cardinals (11-7, 3-3 NESCAC). Ryan, who was held scoreless in the first half, helped lead the Wesleyan run as she dropped 18 in the final 20 minutes of play.
Junior Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.) scored a team-high 11 points and added nine rebounds and six steals for Bates (8-9, 1-5 NESCAC).
The Cardinals' stifling defense held Bates to 15 points in the first half. The teams exchanged points early on and were tied at 7-7 for roughly four minutes until a layup by Chynna Bailey followed by a 3-pointer from Marina Petruzzi in the final 57 seconds gave the home squad a 12-7 lead after one.
Wesleyan opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run as a jumper by Gorman at the 6:02 mark put the Cardinals on top 19-7.
Seconds later, with 5:47 on the clock, sophomore Julia Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.) made a basket to snap Bates' 11-minute scoreless streak. But a 3-point play by Berger shortly after gave the Cardinals a 25-9 advantage with 4:07 to play in the half. After a big second quarter, Wesleyan entered the break ahead 30-15.
It was a different story in the third quarter, with both teams exchanging runs. After a free throw by first-year Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) capped off an 8-2 run, Bates trailed 35-24 with 7:01 on the clock. However, Wesleyan responded with a 7-0 run of its own to go ahead by 18.
The Cardinals were held scoreless for the final 3:19 of the third as Bates scored six unanswered to trail 42-30 entering the fourth.
The Bobcats continued to cut into the lead, and a 3-point play by Binkhorst at the 8:32 mark capped off a 14-4 run as they trailed by eight.
Wesleyan remained composed, however, and three consecutive 3-pointers by the Cardinals (two from Ryan and one from Olivia Gorman) helped put the game away. Ryan scored 10 points in the quarter on 4-of-5 shooting.
The Cardinals dominated the glass and held a 64-36 advantage in rebounds, while outscoring the Bobcats in second-chance points, 17-4.
Four players scored in double-figures for Wesleyan. Ryan scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds (nine offensive). Berger scored 10 points and pulled in a game-high 14 boards. Gorman scored 18 points and Petruzzi finished with 10. Ava Tompkins led all players with four assists.
Bates plays at NESCAC foe Connecticut College Saturday at 3pm.