LEWISTON, Maine -- Sophomore Julia Middlebrook scored 11 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bates women's basketball team past the Hamilton Continentals by a final score of 60-52 Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.
Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.) made all four of her shots, including a pair of three-pointers, for the Bobcats (10-10, 2-6 NESCAC) down the stretch. She finished 6-8 from the floor overall in 27 minutes off the bench. First-year Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) also scored 16 points, making 7-13 from the floor. And first-year Ariana Dalia (Brick, N.J.) scored 12 points, grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and dished out a game-high five assists.
Halie Serbent paced the Continentals (10-8, 0-6 NESCAC) with 12 points on 4-6 shooting. Carly O'Hern scored 11 points and Marie Steiner added 10. Mia Caterisano came off the bench to chip in seven points on 3-5 shooting and five rebounds.
Graff and Middlebrook combined to score all of the Bobcats' points in the fourth quarter. The teams traded buckets to start the final 10 minutes of action. With the score tied at 44, Dalia stole the ball from the Continentals and Graff found Middlebrook on a backdoor cut to put Bates up 46-44 with 9:02 left in the game. O'Hern answered on the other end with a layup of her own to even the score at 46.
With 6:20 remaining, Middlebrook hit a jumper from the corner to give the Bobcats the lead again. But Hamilton answered with an Elizabeth Arnold layup.
With the score tied at 48 and the shock clock winding down, Middlebrook hit a three from the left wing that banked in to give Bates a 51-48 lead with 4:38 left in regulation. The Bobcats did not surrender this lead, with Middlebrook hitting another three with 3:03 to go, putting Bates up 54-48.
The Continentals did make it interesting down the stretch, scoring four unanswered to trim the Bates edge to 54-52 with 1:47 left on a Steiner jumper. But with 1:27 remaining, junior Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.) found Graff for a huge three-pointer. Graff followed that up with a layup and Middlebrook split a pair of free throws to ice the game.
Binkhorst delivered yet another balanced effort with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Bates outscored Hamilton 16-8 in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats led by five at the end of the first quarter, with Dalia scoring eight of her 12 points in the opening 10 minutes. After shooting 47.1% in the first quarter, the Bobcats struggled from the field in the second quarter as Hamilton chipped away. Bates took a 32-30 lead into halftime.
With 41 seconds left in the third quarter, the Continentals took a 44-40 lead on a Kayla Glemaud jumper. It proved to be their largest lead of the evening. Binkhorst made a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left in the third to trim the deficit to 44-42. Then Dalia recorded a huge steal and drilled a long two from the right wing at the buzzer, tying the game at 44 through three quarters of action.
Overall, Bates shot 43.6% from the floor and held Hamilton to 35.4% shooting. The Bobcats made 7-22 (31.8%) of their three-pointers and Hamilton hit 5-17 (29.4%). The game featured 10 ties and seven lead changes.
With the win, the Bobcats have earned their most victories in one season since 2014-15. They look to surpass that total with a win Saturday against No. 5 nationally ranked Amherst. Tip is set for 3pm at Alumni Gymnasium.