No. 4 Women's Basketball Downs Middlebury, 60-38, in NESCAC Opener

No. 4 Women's Basketball Downs Middlebury, 60-38, in NESCAC Opener

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Hannah Fox '20 recorded her third double-double on the season as No. 4 Amherst College women's basketball opened New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) play with a 60-38 road win over Middlebury Friday night in Pepin Gym.

The Mammoths tally their ninth consecutive triumph and first conference victory as they improve to 12-1 (1-0 NESCAC) on the season. Middlebury drops their third game on the year, moving to 10-3 (0-1 NESCAC)

Amherst jumped out to a 9-2 lead on a three from Madeline Eck '20 at the 5:16 mark of the first quarter before Middlebury responded with a 7-0 run, sparked by a two and a conventional three-point play from Maya Davis, which tied the game at 9-9 with the 2:47 remaining. Eck and Hannah Fox '20 netted a pair of jump shots to end the first quarter with the Mammoths holding a 13-9 edge.

Knocking down a jumper with 7:24 on the clock in the second stanza, the lead hovered around eight (19-11) before Gabrielle Zaffiro '22 put the Mammoths up 30-20 with four seconds remaining in the first half. Stealing the ball off the ensuing inbounds pass, Fox converted a layup at the buzzer to place the Mammoths up 12 at the intermission.

Outscoring the Panthers 19-11 in the second period of play, Amherst was shooting 50% from the field and 100% from the free-throw line, while Eck (12) and Fox (10) accounted for 22 of the 32 first-half points.

In the third quarter, Middlebury was able to cut the lead to eight (34-26) on a hoop from Betsy Knox but the Mammoths responded with a 7-0 run, and eventually led 44-30 after three.

In the final frame, Amherst scored 12 of the first 15 points and shot 50% from the field to slowly extend their lead, on the way to the 60-38 win.

Reeling in her third double-double on the season, Fox led with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds, adding seven steals and five dimes, while Eck shot  3-4 from downtown and 6-9 from the field, ending with 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

Amherst won the bench battle with 20 points to Middlebury's six, but the Panthers held a 30-29 advantage in rebounds. Shooting 43.6% on the game from the floor, the Mammoths finished with 12 assists and 30 points in the paint.

Davis and Kira Waldman each scored 11 to pace Middlebury, with Waldman grabbing seven boards. Knox finished with her eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Mammoths have a quick turnaround as they travel to Williamstown, Mass. tomorrow, Jan. 11th, to take on Little Three foe Williams in their second conference matchup at 3:00 p.m. Middlebury plays host to Hamilton tomorrow with their NESCAC duel tipping off at 3:00 p.m. as well.