Williamstown, Mass. – November 23, 2008 - The Middlebury Panthers (3-2) finished the Williams Tip-Off Classic 2-0 on Sunday with a come-from-behind victory over Springfield (2-2). The Panthers mounted a late rally to overtake the Pride by a score of 61-58.
Panther point guard Emily Johnson led all scorers with 19 points on 3 of 7 from behind the arc (5 for 13 overall). Johnson also went 6 for 6 from the free throw line, including two big shots from the charity stripe late in the game.
Pride center Lauren O’Connor led the offensive attack for Springfield, scoring 18 points on an efficient 9 for 12 from the field. O’Connor also pulled down 10 boards, second only to forward Corey Finch’s 15. Finch also finished the game with 13 points.
The Panthers enjoyed a huge advantage on the free throw line, going 14 for 18 to Springfield’s 2 for 2. The margin no doubt helped to make up for the Panthers being out shot by the Pride (38% to 33%) and out rebounded 46 to 40. The Panthers, however, also held a +6 turnover margin on the game, and were able to force some key turnovers down the stretch.
Springfield led for most of the second half until the Panthers rallied in the last two minutes. Down 56-51, Johnson would hit back-to-back threes for Middlebury to put the Panthers up 57-56. Springfield answered on an O’Connor turnaround in the lane just moments later to take back the lead 58-57, and seemed like they might hold on for the win when Middlebury was unable to convert on their next couple possessions.
With less than a minute left though, senior Panther guard Ashley Barron made what would prove to be the play of the game, stealing a Springfield inbound pass at half-court to start a Middlebury fast break. Barron would miss the lay up, but luckily teammate Lauren Sanchez was there with the follow to give Middlebury a 59-58 lead.
Springfield came up empty on the next possession and had to foul, but Johnson swished both free throws to make it 61-58. Springfield got two pretty good looks but couldn’t knock either down, and Middlebury held on for the win.
Seniors Emily Johnson and Ashley Barron were named to the All-Tournament team for Middlebury, while for the Pride senior Lauren O’Connor was tagged for the honor.