Suffolk held off a late surge by Middlebury, as the Rams earned a 56-53 win over the Panthers (7-15) in their season finale in Pepin Gym. Middlebury wraps up its season this weekend when they travel to Trinity Friday and Amherst on Sunday, while Suffolk hosts MCLA on Thursday.
Middlebury jumped out to a 6-0 lead early, including a put-back from Elizabeth Knox at the 16:50 mark. Suffolk answered with an 11-2 run, taking an 11-8 lead when Chelsea Campellone converted a conventional three-point play at the 11:30 mark.
Suffolk's Jennifer Ruys hit a jumper with 6:23 remaining to tie the game at 16-16. The Panthers went ice-cold for the remainder of the half, shooting 0-11 from the floor. The Rams were only able to score six points during the stretch, entering the half with a 22-16 advantage.
The Panthers came out of the break by scoring the first seven points of the second half, including four from Sarah Marcus to come within one at 23-22 with 16:31 remaining. Suffolk answered with a 6-0 spurt before Middlebury later tied the game (35-35) on a hoop from Scarlett Kirk with 8:05 left to play.
A three from Iliana Quadri put Suffolk back on top by a score of 44-39 with 5:54 remaining, but the Panthers would not go away. A steal from Knox and a hoop from Laura Lowry made it a 48-47 game with 2:44 left on the clock.
Ruys knocked down a pair of free throws for Suffolk with 58 seconds left, giving her team a five-point advantage at 54-49. Alexis Coolidge fed Marcus for a hoop with 41 seconds left and later scored from the paint on her own to bring her team within one at 54-53 with 19.6 seconds remaining.
Following a missed free throw from Suffolk, the Panthers called a timeout with the ball at midcourt with 14.1 seconds on the clock, trailing by one. Middlebury worked the ball around the perimeter before losing the ball out of bounds for a turnover. Ruys knocked down a pair of free throws on the other end of the court to seal the win for the Rams with 2.9 seconds left.
Kirk earned her seventh double-double of the season for Middlebury with 12 points and 17 rebounds in the game. She has now hauled down 17 or more rebounds in three of the last four contests. Marcus led Middlebury with 18 points, Coolidge added eight, while Knox had seven points and 10 rebounds. Lowry finished the contest with a game-high seven assists.
Ruys paced Suffolk with 18 points to go along with seven boards, Quadri scored 16, while Campellone added 10. Katie Murray finished with eight rebounds and three blocks.
After shooting 18.9 percent in the first half, the Panthers shot 53.3 percent in the second to finish at .343 for the night. Middlebury struggled from long-range, going 0-10 from behind the arc.
Suffolk finished the contest shooting 31.1 percent from the floor, but knocked down 14-17 (.824) from the charity stripe.