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Women's Basketball Heads to Middlebury for NESCAC Quarterfinals

Women's Basketball Heads to Middlebury for NESCAC Quarterfinals

Wesleyan University (16-7, 5-5 NESCAC) returns to postseason play for the first time since the 2013-14 season as the Cardinals earned the No. 5 seed in the 2018 NESCAC Women's Basketball Championships. Wesleyan will play at fourth-seeded Middlebury College (17-7, 6-4 NESCAC) this Saturday, Feb. 17, at 3 p.m.

< NESCAC Championship Central >

Amherst earned the top seed with a perfect 10-0 mark in league play, while Bowdoin took the No. 2 seed and Tufts claimed the No. 3 spot. The semifinals and final will take place on Feb. 24 and 25 at the highest remaining seed.

AT A GLANCE: NO. 5 WESLEYAN

  • The Cardinals enter the tournament having won seven of their last nine games.
  • The No. 5 seed is their highest seeding since the 2007-08 season in which they captured the No. 3 spot.
  • Wesleyan boasts a 16-7 overall record. The 16 wins are the most since the 2007-08 campaign.
  • The Cardinals lead the league in rebounding (46.5) and rank second in scoring at 68.5 points per game.
  • Wesleyan is holding opponents to 34.1 percent shooting from the field and also ranks second in the conference in assists per game (14.5).
  • Headlining the unit is Wesleyan's frontcourt, which consists of senior forward Maddie Bledsoe and junior forward Tara Berger. The duo ranks No. 1 and No. 2 in the NESCAC in rebounding, respectively. Bledsoe is averaging a double-double with 10.0 points and a league-best 10.6 rebounds per game, while Berger averages 10.6 points, 7.7 boards and a league-best 2.7 blocks per contest.
  • In the backcourt, junior guard Olivia Gorman leads the team and is tied for fourth in the conference in scoring (13.1) and senior guard Maeve Vitale ranks fifth in the league in 3-point percentage (41.4).
  • The Cardinals—in their 12th tournament—are seeking their first semifinal appearance since 2008. They are 4-12 all time in the conference postseason.
  • Wesleyan is 4-4 on the road this year.

AT A GLANCE: NO. 4 MIDDLEBURY

  • The Panthers are the No. 4 seed for the second straight season and third time overall.
  • Middlebury went 12-2 in the first half of the season, and has won four of its last six games entering the tournament.
  • The Panthers are one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the league at 74.2 percent and also rank fourth in assists per game (14.2).
  • Sophomore forward Maya Davis is the only player on the team averaging double-digit scoring with a team-best 10.8 points per game. She also leads the squad in rebounding with 6.4 boards per contest.
  • Junior guard Alex Huffman leads the backcourt with a team-high 3.0 assists per game.
  • The Panthers will be aiming for their first trip to the semifinals since 2013, as they pursue their first NESCAC title. They are 3-12 all time in the conference tournament with one runner-up finish.
  • Middlebury is 8-2 at home this year.

SERIES HISTORY:

  • Wesleyan is 2-1 against Middlebury in the NESCAC Championship.
  • The teams last met in the 2004 quarterfinals as the Cardinals came away with a 66-53 win.
  • Middlebury held the edge in the regular-season matchup, registering a 77-60 home win on Jan. 6.
  • The Panthers have won five straight against Wesleyan and own a 20-12 record in the all-time series.