The women's basketball team took the No. 23 ranked team in the nation to the limit on Sunday afternoon before ultimately falling in overtime to Centre College, 74-71. The Petrels held a 7 point lead, their largest of the game, with two minutes to play in regulation but the Colonels rallied to tie it and went on to victory in the extra session.
Oglethorpe showed excellent poise in the first half as they showed the Colonels they meant business on this Sunday afternoon. They kept the Colonels within reach the entire half by clamping down defensively and forcing a bevy of turnovers. Despite the fact that Centre drilled 6-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in the opening stanza, Oglethorpe trailed just 30-26 at the break.
The second half was incredibly compelling basketball as the score was tied five times while also changing hands four times. The Petrels took their first lead of the half on a jumper by Sarah Giles with 16:53 to play and then battled neck and neck with the Colonels for next 10 minutes of action.
The Petrels trailed by two points with less than 6 minutes to play before Sarah Jones tried to put the team on her back and guide them to victory. Jones scored a bucket to tie the score at 51 and then followed that with a three-ball to push Oglethorpe in front by three. After getting a defensive stop, Jones capped her 7 straight point outburst with a driving layup to push the Petrels ahead by five.
Oglethorpe pressed the margin all the way to 7 with 2:03 to play when Giles took a feed from Mareva Bone and scored. The Colonels rallied with a three pointer, a layup and a free throw to trim the lead down to one before Bone was fouled with 44 ticks left and the Petrels clinging to a 61-60 advantage. Bone converted the first free throw but missed the second and Centre's Chelsea Benham converted two tries from the stripe on the other end to tie the score at 62. Oglethorpe held for the last shot but Jones' three went begging to set up overtime.
The two teams traded buckets and three pointers to start the overtime session before Centre forged ahead with 1:40 left on two Maggie Prewitt free throws. Bone tied the score at 71 apiece with a bucket with 37 ticks left and Oglethorpe actually got a stop on the other end and could have held for the final shot again. Instead, the Petrels raced upcourt where Prewitt forced a steal from Jones. Prewitt then went the length of the floor, scored and got fouled with 13 seconds left to seal the game. Jones got off a possible game-tying three but the shot was off target.
Jones led three Petrels in double figures with 16 points on the afternoon. Bone posted 12 points while Giles tallied 10 and grabbed 8 rebounds. Katie Weeks finished her final game on Pinholster Court with 9 points, 5 rebounds and three steals.
The Petrels are now 8-16 on the season and will close out the 2011-12 campaign this Saturday night when they face Birmingham-Southern in Alabama.