The Oglethorpe women's basketball team lost a close game to heavily-favored Howard Payne on Friday evening, fighting valiantly against the heavily-favored Yellow Jackets before succumbing, 74-65.
In the first half, Howard Payne took an early eight-point lead, 11-3, but Oglethorpe quickly came back to within one with just over 12 minutes remaining in the half. Howard Payne hung onto their slim lead for several more minutes, but the Lady Petrels overtook them with six minutes left in the half, taking a 26-25 lead. They extended their lead to as many as four points, 32-28 after two free throws by forward Alana Bentley, with 4:30 remaining in the half. However, the visiting Yellow Jackets went on a bit of run to close out the half and retake the lead, 43-40, at halftime.
In the second half, Oglethorpe came back to take the lead again briefly, 49-48, with 15 minutes remaining, after a Bentley layup. However, Howard Payne went on an 18-6 run over the next 11 minutes to take a 66-55 lead with four minutes remaining.
The Lady Petrels mounted a 10-3 rally over the next three minutes to cut the deficit to four points with a minute left, but that's as close as they got and they eventually fell 74-65.
Center Sarah Giles had a huge game, especially in the first half. She finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, but 18 of those points came in the first period. She also grabbed nine rebounds. Guard Emily Buck chipped in 10 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting. Forward Ali Bleckley had nine points and eight rebounds.
The 2-7 Lady Petrels will complete their Country Inn and Suites Holiday Tournament schedule Saturday at 1 p.m., when they take on Anderson (Ind.) in Dorough Field House.