The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got their season off on the right foot Friday evening, as they defeated Wesleyan (Ga.), 57-50, in Macon, Ga., behind a solid defensive effort.
The Petrels jumped out to an early lead in Macon, going on an early 8-0 run to give themselves a 12-4 lead with 12:14 remaining in the half. Back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guards Emily Buck and Gabby Cole provided the two big blows in the run. Wesleyan briefly cut the Petrel lead back down to 12-8, but that was as close as they would get for the remainder of the half. Oglethorpe quickly pushed the lead back out to eight points after a jumper from freshman guard Raegan Merryman with 7:30 left and led by as many as 11, 25-14, with 4:35 remaining. The squad closed out the half with a 30-22 lead. The Petrels held Wesleyan to 30 percent shooting for the half, while only shooting 23.8 percent themselves.
In the second half, the two teams traded baskets for the first several minutes, but Wesleyan eventually embarked on a run that would put them right back in the thick of the game. After the Petrels took an 11-point lead, 43-32, off a conventional three-point play from Buck, Wesleyan ran off the next 10 points and pulled to within one, 43-42, with 4:47 remaining. With the home crowd creating a raucus atmosphere as the Wolves came back, the Petrels settled back down and put the game away. They went on a 14-5 run to basically close the game out. When Buck made two free throws to put the Petrels up 57-47 with 16 seconds left, it essentially put the game away, ensuring an excellent start to the season for the Petrels.
For the game, the Wolves actually outshot the Stormy Petrels 36.6 to 26.7 percent, but Oglethorpe forced 29 Wesleyan turnovers while committing just 18 of their own. In addition, the Petrels shot 65 percent from the free-throw line while the Wolves shot just 53.1 percent.
Buck led all Petrel scorers with 16 points and five steals, while freshman guard Ciara Hughes contributed 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Alana Bentley pulled down 11 rebounds of her own while tallying seven points.
The Petrels will next be in action on Wednesday, when crosstown rival Emory makes a visit to Dorough Field House for Oglethorpe's home opener. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.