The Oglethorpe women's basketball team played one of their best games of the season against Berry Saturday night in Dorough Field House, and picked up a hard-fought 67-62 victory for their efforts.
Unlike in the first game between the two teams in December, Berry got off to the early lead in this one, but the Stormy Petrels slowly fought back, culminating in a big second-half run that led to their second victory over the Vikings this season.
When Berry took a seven-point lead with 13:13 remaining in the game, building off their slim one-point halftime advantage, it looked as though the Petrels were going to come up just short. However, the Petrels turned the game on its head starting at that point.
They embarked on a 21-7 run over the next 9:30 and turned a seven-point deficit to a seven-point advantage with 3:42 remaining in the game. The run culminated in back-to-back baskets from sophomore forward Ali Bleckley. From there, the Petrels needed to hit free throws to salt the game away, just like in the first game at Berry. They managed to do it, as sophomore guard Emily Buck hit four consecutive free throws off of one-and-one opportunities. When the last of the four shots went down, the Petrels held a 66-60 lead with 41 seconds remaining and got the ball back due to a flagrant 1 foul on the Vikings. That would prove too much for Berry to overcome.
Berry got themselves in position to win the game before the Stormy Petrel run with an 11-5 spurt, highlighted by a 5-0 run, early in the period. At the end of the run, they held their largest lead of the game, 46-39, with 13:13 left.
In the second half, the Petrels shot 38 percent from the field to Berry's 29 percent. Additionally, the Petrels shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and 75 percent from the line. The Petrels outscored the Vikings 34-28 in the second half. Additionally, they outscored them 11-0 off the bench in the period, and 7-2 in second-chance points. Freshman guard Ciara Hughes bounced back from a rocky first half to record six points and seven rebounds in the period for the Petrels, including four offensive boards.
The first half saw a back-and-forth battle, with neither team gaining much of an edge. Berry accumulated a 9-4 lead five minutes into the game, but the Petrels answered with a 10-2 run over the next five minutes, taking a 14-11 lead with 10:30 left in the half. Berry would answer that run, though, and would use a 9-4 stretch to take a five-point lead with 2:17 remaining in the half. However, two straight jumpers from sophomore forward Alana Bentley dropped the lead down to a single point at halftime.
For the half, the Petrels outshot the Vikings 43-to-30 percent, though Berry got to the free-throw line 17 times to Oglethorpe's seven. Sophomore guard Emily Buck showed well for the Petrels in the first half, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
For the game, the Petrels shot 40 percent from the field, 43 percent from the 3-point line and 73 pecent from the free-throw stripe, while the visiting Vikings shot just 29 percent from the field and the 3-point line and 77 percent from the free-throw line. Berry outrebounded Oglethorpe 49-37 over the course of the contest, including 21 offensive rebounds to the Petrels' nine. Despite that, however, the Petrels actually outscored Berry 9-8 in second-chance points. Additionally, Oglethorpe outscored Berry 20-5 off the bench.
Hughes had a slow night offensively, but made up for it with 12 rebounds, including five offensive boards, and three blocks. Meanwhile, Buck led the team with 17 points on 5-of-6 free-throw shooting, and Bentley added 14 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
The win improves the Petrels to 4-11 on the season, 2-2 in SAA play. This puts the Petrels in a tie for third place in the league at the end of this weekend's play. They will next welcome Centre, who's undefeated in conference play and tied for first in the leauge, on Friday at 6 p.m. The next day, they'll take on Sewanee at Dorough Field House at 6 p.m.