The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got its season off to an excellent start Tuesday evening with a 70-67 exhibition victory at in-state opponent Reinhardt in Waleska, Ga.
The home-standing Eagles, for whom the game was an official contest that will count toward their record, ran out to a nine-point lead to start the game. However, the Stormy Petrels were able to mount a rally and take their first lead of the game with eight minutes remaining in the first half. At the halftime break, they led, 34-33.
In the second half, the Petrels extended their lead out to a 12-point margin, 53-41, with 12 minutes to go in the game. However, Reinhardt mounted a comeback of their own, chopping the lead down and taking a lead of their own with 2:45 remaining. The two teams traded baskets for a couple minutes and Reinhardt maintained a 67-65 advantage with a minute to go.
The Petrels held the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead and they took advantage of the opportunity. Junior guard Emily Buck dished to junior forward Kendelle Culpepper, who buried a go-ahead three-pointer to give the Petrels a 68-67 lead with 45 seconds left. From that point, Oglethorpe got a couple of defensive stops and made a pair of free throws to win the game, 70-67.
Sophomore guard Ciaira Hughes recorded a double-double, tallying 20 points and 10 boards on the evening. Despite foul trouble, Buck had a solid night, as well. She only accrued 16 minutes, but scored 15 points over the limited playing time.
"I think we got everything we wanted out of this game," said Head Coach Alex Richey. "Everybody who got in the game was prepared and contributed to the performance. It was a total team effort, and we look to improve even more moving forward toward our regular season opener."
The Petrels will open their season at Covenant next Saturday. The game is scheduled to tip off from Lookout Mountain, Ga., at 4 p.m.