The Oglethorpe women's basketball team moved to 4-1 on the young season Tuesday evening with an 82-41 victory over Wesleyan (Ga.) in Dorough Field House. The five-game start is the best for the women's basketball program since the 2008-09 team began the season with the same record.
The Stormy Petrels quickly took a big lead over the visiting Wolves, building a 12-0 advantage before Wesleyan scored their first basket. Oglethorpe continued building their advantage to the point where they led 41-24 at the halftime break. The Petrels continued in a similar fashion in the second half, outscoring their opponents, 41-17, in that period.
The Petrels outrebounded the Wolves, 55-39, and passed out 17 assists to Wesleyan's four. As a team, Oglethorpe forced a whopping 42 turnovers, outscoring the visitors 51-8 off of those turnovers. Oglethorpe also outscored Wesleyan 19-4 in second-chance points, 42-12 in the paint, 20-4 on the fast break, and 45-5 off the bench.
Sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes had a very solid outing for the Petrels, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 4-of-5 free-throw shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and swiping five steals. Sophomore forward McKenzie Fortson led the team with 11 rebounds while adding six points and contributing a pair of assists and a pair of steals. Additionally, sophomore guard Dannelle Carroll led the team with five assists and contibuted three steals while scoring eight points on 2-of-4 three-point shooting.
The game started with Oglethorpe outscoring the Wolves 12-0 over the first three minutes of action. After a couple of Wesleyan baskets, the Petrels embarked on a 27-16 run over most of the rest of the half, building a 41-21 lead, their largest of the first half, with 1:42 remaining. For the half, Hughes scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
In the second half, the Petrels continued to build their huge lead, scoring the first 17 points of the period. On the whole, they began the stanza on a 21-3 run, building a 62-27 lead with 12:32 remaining. A Wesleyan mini-run brought the lead back down to 30 points with 8:41 left, but the Petrels pushed the lead even further back out again, ending the game on a 16-5 run for the eventual 41-point victory.
"It's good to continue moving forward towards where we want to be," said Oglethorpe Head Coach Alex Richey. "We were able to get all of our players a ton of quality minutes tonight, and I was pleased with the effort all-around. It's good to be 4-1 on the season and it'll be good for everyone to have some time with family and friends over the next couple days before we head to LaGrange this weekend. I'm pleased with the start to the season that our team has put together."
In LaGrange, Ga., the Petrels will take part in the annual SAA/USA South Classic. They'll take on a pair of USA South teams on the weekend, as they get set to play Piedmont at 2 p.m. Saturday before taking on hosts LaGrange at 4 p.m. Sunday.