The Oglethorpe women's basketball team came back on Day 2 of the SAA/USA South Classic in LaGrange, Ga., after Saturday's loss, looking to pick up a win in a road game against a tough LaGrange team. They gave a game effort but came up short in the end as the hosts won, 81-58, dropping the Stormy Petrels to 4-3 on the young season.
Just like on Saturday, the Stormy Petrels played a solid first half, going into the break down by just five on the home-standing Panthers, 36-31. However, LaGrange outscored them 45-27 in the second half to pull away for the 23-point win. The Petrels shot 29.8 percent for the game, including 15.6 percent from three-point range. Meanwhile, LaGrange shot 54.7 and 30 percent, respectively, while outrebounding the Petrels, 43-30. Oglethorpe did take care of the ball pretty well, turning it over just 14 times while forcing 19 turnovers on the other end.
Individually, the Petrels got a double-double from sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes, who scored 14 points and grabbed 10 boards while contributing four steals. She was 4-of-8 from the field over the course of the game. Junior guard Kristen Kennebrew added 13 points and two assists while going 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.
In the first half, the two teams traded baskets for large stretches. The Petrels led by as many as three points, 14-11, with 9:55 remaining in the opening period. Back-to-back baskets got the lead back for LaGrange and they began a 20-10 run over the next seven minutes, pulling out to a 31-24 advantage with 2:46 remaining in the opening half of play. The Petrels used a 5-1 mini-run to get back to within three, 34-31, with 40 seconds remaining in the half, but a Panther basket before the break gave them their five-point advantage.
The home side began to pull away in the second half of play. After a Hughes basket to cut the lead back to three, LaGrange embarked on a 13-2 run to take a 49-35 lead with 16:35 left. After Oglethorpe cut that lead back down to eight points, the Panthers pushed it out again, going on a 26-10 stretch that gave them a 24-point edge, 77-53, with 2:43 remaining. It was their largest lead of the game and they were able to secure the victory from there, winning 81-58.
"It was a rough weekend for us," said Oglethorpe Head Coach Alex Richey. "We have to get back to work in practice this week. We're capable of competing at a higher level than we showed this weekend, and we look to show it in our SAA opener on Thursday night in our home gym, which will be our biggest game of the year so far."
The 4-3 Stormy Petrels now get set to take on in-state rival Berry in the aforementioned SAA opener Thursday night at Dorough Field House. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Petrels were able to sweep the season series from the Vikings last year. After Thursday, the Petrels will travel to Huntingdon on Sunday before taking a break for finals.