The Oglethorpe women's basketball team held a six-point halftime lead over No. 12 Wisconsin-Oshkosh Friday afternoon in Dorough Field House and extended their lead to 11 early in the second, but the visiting Titans answered with a 23-0 run to turn the game on its head and start their Holiday Inn Express and Suites Holiday Classic off on a good note.
The Stormy Petrels came back from a seven-point deficit in the first half to take a 30-24 lead at halftime, going on a 23-10 run to end the period. This was compounded by a mini-run to start the second half and a three-pointer from sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes gave the Petrels an 11-point lead, 35-24, with 18:50 remaining in the game. From there, UW-Oshkosh completely turned the game around. They embarked on a 23-0 run over the next 6:30 and, from the point where the Petrels had their largest lead to the point where the Titans had their's, outscored the Petrels 41-10 over a 15-minute period.
For the game, the Petrels wound up at 41.7 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three-point range. They held 50-percent marks in both at the half. UW-Oshkosh was shooting just 27.6 percent from the field at halftime, but they shot 56.3 percent in the second half and finished at 42.6 percent for the game. The Titans outrebounded the Petrels 41-28, including 17-4 on the offensive glass. As such, they outscored the Petrels 13-2 in second-chance points.
Hughes had another fantastic game for the Petrels, scoring 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds. Junior guard Emily Buck also played extremely well, contributing 16 points and passing out a pair of assists. Sophomore guard Dannelle Carroll led the team in assists with four, while sophomore forward McKenzie Fortson led in steals with two. She also dished out a pair of assists.
The game started extremely well for UW-Oshkosh, as they ran off the first seven points of the contest. However, the Petrels came back with a 7-3 run to cut the Titans' lead to three, 10-7. UW-Oshkosh pushed the lead back out to seven, but the Petrels began their big first-half run from there, embarking on a 16-4 spurt that game them a 23-18 lead with 5:47 remaining in the opening half. After a couple of Titan baskets, the Petrels finished the half on a 7-3 run to take a 30-24 lead into the locker room. Hughes had 11 first-half points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. She also grabbed five rebounds over the course of the period. Buck scored nine of her 16 points in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting.
The Petrels picked up right where they'd left off to begin the second half, scoring the first five points and extending their lead to its largest of the game, 35-24 with 18:50 remaining. Going back to the end of the first half, the Petrels had gone on a 12-3 run on the Titans to take the big lead. However, the Titans turned the game on its head from that point on, embarking on their 23-0 run over the next six-and-a-half minutes, turning an 11-point lead into a 12-point deficit. The two teams traded baskets for a couple minutes after that, but the Titans went on another run, this one a 12-1 stretch, to push their lead out to its largest, 66-45 with 3:39 to go. The Petrels went on a nice 14-6 run to finish the game and shrink the final margin to 13 points, but the damage had been done.
"The outcome was not what we wanted, but there's no doubt that we go better today," said Head Coach Alex Richey. "I was very proud of our group. I think being able to push the No. 12 team in the country shows that we are moving in the right direction. This should hopefully give us more confidence moving into conference play."
Before the 5-6 Petrels can begin conference play, they will have one more very difficult non-conference test. They'll welcome undefeated No. 16 Transylvania to Dorough Field House next Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. After that, they'll head into SAA play, which will begin on Friday, Jan. 9 against another ranked team, No. 23 Rhodes.