The Oglethorpe women's basketball team claimed a come-from-behind victory over Sewanee on Friday night, beating the Tigers 79-77 in Sewanee, Tenn. Junior guard Kristen Kennebrew connected on a three-point shot with just 2.1 seconds left in the game, giving the Stormy Petrels the two-point advantage and eventually the win, improving the team to 7-11 on the season, 2-5 in SAA play.
Several Oglethorpe players had impressive performances in the road win. Junior guard Emily Buck had an incredible night, leading the team with 26 points in the contest, including a perfect 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Her 100-percent performance at the line now moves her season free-throw percentage to 93.3, a mark which is sure to keep her in the nation's top five. Sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes had another double-double against the Tigers, compiling 22 points and 16 rebounds. Kennebrew had eight points in the game, including the game-winning three-pointer. Senior guard Aisha Atwater also helped the Petrels in the win with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
The teams kept the game even for most of the night, which included nine ties and 15 lead changes. The Petrels had the lead early, going on a 5-0 run to take a six-point lead at the 15:28 mark in the first half. However, the Tigers quickly took the lead with a 7-0 run, putting them ahead of the Petrels by one. With the game tied at 16-apiece near the midway point of the half, the Petrels made their move with an 11-2 run that gave the team a nine-point lead, their largest of the game. However, the Tigers answered immediately with a 12-4 run of their own to cut the Petrel lead to just one point with five minutes to play before halftime. Both teams battled for the lead but would go into halftime tied at 41.
The teams traded the lead in the opening minutes of the second half before the Tigers began to separate themselves, taking a four-point lead with 15:14 left in the half. The Petrels fought back with a 9-0 run to go up by five with 13:10 left in the game. Sewanee fought their way back into a tie with Oglethorpe, and the lead went back and forth between the teams for several minutes. Then a 9-0 Tiger run put the Petrels down by seven points with under eight minutes left to play. But the Petrels dug deep and created another offensive run, this time a 9-1 run that put the team back on top by one with just 2:53 to go in the contest. After tying the game once again, the Tigers took the lead by a point after a made free throw by Sewanee guard Jamie Chauvin. With the Petrels needing just two points to win, the ball ended up in the hands of Kristen Kennebrew, who sank what would end up being the game-winning three-pointer with just 2.1 seconds remaining. The Tigers were not able to score in those couple of seconds, giving the Petrels the thrilling road win.
"I am going to lose all my hair with these close games," said Head Coach Alex Richey. "I'm very proud of our fight for 40 minutes, though. There is no quit in this group and that's special. We got some big-time performances from Hughes in the first half and Buck in the second, and for Kennebrew to have the confidence to take that last shot is huge. We'll enjoy this one for the rest of this evening, but we've got a tough matchup at Centre Sunday afternoon."
With the win, the Petrels move into a tie with Sewanee for sixth place in the SAA. They will finally conclude their five-game road swing in Danville, Ky., on Sunday. There, they'll take on Centre at 1 p.m. Eastern. After that, they'll return home next weekend to take on both Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern.