The Oglethorpe women's basketball team put together its most comprehensive game of the season Friday evening at Dorough Field House, as they ran first-place Millsaps off the court in the first half en route to a 64-40 victory on Homecoming.
The Stormy Petrels led by 24 points at the end of the first half, outscoring the visiting Majors 40-16 over the course of the opening period. Millsaps led by four points in the very early stages of the contest, but the Petrels exploded with runs of 13-0 and 21-2 over the course of the first half to take the huge halftime lead. Junior guard Kristen Kennebrew scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line in the first half while sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and nine rebounds over the course of the period. She also passed out three assists, made three steals, and blocked two shots in the opening 20 minutes of play. The team corralled five offensive rebounds over the course of the first half and Hughes secured four of them.
The Petrels shot 37 percent for the game, but converted at a 54-percent rate over the course of the first half. They converted 78 percent of their free throws over the course of the game, as well, helping them to maintain their large advantage down the stretch. For the game, they held the Majors to just 31 percent from the field, including 22 percent in the first half. Millsaps was just 1-of-12 from three-point range, as well. The Petrels forced 28 Millsaps turnovers and scored 26 points off of them, outscoring the Majors 26-13 in that category. The Petrels also outrebounded Millsaps, 43-36, including 15-10 on the offensive glass, allowing them to outscore the Majors 13-6 in second-chance points. In addition, Oglethorpe outscored Millsaps 20-4 off the fast break.
For the game, Hughes finished with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Emily Buck finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting while Kennebrew wound up with her 13 points on 4-for-8 shooting.
The Majors got out to a quick four-point lead on a 6-2 run over the game's first three minutes. However, the Petrels would quickly take the lead and never relinquish it for the remainder of the game. They began their 13-0 run with 16:04 remaining in the opening half and led 15-6 at the end of it with 12:50 left. Millsaps scored three of the next four baskets to cut the Oglethorpe lead down to 17-12 with 10:58 left, but the Petrels would soon push the advantage out and leave the Majors in their wake. They began their 21-2 run at that point, a stretch which lasted almost 10 minutes and ended with the Petrels ahead by 24 points, 38-14, with 1:19 remaining in the first period.
In the second half, the Petrels picked up right where they'd left off after the first. They extended their 21-2 run by scoring the first four points of the period, resulting in a 27-4 run in all, bridged between the two periods. Oglethorpe pushed its lead out to its largest of the game, 54-22 with 15:17 left to play. They equaled that lead a couple more times over the course of the game and the closest the Majors got after that was the 24-point margin at the end of the game. The Petrels also were able to use the opportunity to spread minutes around, as they saw 10 of the 12 players who suited up reach double-figure minutes. Nobody played fewer than five minutes.
"The defensive effort in the first half was awesome tonight," said Head Coach Alex Richey, "and our intesity throughout the game was great. There's more work to be done Sunday, but our confidence is growing and that's huge going down the stretch."
With the victory, the Petrels improve to 9-11 on the season, 4-5 in SAA play. The latter mark puts the team in a four-way tie for third place in the league with Hendrix, Rhodes and Centre, three games back of second-place Berry.
They'll complete the weekend homestand by welcoming Birmingham-Southern into Dorough Field House Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans can gain free entry into the game by taking part in the National Girls and Women in Sports Day event beginning at 11 a.m. in the Schmidt Center.