Women's Basketball's Comeback Falls Just Short, 86-82

Women's Basketball's Comeback Falls Just Short, 86-82

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team fell behind by 16 points in the second half against Hendrix Sunday afternoon in Conway, Ark., but the Stormy Petrels almost made it all the way back, cutting the Hendrix lead to a single point with a minute to go. The home-standing Warriors were able to close the game out in the end, though, 86-82.

After the Petrels jumped out to a six-point lead over the game's first 10 minutes, Hendrix outscored them 36-17 over the remainder of the opening half and took a 52-39 lead into the break. The Warriors extended that to a 16-point advantage early in the second half, but the Petrels outscored Hendrix 35-20 over the next 17 minutes to cut the deficit to just a single point before Hendrix put the game away in the end.

The Petrels shot 37.1 percent over the course of the game while Hendrix converted at a 43.3 percent rate. The Petrels outshot their opponents from the three-point line, 38.9-to-30.4 percent, and shot 82.1 percent from the free-throw line to Hendrix's 79.4. The Petrels also outscored Hendrix 36-30 in the paint.

Individually, sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes recorded another double-double in the loss, scoring 25 points on 9-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. She grabbed 13 rebounds and made a couple of steals. Junior guard Kristen Kennebrew scored 21 points on 7-of-14 from the floor, including a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. She also passed out a team-high five assists. Senior guard Aisha Atwater scored 12 points on 1-of-3 from three-point range and 3-of-3 from the foul line while leading the team with three steals.

Hendrix went on a 10-3 run to start the game with a 12-5 lead, but the Petrels played very well for a stretch directly after that. They went on a 15-2 run over the next four minutes to take a six-point lead, 20-14, with 11:54 left in the first half. It would be their largest lead of the game. Hendrix would answer with a 13-4 run and take a 29-26 lead with 7:23 left in the half. The Petrels scored back-to-back buckets to briefly take the lead back, but the Warriors this time went on an 18-2 run to take a 47-33 lead with 1:59 left in the half. They would lead by 13 at the break.

A string of three straight baskets early in the second half pushed the Hendrix lead out to its largest of the game, 60-44, with 17:57 left. A 10-4 Oglethorpe run made it a 10-point game again, but the Warriors hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the lead right back out to 16 points with 13:02 left. The Petrels began their comeback at that point, however. They went on a 10-2 run to cut the Hendrix lead to eight with 9:40 left, then, after the Warriors were able to push the lead back out to 14 points, they went on a huge push. The visiting side embarked on a 13-0 run over the next 4:15 to get within a single point with less than a minute remaining in the game. The Petrels missed a shot to tie the game, though, and Hendrix buried four free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

"We dug too big of a first-half hole, but I'm proud of our second-half effort and our fight," said Head Coach Alex Richey. "This is a tough place to pick up a road win and, although losing two hurts, we are gaining confidence in ourselves as we get closer to the postseason."

The loss drops the Petrels to 10-13 on the season, 5-7 in SAA play. They sit in fifth place in the league going into the final weekend of the season. They'll be at home for the final two games against Sewanee and Centre. They'll take on the former Friday at 6 p.m. and the latter Sunday at 1 p.m. Friday will be Senior Night for the Oglethorpe women's basketball program.

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