The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used a 29-4 run to storm back from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter and beat Manchester 66-54 Friday night at Dorough Field House on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic. The Stormy Petrels outscored the visiting Spartans 25-9 in the third quarter and 41-20 over the course of the second half to bounce back and improve to 5-5 on the season.
The Petrels were down by as many as 16 points in the first half, but used a blazing 52 percent shooting performance in the second, including an impressive 63 percent from three-point range, to turn the tables on Manchester. Meanwhile, Oglethorpe held the Spartans to 31 percent shooting and 0-for-3 from three-point range in the second half.
Senior guard Emily Buck garnered a season-high 21 points on 4-for-11 from three-point range, while freshman forward Lauren Ransom picked up her fifth double-double of the campaign, scoring 19 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. In addition, Ransom blocked four shots and made three steals. Freshman guard Bailey Charles scored 12 points on 2-of-2 from three-point range. Senior guard Aisha Atwater led the team with five assists.
Down 39-28 with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter, things had not been going well for the Petrels. However, they started their massive run at that point, embarking on a 29-4 spurt over the next 10:24 to turn the contest completely around. This stretch included 13 straight points over a 3:40 period to begin the run. The Petrels tied the game at 39-39 on a free throw by Ransom with 5:02 remaining in the quarter. They then took the lead on a Ransom put-back with 3:59 left. After Manchester re-tied the score, the Petrels took the lead for good, 42-41, on a Buck free throw with 3:07 remaining in the period. They pushed their advantage to as much as nine late in the third quarter, then extended it out in the fourth. After Manchester stopped the run with consecutive baskets, the Petrels scored five straight points of their own to build their largest lead, 82-46, with 5:28 left in the game. They still led by 16 points with 4:51 remaining and were not seriously threatened down the stretch.
That was a very different story from the first half. After the Petrels jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, the Spartans went on a 26-7 run of their own over the next 11:22, building a 27-11 advantage with 5:38 remaining in the first half. A 7-1 mini-run over the next 1:30 got the Petrels to within 10, but the two teams would trade baskets for the remainder of the half. Manchester led 34-25 at the break.
For the game, both teams shot 38 percent from the field with Manchester converting on 36 percent of their long range shots to Oglethorpe's 35 percent. The Petrels outrebounded the Spartans 43-36, including an impressive 17-7 margin on the offensive glass. The Petrels also outscored the Spartans 26-18 in the paint.
"We were playing hard in the first half," said Head Coach Alex Richey, "but not necessarily smart. After settling down and staying disciplined on the defensive end, we really were able to change the momentum of the game in our favor. Credit to Manchester for their effort throughout the game. They are very well-coached and play hard, which certainly made us better. It's good to play quality teams such as this as we get closer to the bulk of conference play."
The Petrels will be back in action on Day 2 of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic Saturday, when they take on FDU-Florham at 5 p.m. from Dorough Field House. The Devils defeated Belhaven in Friday's opening game.