The Oglethorpe women's basketball team fell behind early and never recovered in the team's 48-41 Southern Athletic Association (SAA) home-opening loss Friday evening against Millsaps at Dorough Field House. The Stormy Petrels could not overcome a first half in which they shot 19 percent (5 for 26) from the floor and scored 15 points. The result dropped Oglethorpe to 5-7 overall, 0-2 in SAA play, after their first game of the new year.
The Petrels fought back in the second half, outscoring the visiting Majors 16-8 in the third quarter and whittling the deficit down to as few as eight points after trailing 31-15 at halftime and 35-15 early in the period. They worked the Millsaps lead down to three late in the game, but a 5-minute scoreless stretch during the fourth quarter proved to be too much to overcome.
Freshman forward Lauren Ransom led the Petrels with 10 points and seven rebounds. Freshman guard Bailey Charles added nine points and five boards to go with three assists, while senior guard Emily Buck led the team with four assists while scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds.
Down by 20 points with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter, the Petrels slowly started to work their way back into the game. From that point, they finished the third quarter on a 14-2 run and cut the Millsaps advantage to 39-31 headed into the final frame. They extended that run to 16-2 when Buck hit a pair of free throws to begin the fourth quarter, cutting the Millsaps lead to 39-33 with 9:48 left. Consecutive Major baskets pushed their lead back up to 10 a few minutes later, but a Ransom jumper made the score 43-35 with 6:01 remaining. Neither team was able to score another point for the next 4:54, though, with both teams tightening up on the defensive end. This state of affairs was fine with Millsaps, who continued to lead by eight points with just over a minute to play. The Petrels went on a 6-1 mini-run over a 30-second stretch to cut the Millsaps lead to just three points, 44-41, with 30 seconds remaining, but they would get no closer. The Majors made their free throws down the stretch and secured the 7-point victory.
Millsaps jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the first four-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter and, despite the Petrels cutting that down to a single point, went on a big run to push their advantage over the remainder of the opening half. They outscored Oglethorpe 9-4 over the remainder of the quarter, 25-10 over the remainder of the half, and 29-10 in all over a 15-minute period leading up to their 35-15 lead early in the third quarter. They outscored the Petrels 16-6 in the second quarter and 15-9 in the first.
For the game, Millsaps shot 35 percent (18 of 52) from the field and 13 percent (1 of 8) from long distance while converting on 58 percent (11 of 19) of their free throws. Meanwhile, the Petrels improved on their 19 percent first-half mark with 38 percent (9 of 24) from the field in the second. That added up to 28 percent (14 of 50) for the game, though, including 39 percent (5 of 13) from distance and 47 percent (8 of 17) from the free throw line. The rebounding and turnover battles were fairly even, with Millsaps getting the better of both (41-38 and 20-18, respectively). The Majors outscored the Petrels 28-10 in the paint and 8-1 in second-chance points. The Petrels scored 15 bench points, though, to Millsaps' five.
The Petrels will go in search of their first SAA win Sunday afternoon when they host Birmingham-Southern at 1 p.m. from Dorough Field House. They'll have their work cut out for them, as the visiting Panthers will enter the contest at a perfect 11-0 on the season. After that, the Petrels host a rematch against in-state rival Berry on Saturday, Jan. 16, before embarking on their first SAA road trip of the season.