The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got back on the winning track Sunday afternoon against Centre, and did so in style. Their 65-45 victory over the Colonels at Dorough Field House snapped the team's 3-game losing streak and improved them to 8-10 on the season overall, 3-5 in Southern Athletic Association play.
The Stormy Petrels jumped on Centre right away, smothering them with pressure defense and building a 19-2 lead with 1:38 remaining in the opening period. The Colonels got untracked a bit offensively late in the period, but Oglethorpe set the tone for the game with a 23-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Colonels worked their way back into the contest over the course of the middle two periods, outscoring Oglethorpe 15-8 in the second and 20-13 in the third. They got their deficit down to as little as five points a couple times, the latest being with 6:10 remaining in the third.
The Petrels turned it on from there, however. They went on a 7-1 spurt over 2:13 to push their advantage back out to 11 points, 44-33, with 3:27 left in the quarter. After Centre answered with three points of their own, the Petrels fired off another run, scoring the final seven points of the period over a 2:40 stretch and building their advantage back up to 15 points, 51-36, headed into the fourth.
Having built their large lead back, Oglethorpe looked to put the game away in the fourth, and were able to do just that. After the Colonels pushed their way back to within 11 a couple minutes into the quarter, the home team embarked on a 7-2 run over the next couple minutes that pushed their advantage out to 61-45 with 5:45 left. The Oglethorpe defense also shut down the Colonels down the stretch, not allowing a point in the final 6:11. In all, Oglethorpe finished the game on an 11-2 run over the final 7:30, allowing them to cruise to victory.
The Petrels got some excellent individual performances on the day, with freshman forward Lauren Ransom leading the way with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Freshman guard Bailey Charles added 13 points and 4 steals of her own on 5 of 10 from the field and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, freshman center Alexandria Brown collected 10 boards and 7 points.
After falling behind by 17 in the first quarter, the Colonels started to work their way back into the contest. They went on a 6-2 mini-run at the end of the first, then continued to push back in the second, slowly whittling the Oglethorpe lead down to eight points going into the break. In the third quarter, the Colonels began on a 7-2 spurt over a 3-minute stretch, cutting the Oglethorpe lead down to five points, 35-30, with 6:57 remaining. They still trailed by just five with 6:10 remaining, then Oglethorpe pushed it back out to the final margin.
For the game, the Petrels shot 34 percent from the field while Centre converted at a 34 percent clip. The Petrels hit 40 percent of their 3-point attempts, though, compared with the Colonels converting 20 percent of theirs. Oglethorpe shot 26 free throws on the afternoon, making 15 of them. The home team also outrebounded the Colonels 47-37, including 21-12 on the offensive glass. The Petrels forced 19 Centre turnovers.
"I'm very proud of the team for the effort they displayed throughout the game," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "We had a bunch of young players step up and grow and we had some seniors set the tone with their hustle and determination. It's always good to get a home win and we're looking forward to another opportunity to get better tomorrow."
The Petrels will travel to Marion, Alabama, Monday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern for a non-conference tilt with Judson. After that, they'll return home for their final two games on the Blacktop of the regular season. They'll take on Rhodes at 6 p.m. Friday and Hendrix at noon on Sunday.