The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used a stirring fourth-quarter comeback to knock off the homestanding Sewanee Tigers 74-68 Friday evening in Sewanee, Tennessee, splitting the season series with them and securing their first conference road win of the season. The Stormy Petrels outscored Sewanee 25-9 over the course of the final stanza, turning around a 10-point deficit at the start of the period and a 13-point shortfall with 1:37 to go. The result improved the team to 12-12 on the season and 6-7 in Southern Athletic Association play, securing them no worse than fifth place in the league.
Down 56-43 with 1:37 to play in the third and 59-49 entering the fourth quarter, the Petrels began by trading trading a two for a three and falling behind 62-51 with 8:49 to go. They began their run at that point, though, hitting back-to-back baskets and then scoring six straight after a Sewanee bucket to cut the Tiger lead to 64-61 with 5:24 remaining. The two teams traded a couple of baskets and Sewanee still held a 3-point lead, 68-65, with 4:13 to go. The teams combined for a two-and-a-half-minute drought after that, but a 3-pointer from freshman guard Bailey Charles tied the game at 68-68 with 1:58 remaining. Oglethorpe took their first lead since the opening period when freshman forward Lauren Ransom made a jump shot with 1:24 to go, giving them a 70-68 advantage. With less than a minute left, Charles made a huge steal and then buried a jump shot at the other end, putting Sewanee in big trouble, down 72-68 with 32 seconds remaining. A Tiger 3-pointer came up short with 19 seconds left and the Petrels got the defensive board. They secured the game at the free throw line. In all, the Petrels outscored Sewanee 31-12 over the game's final 11 minutes.
Ransom had an excellent game, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds on 6 of 8 from the field. She also made three steals on the evening. Charles added 18 points on 7 of 14 from the field and 3 of 3 from 3-point range, while senior guard Emily Buck contributed 15 points on 5 of 12 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Brooke Simpson led the team in steals with four while grabbing seven rebounds.
The Petrels got off to an early 8-3 lead in the game's first 5:30, and they still led 11-6 with 2:55 left in the first, but Sewanee began a run that would help them push their lead out to arm's length. They outscored the Petrels 12-1 over the remainder of the quarter and went on a 21-9 run overall over a 9:30 period bridging quarters, pulling out to a 27-20 lead with 3:16 remaining in the first half. The Petrels quickly cut it to 27-25 with consecutive baskets from Buck, but Sewanee responded with consecutive 3-pointers to end the half and build a 36-27 lead.
The Petrels were able to get the Sewanee lead down to 42-37 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter, but the Tigers pushed it back out with a string of 3-pointers, going on a 13-4 run to build a 54-41 lead with 2:18 left in the third period.
Overall, Oglethorpe shot 46 percent for the game when compared to Sewanee's 43 percent. Both teams sank 39 percent of their 3-point attempts while the Petrels hit 68 percent of their free throws to Sewanee's 65 percent. Oglethorpe outrebounded Sewanee in a big way, 41-24 overall and 14-5 on the offensive glass. As a result, the Petrels outscored the Tigers 12-5 in second-chance points.
"There's no quit in this team," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "We continued to fight and believe that we could win even when the deck was stacked against us late. We persevered for a road win, which is something we have not had a lot of this season. We've got one more chance to improve before the SAA Tournament, so we have to refocus for a dangerous Centre squad."
The Petrels will take on the Colonels Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. from Danville, Kentucky, in the final game of the regular season. A victory and a Rhodes loss at Millsaps on Sunday would earn Oglethorpe a share of fourth place in the final league standings. Regardless, the Petrels are guaranteed to face off against the Lynx in the 4 vs. 5 quarterfinal of the SAA Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, Feb. 26. The two teams split the season series to this point, each winning on their home floor.