Women's Basketball Falls to Centre to Conclude Regular Season, Finishes Fifth in SAA

Women's Basketball Falls to Centre to Conclude Regular Season, Finishes Fifth in SAA

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team rounded out their regular season Sunday with a 57-52 loss to Centre in Danville, Kentucky. The result drops the Stormy Petrels to 12-13 overall and 6-8 in Southern Athletic Association play, good for fifth place in the league headed into the SAA Tournament next weekend. Centre used a 17-7 second quarter to pull ahead of the Petrels, then hung on down the stretch in the second half for the five-point victory.

Down 41-33 headed into the fourth quarter, the Petrels got a basket from freshman center Alexandria Brown to cut the Centre advantage to 41-35. The Colonels scored five straight points to push their advantage back up to 11 points, but Oglethorpe went on a run from that point, outscoring Centre down the stretch to work their way right back into the game. Down 46-35 with 6:15 remaining, they scored five straight points to cut the Centre lead to 46-40. After the two teams traded baskets for a couple of minutes, the Colonels built their advantage back to eight points, 54-46, with 45 seconds left. Freshman forward Lauren Ransom sank a basket and a pair of free throws to make it 54-50 with 36 seconds remaining, then made another two free throws to cut the Centre lead to just 55-52 with 23 seconds left. They got a Colonel turnover on the next possession, but missed a shot to cut the lead to one with 19 seconds remaining. Centre got the rebound and made a pair of foul shots with nine seconds remaining, securing the victory. The Petrels outscored the Colonels 17-9 over the final 6:15 of the game.

The Petrels led 13-9 after the first quarter, but Centre began their run from that point. They outscored Oglethorpe 17-7 in the second quarter, using a 17-4 run before freshman guard Bailey Charles hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first half. Centre was up 26-20 at the break, but the Petrels quickly cut that to 28-24 a minute-and-a-half into the third quarter. Centre went back on a run after that, though, outscoring the Petrels 13-4 over the next six minutes. They built a 41-28 advantage, their largest of the game, with 1:31 left in the third quarter.

The Petrels pushed out to a lead early in the contest. Down 7-5 with 4:13 left in the opening period, Oglethorpe began an 8-2 run over the next 2:30 to push out to a 13-7 lead with 1:30 remaining in the quarter. They led 13-9 headed into the second.

Brown recorded her second double-double in the game, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 boards. She was 5 for 9 from the field. In addition, Ransom and senior guard Emily Buck both scored 11 points in the contest. Ransom went 7 for 9 from the field before fouling out late and Buck made 4 of 4 free throw attempts. Senior forward Ali Bleckley led the team with three assists on the afternoon and was 3 for 4 from the charity stripe. 

As a team, the Petrels shot just 24 percent from the field when compared with 42 percent shooting by Centre. The Colonels also made 33 percent of their 3-point attempts and 62 percent of their free throws. Oglethorpe made 77 percent of their free throw attempts, but just 11 percent of their 3-pointers. The Petrels forced 19 turnovers while committing 13 giveaways, but they only outscored Centre 15-13 off those turnovers.

"It was a tough afternoon for us shooting the ball," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "All the credit goes to Centre for making a few more plays and hanging on late. I'm looking forward to turning the page to the SAA Tournament and seeing how we do in that next weekend. It's like a brand new season and I think we'll be excited and ready to compete!"

With Oglethorpe's fifth-place league finish, they earn the No. 5 seed in the SAA Tournament and will take on No. 4 seed Rhodes Friday in Birmingham, Alabama, in the quarterfinal round. The start time of the SAA quarterfinals will be determined shortly. The Petrels and Lynx split the regular season series, each beating the other at home.