Women's Basketball Falls in First Game of Manchester Tipoff Classic

Women's Basketball Falls in First Game of Manchester Tipoff Classic

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team fell behind in the first half Friday evening against Benedictine (Illinois), entering the halftime break behind 36-21. The Stormy Petrels came back with a 26-19 performance in the third quarter to pull to within eight, but the Eagles secured the victory in the fourth quarter for a 75-65 victory over the Petrels on Day 1 of the Manchester University Main View Tipoff Classic in North Manchester, Indiana. The defeat dropped Oglethorpe to 0-2 on the young season.

Sophomore forward Lauren Ransom delivered her second double-double in as many games in a losing effort, scoring 14 points and collecting 13 rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Jada Triplett put up a team-high 15 points and four assists while converting five of six free throw attempts. The valiant effort by the two Oglethorpe sophomores would not be enough, though.

The Eagles began the game on a 9-0 run over the opening two minutes of the contest, but the Petrels responded with a 10-0 run of their own over a three-minute period to take a 12-11 lead with 1:31 remaining in the opening quarter.

However, Benedictine took a 15-13 edge into the second quarter and took control of the game in that period. They outscored Oglethorpe 21-8 in the second quarter to build a 36-21 halftime advantage. 

The Petrels responded in kind in the third quarter. They used a 12-1 run over a three-minute stretch to cut the Eagle lead to just five, 46-41, with 3:29 remaining in the third. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter and Benedictine led 55-47 headed to the fourth, but the Petrels outscored the Eagles 26-19 over the course of the period.

Benedictine began the fourth quarter with a 4-2 run, stretching their advantage out to 10 points, 60-50. From that point, the Petrels never could get closer than arm's length. Sophomore guard Bailey Charles hit a 3-pointer with just under six minutes to go, but the Eagles hit four straight free throws to build the lead back up. Four straight Oglethorpe points brought them back to within six, 67-61, with 3:03 remaining, but a pair of Benedictine free throws ended that run. Oglethorpe had one final chance after cutting the lead to 70-65 with 40 seconds remaining. However, a pair of Eagle free throws at the other end and an Oglethorpe miss all but clinched the game for Benedictine.

Benedictine converted 39 percent of their field goal attempts to Oglethorpe's 30 percent and shot 72 percent from the charity stripe to the Petrels' 62 percent. The Eagles also got to the line 39 times to Oglethorpe's 29. The Petrels outscored their opponent 17-6 in second-chance points and 24-12 in the paint, but the Eagles outscored them 26-19 off the bench.

"We simply dug a whole early that was too big to overcome today," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "We played hard in the second half, but we have to do a better job on the defensive end against good teams for 40 minutes. The effort was there in the second half and I was proud of our fight. I'm glad we're getting challenged early and I think it'll make us better in the long run as we continue to develop chemistry and consistency with our young group."

The Petrels will be right back in action Saturday afternoon on Day 2 of the Manchester University Main View Tipoff Classic. They'll take on St. Mary's (Indiana) at 1 p.m. to close their stay in North Manchester. After that, they'll return to Dorough Field House for their home opener against Wesleyan (Georgia) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.