The Oglethorpe women's basketball team missed 20 total free throws and shot 46 percent from the free throw line Saturday afternoon, spelling their doom in a 57-54 loss to Maryville (Tennessee) at Dorough Field House. The Stormy Petrels competed well overall in a game against a Maryville team that advanced to the sectional semifinals (third round) of the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament, and that came into the game with a 4-2 record. However, the visiting Scots converted on 74 percent of their free throw attempts and secured the victory because of it. The result broke the Petrels' 3-game winning streak and dropped them to 5-4 on the season.
Both teams played good defense over the course of the contest and the game was relatively even in terms of shooting from the field. Maryville converted on 32 percent of their field goal attempts to Oglethorpe's 30 percent, but the Petrels sank 33 percent of their shots from distance compared with 29 percent for the Scots. The Petrels also outscored Maryville 12-5 off turnovers and 7-3 in second-chance points.
Individually, the Petrels were led on the score sheet by sophomore guard Madi Foltz, who scored 12 points on 4-for-8 from the field overall, 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. She also collected 7 rebounds. Sophomore guard Bailey Charles recorded a team-high 8 boards while sophomore forward Lauren Ransom garnered the team lead in steals (4) and blocks (2). She finished with 10 points, as well. Sophomore guard Jada Triplett finished with 11 points on 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
The game went back and forth the whole way, with neither team able to gain much of an edge. The Scots led by as many as six points with 1:41 remaining in the contest, while Oglethorpe's largest lead was five with 7:31 to go in the second quarter. The game featured nine ties and 12 lead changes.
The teams found themselves deadlocked at 11-apiece after 10 minutes, but the Petrels pushed out to a bit of an advantage early in the second quarter. After Maryville took a 2-point lead with the first basket of the period, the Petrels went on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the contest, 18-13, with 7:31 remaining until halftime. The Scots jumped back into it with five straight points, though, and the teams continued to trade baskets. The visitors used a 6-2 mini-run at the end of the half to build a 27-23 advantage going into the break.
The Petrels began the second half with five straight points to build a 28-27 edge. The teams continued to go back and forth after that. The Scots had a 2-point advantage, 34-32, with 5:44 left in the quarter, but the Petrels responded with a 6-0 run to take a 38-34 lead of their own with 2:22 remaining in the period. Maryville used a 7-0 run after that to take the lead back, 41-38, with 1:24 left in the period. The Scots led 44-43 at the end of the third quarter and would not trail again, but the Petrels did not make it easy for them in the fourth.
The visitors pushed out to their largest lead of the contest to that point, 48-43, with 8:09 left, but the Petrels came back to tie the score with five consecutive points, making it 48-48 with 5:06 left. The Scots used an 8-2 run to build their largest lead, 56-50, with 1:41 left, but the Petrels kept fighting. They cut it to a 4-point game with a pair of Triplett free throws, then used a Triplett basket to pull to within two, 56-54, with 53 seconds remaining. Oglethorpe had a chance to tie the game with 10 seconds left, but couldn't get a shot to fall. They got the ball back with five seconds left down by three, but again couldn't get anything to fall.
"You're not gonna have a great chance to win the game when you miss 20 free throws," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "The fact that we were still in the game is a testament to our solid defense. The free throw performance is tough to swallow, but that's basketball sometimes. I thought we played pretty well other than that, and we have to bounce back from this quickly, as we've got another USA South team coming in tomorrow."
The Petrels host North Carolina Wesleyan Sunday at 4 p.m. from Dorough Field House. After that, they'll host the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18, before breaking for the holidays. They'll take on two more USA South teams, Methodist and Huntingdon, in that event.