Women's Basketball Pulls Away with Outstanding Second Half, Defeats N.C. Wesleyan 70-60

Women's Basketball Pulls Away with Outstanding Second Half, Defeats N.C. Wesleyan 70-60

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used an impressive second half performance against North Carolina Wesleyan Sunday afternoon to pull away for a 70-60 win in Dorough Field House. The Stormy Petrels outscored the Battling Bishops 38-26 in the final 20 minutes of the game and turned around a 34-32 halftime deficit. The victory improved the Petrels to 6-4 on the young season.

The Petrels used several outstanding performances to pick up their sixth win in their last eight contests. Sophomore guard Jada Triplett enjoyed her best game as a Petrel so far, pouring in 27 points on 9-of-15 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. She also grabbed 6 rebounds and passed out 4 assists. Sophomore forward Lauren Ransom picked up her customary double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore center Alexandria Brown collected 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go with 8 rebounds.

Oglethorpe shot the ball well as a team, converting at a 44 percent clip while holding North Carolina Wesleyan to 30 percent. They also converted on 63 percent of their free throw attempts, including going 8-for-10 in the fourth quarter.

The contest began in back-and-forth fashion. The Bishops started by pushing out to an early 6-3 edge over the opening 2:15, but the Petrels bounced back with a 13-6 run over the final seven minutes of the opening period. They took a 15-12 lead into the second.

Oglethorpe continued their run to begin the second quarter, making it a 20-8 run in all over a 10-minute stretch and building a 22-14 lead with 7:50 left in the first half. North Carolina Wesleyan went on a run from there, though, outscoring the Petrels 13-2 over the next 3:50 to take the lead back, 27-24, with 4:24 remaining until halftime. Oglethorpe countered with an 8-2 mini-run to take a 32-29 lead late in the half, but the Bishops scored five straight to take a 34-32 lead into the break.

The second half began with the teams trading 3-pointers, but the Petrels settled in and slowly started to build their advantage. They embarked on a 12-3 run early in the third quarter to take the lead back, 47-40, at the 5:03 mark. After the Bishops cut it to four, the Petrels pushed the lead back out with a 7-2 spurt to build a 54-45 advantage with 1:51 remaining on the clock in the third quarter. 

North Carolina Wesleyan used an 8-0 run bridged across the quarter break to get back to within a single point, 56-55, with 8:49 left in the game, but the Petrels used one final push to put the game on ice. They outscored the Bishops 14-3 over an 8-minute stretch to put themselves on top 70-52 within the game's final minute.

"This was a good bounce-back win for us after the craziness of our Saturday game," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "North Carolina Wesleyan is as athletic and physical as anyone we will play, and we responded well by continuing to play hard on both ends. Our second half defense was strong and the way we closed possessions out by getting big rebounds down the stretch was the difference in the game. Now it's time to focus on finals for the next couple of days, before prepping for the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic next weekend against two more tough opponents."

The Petrels will host that classic Saturday and Sunday from Dorough Field House. They'll take on Methodist at 6 p.m. Saturday and Huntingdon at 4 p.m. Sunday. Meanwhile, Centre will serve as the fourth team and will go against Huntingdon Saturday at 4 p.m. and Methodist Sunday at 2 p.m.