The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got their Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic off to an excellent start Saturday evening at Dorough Field House, as they dominated the visiting Methodist Monarchs from start to finish en route to a 76-55 victory. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 7-4 on the season.
The Petrels jumped out to a commanding 52-22 lead at halftime and led by as many as 34 points along the way. Though Methodist outscored them in the second half, the damage was already done. Oglethorpe shot 46 percent from the field in the first half compared to Methodist's 31 percent. They also sank 67 percent of their shots from distance over the opening 20 minutes while the Monarchs hit just 22 percent. The home side also forced 16 Methodist turnovers over the first two quarters and outscored the Monarchs 26-2 off turnovers during that stretch.
For the game overall, the Petrels shot 37 percent from the field and 52 percent from 3-point range, compared with Methodist's 34 percent from the field and 13 percent from distance. From the foul line, the Petrels converted at a 79 percent rate while the Monarchs made 63 percent of their shots. The Petrels forced 27 Methodist turnovers and outscored them 39-14 off of them. Oglethorpe also dominated Methodist off the bench, outscoring them 41-14 in that category.
The Petrels enjoyed some excellent individual performances, as well. Sophomore guard Brooke Simpson had perhaps her best game of the season off the bench, scoring 12 points on 4-of-5 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range while adding 3 steals and a pair of assists. Sophomore guard Jada Triplett continued the type of excellent play that earned her the SAA Player of the Week award, scoring 16 points on 6-of-9 from the field and 4-of-5 from distance while passing out a couple assists. Senior guard Rebecca Spry collected 9 points on 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, passing out 3 assists and making 2 steals in the process.
After an early 5-2 deficit, the Petrels began to assert themselves on both ends of the floor. They outscored the Monarchs 23-4 over the remaining 7:30 of the first quarter, then continued the run into the second. In all, their run totaled a whopping 40-6 over 12 minutes of game time. The Petrels led 42-11 with 5:30 remaining in the opening half of play. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of the period, allowing Oglethorpe to maintain a 30-point advantage into the halftime break.
The Petrels scored five consecutive points quickly to build their lead to its largest of the game, 57-23, with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter. They were able to cruise home from there. The Monarchs outscored the Petrels 33-24 over the final 20 minutes, but Oglethorpe had done more than enough to secure the game in the opening half of play.
"We got off to a great start and put the game away early, which was exactly how we wanted to start this weekend out," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "We got a lot of players good minutes and gained them a lot of experience, which is always great for a young and growing team. We have a tough test tomorrow before we break for the holidays, but I'm very happy with how we played today."
The Petrels will conclude the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Classic on Sunday, when they take on Huntingdon at 4 p.m. from Dorough Field House. The Hawks defeated SAA foe Centre, 63-55, in Saturday's first game. Methodist will battle Centre in Sunday's first game, which is set to tip off at 2 p.m.