The Oglethorpe women's basketball team converted 6 of 10 field goal attempts and made 7 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter Friday night in Jackson, Mississippi, allowing them to outscore the homestanding Millsaps Majors 22-13 in the final period and pull away for a 65-56 victory at the Hangar Dome. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 12-5 on the season overall and 5-1 in SAA play. The latter mark means they maintain a 1-game lead for sole possession of first place in the conference.
With the game tied at 43-43 headed into the fourth quarter, the Petrels pulled away by controlling the final period. After a Millsaps 3-pointer at the outset, Oglethorpe went on a 10-0 run to build a 53-46 lead with 6:03 remaining in the contest. The Majors fought back and cut the Petrel advantage to a single point, 55-54, with 3:53 on the clock. However, Oglethorpe did not look back from that point, outscoring Millsaps 10-2 over the remainder of the contest to secure the 9-point win.
Millsaps had built their largest lead of the contest in the third quarter, outscoring the Petrels 12-3 over the opening 5:15 of the period after the visitors held a 28-27 advantage at halftime. Oglethorpe was able to embark on a 12-1 run of their own over the next 3:15, though, turning the 8-point deficit into a 43-40 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
The teams went back and forth in the first quarter, with Millsaps taking a 13-10 lead after the opening 10 minutes. In the second quarter, Millsaps used consecutive 3-pointers to push out to a 27-20 lead with five minutes left before halftime. The Majors didn't score again in the half, though, and the Petrels pulled ahead 28-27 going into the break.
Freshman center Savannah LeGate led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-11 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. She also recorded three blocks. Sophomore guard Sydney Long collected 19 points on 3-of-6 from long distance and 8-of-9 from the free throw line, while junior guard Bailey Charles scored seven points and grabbed five boards.
The Petrels won the game at the free throw line, converting on 20 of their 23 attempts for an 87 percent success rate despite only shooting 31 percent from the field overall. That allowed them to overcome Millsaps shooting 38 percent from the field. Oglethorpe forced 23 Major turnovers while committing just 15 themselves, and outscored the home side 20-7 off those takeaways.
"Winning on the road is so big at this time of year," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "Our defense and rebounding in the fourth quarter were awesome and we executed on the offensive end down the stretch. The telling stat for us was our free throw shooting, and making them down the stretch showed maturity from our group."
The Petrels will continue to Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday afternoon, where they'll go against Birmingham-Southern at 2 p.m. Eastern. Next weekend, they'll welcome both Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern to Dorough Field House.