Women's Basketball Closes Regular Season with 74-65 Loss at Berry

Women's Basketball Closes Regular Season with 74-65 Loss at Berry
The Oglethorpe women's basketball team closed their regular season in Mount Berry against the in-state rival Berry Vikings Saturday. Unfortunately, the Stormy Petrels failed to come away with the victory falling to the Vikings 74-65. Despite the loss, the Petrels were already locked into the No. 1 seed in next weekend's SAA Tournament, an event which they will host at Dorough Field House Feb. 23 through 25. 
The Petrels were in first place in the SAA for the vast majority of the season and ended the campaign with an 11-3 conference record, to go with an 18-7 overall mark, earning themselves their first SAA regular season championship. 
The first quarter was a tightly-fought matchup where the teams spent most of the period on even terms. The Vikings were able to shoot 50 percent from the field and held the Petrels under 30 percent shooting in the first. Even with the large difference in shooting percentage, the Petrels were only down one entering the second quarter, 17-16.
The second began with both teams trading baskets until the score was 20-19 with the Vikings leading.  At that point, the Vikings embarked on a 16-0 run, giving them a 36-19 advantage. The Petrels regrouped with a timeout and were able to develop a 9-0 run in the last five minutes before halftime. The Petrels ended the quarter trailing 36-28. The Vikings shot an impressive 81 percent from the field for the quarter and outscored Oglethorpe 22-12.
The Petrels would never recapture the lead, but they would come within two points of the Vikings with 5:16 left in the third, 43-41. However, Berry went on an 11-2 run to end the third. The Petrels entered the fourth behind 54-45. The Petrels and the Vikings would both score 20 points in the final period, which allowed the Vikings to seal a 74-65 victory. 
The Petrels forced the Vikings to commit 22 turnovers and scored 25 points off of those turnovers. The Vikings ended the game shooting 54.9 percent, while the Petrels only connected on 36.1 percent of their shots.
The impact players for the Petrels were sophomore guard Taylor Dodson, sophomore guard Sydney Long and freshman center Savannah LeGate. Dodson led her team with 19 points and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Long recorded 10 points, three assists and two steals. LeGate earned another double-double with 16 points and 17 rebounds. She also recorded a pair of blocks.
"Credit goes to Berry," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "They played lights out tonight and shot the ball extremely well. We continued to battle and compete, but they were just one step ahead of us all game. We can't dwell on this one, as our goals are ahead of us and we're excited about the opportunity to host the SAA Tournament in Atlanta next weekend."
The Petrels are set to take on the No. 8 seed Millsaps Majors on Friday in the opening round of the SAA Tournament.