The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got their SAA Tournament run underway on Friday night with a comprehensive 61-40 victory over No. 8 seed Millsaps. The victory means the top-seeded Stormy Petrels will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, where they'll take on No. 4 seed Berry. The win also improved the Petrels to 19-7 on the season.
The Majors hung with the Petrels throughout much of the first half, as the home side only led 16-15 after 10 minutes of play and it was still a single-digit game at halftime, 30-22. However, the Petrels turned it on in the second half, outscoring Millsaps 31-18 over the final 20 minutes.
The Petrels played very well at the outset, pushing out to a 16-7 lead over the opening five minutes of the contest. However, Millsaps responded by shutting Oglethorpe down over the remainder of the period, scoring eight straight points over the quarter's final five minutes to make the score 16-15 heading into the second.
Oglethorpe started the second quarter by extending their lead, scoring the first five points of the quarter to take a 21-15 lead with seven minutes left until halftime. Millsaps quickly cut it back to a 2-point game with a couple of made baskets, but the Petrels hit three straight baskets of their own and went on a 9-1 run to push their lead back out to double digits, 30-20, just before halftime.
An 11-3 run out of the gate for the Petrels set the tone to start the second half, giving Oglethorpe a 41-28 edge with four minutes remaining in the third. Oglethorpe was able to keep Millsaps at arm's length for the rest of the game. They rattled off three straight buckets to end the quarter, as well, giving themselves a 48-30 lead headed to the fourth.
Oglethorpe began the fourth quarter by extending to their largest lead of the game, a 53-31 advantage with 8:41 left. They cruised home from there, outscoring the visitors 13-10 in the fourth quarter.
Freshman center Savannah LeGate led the squad with 18 points and 11 rebounds, recording her league-leading 17th double-double of the season. She went 9-of-13 from the field and collected a pair of blocks. Sophomore guard Sydney Long scored 11 points and shot 3-of-8 from 3-point range, recording four assists and three steals. Sophomore forward Karlymarie Dyer added 11 points of her own on 3-of-6 from 3-point range and also finished with three assists.
The Petrels shot 40 percent from the field and held the Majors to 27 percent. They also forced 23 Millsaps turnovers, leading to a 22-8 advantage in points off turnovers. Additionally, the Petrels collected 18 assists for the game. Millsaps outrebounded Oglethorpe 42-35 for the game, but that was more than offset by Oglethorpe's advantage off of turnovers.
"I thought we really got off to a good start," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "I thought we did a good job of getting the ball to the high post in the second half, and of shooting with a little bit more rhythm and confidence. We did struggle a bit on the glass today, which is atypical of us. We'll need to shore that up as we go into tomorrow's game against Berry, as they did a good job of rebounding in our game with them last week. We're looking forward to the challenge, though, and are looking forward to coming back tomorrow to keep this thing going."
Berry beat Centre 61-41 in Friday's first quarterfinal, and beat the Petrels 74-65 in Mount Berry in the final game of the regular season. The two teams will face off at approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday for the right to play in the SAA championship game on Sunday.