Women's basketball starts Richard Dardenne Memorial Classic with 70-56 win over Rose-Hulman

Women's basketball starts Richard Dardenne Memorial Classic with 70-56 win over Rose-Hulman

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team got their second solid win away from home in six days Saturday, beating a Rose-Hulman team that made the NCAA tournament in 2017-18 to kick off their stay at the Richard Dardenne Classic in Birmingham, Alabama. The Stormy Petrels used a 23-12 first-quarter advantage and outstanding shooting over the course of the game to cruise to the 70-56 victory over the Fightin' Engineers and improve to 3-0 on the young season.

The Petrels used a 21-4 run over a six-minute stretch of the first quarter to put Rose-Hulman back on their heels early. They led 21-7 with 3:25 remaining in the period. The Engineers scored five straight points to pull a bit closer, but Oglethorpe still led by 11 points after the opening 10 minutes.

After Rose-Hulman cut it to seven early in the second quarter, the Petrels responded with consecutive buckets to take a 12-point lead, 28-16. They then used a 10-2 stretch to push out to their largest lead of the game, a 38-23 advantage with 2:43 left in the half. An 8-1 mini-run by the Engineers shrank the Petrel advantage a bit, but it was still 39-31 at the break.

Rose-Hulman sliced into the lead early in the second half, though. They outscored Oglethorpe 8-1 over the opening three minutes of the third quarter and, if you include their run to end the second quarter, went on a 16-2 run over roughly a 5:15 stretch. The Petrels' lead was down to just one, 40-39, with 6:44 left in the third quarter.

However, Rose-Hulman never wrestled the lead away. Seven straight points put the Petrel lead back out to 47-40 at the 2:09 mark, and Oglethorpe scored the last five points of the quarter to make it 52-42 with 10 minutes left in the contest.

Consecutive baskets from seniors Bailey Charles and Lauren Ransom pushed the Petrel lead to 57-44 early in the period. They extended that to 64-50 with 5:12 to go. Oglethorpe kept the Engineers at arm's length after that, comfortably holding onto the lead and winning by 14.

The Petrels shot 53.1 percent from the field for the game and sank 42.9 percent of their 3-point attempts. That allowed them to overcome a 15-5 deficit in second chance points and a 30-22 deficit in the paint. The Oglethorpe bench outscored that of the Engineers by a whopping 28-5.

Senior guard Brooke Simpson got the start for the Petrels and scored a team-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting overall, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Sophomore center Savannah LeGate scored 12 on 5-of-8 from the field, leading the team with four blocks and three assists in the process. Charles led the teams with six rebounds and recorded nine points on 4-of-6 from the field, while Ransom had a game-high five steals. Freshman guard Nikki Reed contributed 11 points on 5-of-6 from the field.

Head coach Alex Richey said: "We talked all week about trying to get to our pace and style both offensively and defensively, and I thought we did a really good job of that tonight. When we're able to space the floor with good shooting and strong inside play, we are tough to defend. Once we got the lead, I thought our poise down the stretch pulled us through. We're looking forward to another big challenge tomorrow against another talented and well-coached team."

The Petrels will complete their stay in Birmingham with a 3 p.m. EST game against Mary Hardin-Baylor. After that, they'll take on a trio of in-state, non-conference opponents over the Thanksgiving week. They'll play games against Covenant, Piedmont and LaGrange during the stretch.