Women's basketball outlasts Covenant, pulls away late for 71-59 win

Women's basketball outlasts Covenant, pulls away late for 71-59 win

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team found itself in a fight Tuesday evening against the homestanding Covenant Scots, falling behind by as many as eight points in the second quarter and six points in the third. The Stormy Petrels fought back, though, and outscored the home side 22-12 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 71-59 win at the Barnes PE Center in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

Covenant shot 44 percent from the field to Oglethorpe's 40.3 and forced the Petrels into 23 turnovers. However, the visitors turned up the defensive pressure as the game wore on and forced their opponents into 26 giveaways. Covenant outscored them 21-14 off turnovers, though, taking advantage of the Petrels' turnovers to keep themselves in the game.

Down 47-41 with just under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Petrels embarked on the run that would turn the game. They outscored the Scots 8-0 over the remainder of the stanza to take a 49-47 lead at the quarter break. With her team down 47-43, senior guard Bailey Charles sank a 3-pointer to cut the Covenant edge to just one with 1:07 left in the period. Sophomore forward Audrey Burdge tied the game with a free throw after she was fouled by a Scot on the rebound action. The teams traded defensive stops, but Charles hit a runner in the lane at the buzzer to give her team the two-point lead headed to the fourth.

Oglethorpe began the fourth quarter with two more baskets, extending their run to 13-0 since the two-minute mark of the third quarter and giving themselves a 54-47 lead with 8:34 to play. Covenant cut it to 56-53 with 6:33 left, but the Petrels put it away from there. They responded with made jump shots from sophomore center Savannah LeGate and senior forward Lauren Ransom over the next minute and a 3-pointer from junior guard Sydney Long at the 4:39 mark, taking a 63-53 lead. The visitors cruised from there, outscoring Covenant 15-6 over the final 6:30 to secure the win.

The Petrels were up 30-28 at the break, but the Scots used a 19-9 run over a 7:20 stretch to build their six-point lead.

Oglethorpe responded from a big deficit in the first half, too. Covenant held a 28-20 lead, tied for their largest of the game, with 4:40 left until halftime. The visitors responded with a run that gave them a lead headed to halftime, though. They outscored the Scots 10-0 over the final four minutes of the period to regain the lead.

The home side outscored the Petrels 17-13 in the first quarter. After Oglethorpe took a 7-2 lead at the 7:26 mark, Covenant outscored them 14-3 over the next six minutes to build a 16-10 advantage with a minute to go in the quarter. The Petrels cut it to as little as a point, 19-18, with 7:15 left in the second, but the Scots came back with seven straight points to build a 26-18 lead at the 5:11 mark.

The Petrels used several standout performances on the evening to achieve the victory. LeGate fought through early foul trouble to score 18 points on 7-of-12 from the field. She also grabbed seven rebounds and made a pair of blocks. Ransom led the team with 12 rebounds and also scored eight points and made two steals. Charles scored 11 points on 3-of-5 from the field. She also led the team in assists with three and steals with four. Senior guard Brooke Simpson contributed 13 points on 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from long distance.

Oglethorpe outrebounded Covenant 38-31 for the contest including a 21-12 margin on the offensive glass. They outscored the Scots 22-13 in second chance points.

"I learned early in my career that ugly wins are better than pretty losses, and that certainly holds true tonight," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "Covenant really challenged us on the road tonight, and I thought we missed a lot of layups and had way too many turnovers. We found a way to win, though, and hopefully we can take this experience and learn from it as we move forward in the season."

The Petrels will take a couple days off for Thanksgiving before returning to action over the weekend with a pair of in-state games at the USA South-SAA Classic in LaGrange. They'll take on Piedmont on Saturday at 1 p.m. and hosts LaGrange on Sunday at 2 p.m.