The Oglethorpe women's basketball team fell victim to a tough shooting day Sunday in the SAA Tournament championship game at the Hangar Dome in Jackson, Mississippi. They shot just 24.2 percent from the field and were 2-of-25 from 3-point range en route to a 56-41 defeat to the fourth-seeded Rhodes Lynx. The loss dropped the second-seeded Stormy Petrels to 22-6 on the season and put them in danger of missing the NCAA tournament.
Oglethorpe got 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks from senior forward Lauren Ransom, in possibly her last game as a Petrel. Nobody else scored more than six, though, while Rhodes had four players in double figures.
The Lynx jumped out to an early lead as the Petrels struggled out of the gate. Rhodes outscored Oglethorpe 18-4 over the opening quarter of play, then pushed their lead out even further to start the second quarter. They led 22-7 with 8:35 left in the first half, their largest advantage of the game. The Petrels worked back to within 10 with a 7-2 mini-run over two minutes, making it 24-14 with 5:35 left until the break. They couldn't get the Rhodes lead below double digits, though, and the Lynx pushed back out to a 28-14 advantage at the 4:15 mark. Rhodes led 31-19 at the break.
The Petrels shut Rhodes down defensively in the third quarter but were unable to get enough offense going to vault themselves back into the thick of the game. They got back to within single digits after a Bailey Charles jump shot at the 6:16 mark, then pulled to within eight after a Ransom three-point play a few minutes later. Rhodes again pushed their lead out to 13, though, holding a 41-28 advantage with 3:45 left in the third. A Ransom jump shot with 40 seconds left in the half drew the Petrels back to within nine points, 41-32, with 10 minutes left.
Oglethorpe got as close as they would get with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, using a Ransom layup to draw within seven points, 43-36. They had several chances to draw closer, but couldn't convert on any of them. Rhodes bumped their lead back out to 11 points, 49-38, with just 2:15 on the clock. The Petrels had to start fouling at that point, and the Lynx made their free throws down the stretch to pull away and secure the SAA championship.
Rhodes shot 37 percent from the field and converted on 86.7 percent of their free-throw attempts. They outscored Oglethorpe 32-22 in the paint and outrebounded them 43-39.
The Petrels will now wait to see if they'll earn one of 20 general at-large selections to the NCAA tournament. The NCAA selection show will air Monday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.