The Oglethorpe women's basketball team improved to 3-1 to start the season with a comprehensive 74-59 victory over Emory and Henry Sunday afternoon at Dorough Field House. The start is Oglethorpe's best four-game opening to a season since the 2008-09 campaign.
The Stormy Petrels used a scintillating first half in which they shot 45.7 percent from the field to build a gigantic 45-26 lead on the visiting Wasps going into the halftime break. From there, they built the advantage to as many as 30 points in the second half before cruising home with the 15-point victory. For the game, Oglethorpe shot 39.4 percent from the field to Emory and Henry's 31.9. The Petrels also made 29 percent of their threes when compared to the Wasps' 19. Oglethorpe dominated Emory and Henry on the glass, outrebounding them by a 54-37 margin. As such the Petrels outscored them in second-chance opportunites, 15-7.
The Petrels got a variety of contributions from a variety of performers on the afternoon. Junior guard Emily Buck led all scorers with 19 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. She added three assists for the game. Sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes led all players with an impressive 17 rebounds and three blocks. She also passed out four assists and scored eight points. Junior forward Ali Bleckley contributed 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting while making two steals and passing out two assists. Junior guard Kristen Kennebrew led the team with five assists while scoring six points on 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
The game started in excellent fashion for the Petrels, as they ran out to a 15-4 lead over the first five minutes of the contest. After a brief Emory and Henry run, Oglethorpe got right back to work, extending their lead with a 23-6 run over 10 minutes of action. The Petrels led, 38-15, with 5:52 remaining in the half. The Wasps went on a brief 9-2 run to cut their deficit down to 16 points, 40-24, with 1:32 left in the period, but Oglethorpe scored three straight baskets toward the end of the half and took a 21-point lead into the break. Buck had 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the half while Bleckley scored 10 of her 12 in the opening period. Hughes grabbed 11 first-half rebounds.
In the second, the Petrels began on a 12-2 run over the first seven minutes, all but putting the game away. They held their largest lead, 57-27, with 13:12 remaining. The Wasps began to mount a comeback after that, embarking on an 18-7 run to cut the Oglethorpe edge to 19 points, 64-45, with 6:11 left. The Petrels ended any hope that Emory and Henry had of coming back, though, with a 7-2 spurt that pushed their lead back up to 71-47 with 4:55 to go. The Wasps used a 12-1 run to get it as close as 13 points very late, but the damage was already done and the Petrels eventually won by 15.
"I was very pleased with the defensive effort today, as well as our effort on the boards," said Oglethorpe Head Coach Alex Richey. "We are continuing to learn more and more about each other and are moving in the right direction."
The 3-1 Petrels will have one more pre-Thanksgiving home game Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. They'll welcome Wesleyan (Ga.) to Dorough Field House for their third home game in a row before travelling down to LaGrange, Ga., for the SAA/USA South Classic over the weekend. They'll take on Piedmont on Saturday and hosts LaGrange on Sunday.