The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used an excellent performance on the offensive glass to beat the LaGrange Panthers 56-51 Sunday afternoon at the USA South/SAA Classic in Demorest, Georgia. The Stormy Petrels got 17 offensive rebounds and took 17 more shots than LaGrange en route to the 5-point win, which improved them to 3-3 on the season.
Sophomore forward Lauren Ransom led the team with 17 points on 5 of 8 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line. She also grabbed 7 rebounds. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Bailey Charles collected 13 points on 4 of 6 from the 3-point line and sophomore center Alexandria Brown grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds while recording 3 blocks. Freshman forward Karlymarie Dyer led the team with 5 assists.
The Petrels used their offensive rebounding advantage to best LaGrange despite being outshot in the game. The Panthers converted at a 39 percent clip from the field and a 44 percent one from the 3-point line, while the Petrels came in at 32 percent and 36 percent, respectively. The Petrels forced 20 LaGrange turnovers and converted 25 points off of those takeaways.
The Panthers got off to a good start, breaking out to an 8-2 advantage over the first five minutes of the game. However, Oglethorpe responded with a 7-0 run of their own to take a 9-8 lead with 2:58 remaining. Consecutive baskets by LaGrange put them back ahead and they led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Oglethorpe bounced back ahead to start the second quarter. The two sides traded baskets for much of the remainder of the period, but the Petrels got 3-pointers from junior guard Rebecca Spry and Charles toward the end of the half to take a 27-25 lead with 23 seconds remaining in the second period. A LaGrange 3-pointer gave them a 28-27 lead at the break.
The Petrels began to turn the game in their favor over the course of the second half. They used a 7-1 stretch over 4:50 to take a 36-32 lead with 3:13 remaining in the quarter. Back-to-back baskets by the Panthers moved them back ahead briefly, but a Charles 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Oglethorpe a 39-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Oglethorpe used consecutive Charles 3-pointers to take a 45-41 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, and a triple from Dyer capped the run at 12-5 and gave the Petrels a 48-43 advantage with 6:02 remaining. LaGrange came back from that deficit to tie the score 50-50 with three minutes left, but they never got back into the lead. Ransom converted a layup for a 54-51 lead with 46 seconds remaining and then put the game away when she scored again with 19 seconds left.
"There's no question that we had a tough day yesterday," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey, "but I couldn't have been prouder of how we responded today. We have so much room to grow, which is exciting for our team, and when we develop the consistency we need to have on a game-to-game basis on the defensive end, I think we could be special. There's no doubt that we have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to go this season, but all we can do is learn and grow every day. We only get to enjoy this one for a little while, because the biggest game of the season thus far is next Saturday in our first SAA matchup."
The Petrels will travel to Mount Berry, Georgia, Saturday for their SAA opener against Berry at 6 p.m. After that, they'll travel to Lookout Mountain, Georgia, to take on Covenant on Tuesday, Dec. 6, before returning home the following weekend for games against Maryville (Tennessee) and North Carolina Wesleyan.