The Oglethorpe women's basketball team turned in one of its best performances of the season Friday afternoon against Sewanee, defeating them 88-62, and did so at the right time, as it allowed the Stormy Petrels to advance in the SAA Tournament. The victory improved the Petrels to 15-11 on the season and advancing them to Saturday's semifinals against top-seeded host Birmingham-Southern.
The Petrels were on fire from the field virtually the entire game, as they shot 57 percent overall and converted on 50 percent of their 3-point attempts over the course of the game. In addition, they sank 79 percent of their free throw attempts for the game, outrebounded the Tigers 40-31, and passed out 18 assists to Sewanee's 7. The Petrels outscored Sewanee 34-22 in the paint and 29-15 off the bench. Meanwhile, they held Sewanee to 36 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range.
Oglethorpe enjoyed several outstanding individual performances. Sophomore forward Lauren Ransom scored 18 points on 6-of-10 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line, having just been named to the All-SAA First Team earlier in the day. She did all that in only 21 minutes of action. Sophomore guard Jada Triplett played only 21 minutes herself, and scored 10 points on 4-of-7 from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. She passed out 8 assists, 7 of them coming in the first half. Freshman forward Karlymarie Dyer added 15 points on 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range and only played 16 minutes. The limited minutes for those three, as well as the rest of the Oglethorpe starting lineup, should bode well for the quick turnaround to Saturday's semifinal matchup.
The Petrels did most of their damage in the first half, jumping out to a huge lead on Sewanee early. They used an 18-8 run to push to an 18-10 lead in the first quarter and outscored the Tigers 21-13 over the opening quarter overall. They really turned it on in the second quarter, though, giving themselves a commanding lead. They outscored their opponents 28-12 in the second period and led 49-25 at halftime. In the second quarter alone, Oglethorpe shot 79 percent from the field overall and was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range over the course of the period. Triplett was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and scored 8 points in the period, while Ransom scored 7 on 3-of-4 shooting.
The Petrels extended their run to start the third quarter, as well, finally ending it at 58-26 over an almost 21-minute period of time from early in the first quarter. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the third quarter, but Sewanee still couldn't get much going against the Oglethorpe defense. The Petrels extended the lead even further in the quarter, leading 71-45 through the game's first 30 minutes.
Oglethorpe obtained their largest lead of the contest with 8:57 remaining, pushing their advantage to 76-45. From there, the Tigers ate into the advantage a little bit, but the Petrels held on for the easy 16-point victory.
"We had great contributions from everyone on the team today," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "I was extremely proud of our attention to detail on both ends of the floor. We can't enjoy this one too long because of the tournament format, but it's important for us to continue to learn and grow from today so we can be even better tomorrow against Birmingham-Southern."
This marks the second consecutive season in which the Petrels have advanced to the tournament semifinals, and they will take on the Panthers in that round for the second consecutive season. The teams will tip off at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday.