The Oglethorpe women's basketball team suffered their first loss of the season Saturday at the SAA-USA South Classic in Mount Berry. They came back from as many as 11 points down in the third quarter to take a late lead against the Piedmont Lions, but it was Piedmont who came up with some big plays down the stretch to pull out the 66-65 victory.
The Lions built an 11-point lead early in the third quarter, leading 37-26 with 8:50 remaining in the period. They held onto that advantage as the quarter continued, leading 47-36 with 3:28 remaining. However, the Stormy Petrels responded with a run that erased the deficit. They embarked on a 10-2 spurt over the remainder of the quarter to make the score 49-46 headed into the fourth, then continued the stretch into the final period, outscoring Piedmont 18-4 overall over a 10-minute period and taking a 54-51 lead with 6:44 on the clock. After a couple of Piedmont baskets, the Petrels pushed their advantage out to 60-56 with 3:42 remaining in the game. Oglethorpe maintained a three-point advantage, 62-59, with 2:28 left, but Piedmont scored seven points in a row over the next two minutes to flip the game back in their favor, 66-62, with 25 seconds on the clock. A three-pointer from junior guard Jada Triplett cut the Lion lead to 66-65 with less than 10 seconds remaining, and the Petrels got the ball back after a pair of missed free throws from Piedmont, but they were unable to get their final shot to fall as time expired.
Piedmont got off to a good start at the game's outset, going on a 12-3 run to build a 14-5 lead with 2:53 left in the first quarter. They led 18-11 at the end of the period, then maintained their advantage throughout the second. Oglethorpe got as close as five points over the course of the quarter, but Piedmont pulled back out to a 35-26 lead at the halftime break.
The Petrels were led by freshman center Savannah LeGate, who tallied her first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman guard Bailey Charles added 13 points on 5-of-8 from the field and 3 assists, while Triplett finished with 12 points on 3-of-9 from three-point range.
The Lions shot 42 percent from the field for the game, while Oglethorpe sank just 34 percent of their field goal attempts. The Petrels forced 17 Piedmont turnovers while committing 12 and outscored the Lions 19-10 off turnovers, but Piedmont outscored Oglethorpe 17-13 off the bench.
The 2-1 Petrels will return to action in Mount Berry on Sunday, as they complete the two-day SAA-USA South Classic. They'll take on LaGrange at 2 p.m. from Berry's Cage Center.