The Oglethorpe women's basketball team pulled away from the visiting Hendrix Warriors Friday evening at Dorough Field House, defeating them 77-57 and moving two games ahead of their closest competitor for the SAA lead with four games remaining. The win improved the Stormy Petrels to 16-5 on the season overall and 9-1 in SAA play, while dropping second-place Hendrix to 7-2 in league play on the year.
After the Petrels were up by just three points at the end of the first quarter, they slowly pulled away over the remainder of the contest. They outscored Hendrix 20-11 in the second quarter and 17-6 in the fourth, eventually building a lead as large as 22 points en route to their 20-point victory.
The two teams traded baskets to start the contest, with the Warriors actually gaining a 16-14 edge with just under three minutes remaining in the opening period. The Petrels answered by closing out the quarter on an 8-3 run, edging ahead 22-19 headed into the second quarter. In that period, Oglethorpe went on a 13-4 run over a 6-minute stretch to build a 12-point advantage, 37-25. They still held a 12-point lead headed into the halftime break.
After Oglethorpe quickly pushed their lead out to 51-36 to start the second half, Hendrix responded and outscored the Petrels 13-5 over the next 4:20 to cut the home team's advantage to seven points, 56-49, with just under 1:30 left in the third quarter. However, the Warriors would get no closer than that. The Petrels, who had been holding Hendrix at arm's length all game, outscored the visitors 17-6 in the fourth quarter and pulled away late.
Junior guard Bailey Charles enjoyed an outstanding game for the Petrels, scoring 13 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line while adding a season-high eight assists and four steals. Sophomore guard Taylor Dodson continued her outstanding play of late, scoring 17 points on 6-of-12 from the field overall and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. She also passed out three assists. Junior Lauren Ransom performed very well off the bench for the Petrels, as well, scoring 16 points on 5-of-10 from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe, recording three blocks.
The Petrels shot 40 percent for the game overall and 42 percent from 3-point range while holding Hendrix to 32 and 31 percent, respectively. Oglethorpe outrebounded the Warriors 45-30, and outscored them 16-5 off turnovers and 14-5 in second chance points.
"We had a really good week of practice coming into the game, and I thought it carried over," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "We knew it was a big game. One of our goals this season is to host the conference tournament, and Hendrix has been right on our heels all season. They beat us at their place, as well. We knew we were going to be in for a fight, but we just had to match their intensity, and I thought we did that. It was probably our most complete game of the season so far. We know that there's still a lot of basketball left to played, and Rhodes is one of the most talented teams in the league, so we'll have to be prepared for another fight on Sunday."
The Petrels honored the career of guard Rebecca Spry for Senior Night before the game. Spry started the contest and played 11 minutes for the Petrels on the evening.
The Petrels will host the Lynx Sunday at 1 p.m., looking to solidify their position atop the league. It will be their final regular season home game, and they'll head out on the road to face Sewanee and Centre next weekend.