The Oglethorpe women's basketball team opened its season in outstanding fashion Monday evening, earning a 71-64 overtime victory against crosstown rival Emory at the Eagles' Woodruff PE Center. It served as the Stormy Petrels' first road win over the Eagles since 2006.
The Petrels got a pair of late free throws from junior guard Taylor Dodson to tie the game at 58-58, then used outstanding defense to help them outscore Emory 13-6 over the course of the extra period and secure the victory.
The Eagles scored first in overtime and took a 60-58 lead, but that was the last lead they would enjoy. The Petrels held Emory scoreless over the next four minutes, outscoring them 10-0 in the process. They took a 68-60 lead with 1:12 on the clock, then sealed the game when senior guard Brooke Simpson sank a free throw to make it a three-possession game with 17 seconds left.
The Petrels had a 52-48 lead with 2:42 left in regulation, but the Eagles came back with five straight points to vault into a 53-52 lead with 1:55 on the clock. Sophomore center Savannah LeGate buried a jumper with 1:25 left to give Oglethorpe a 54-53 lead. Emory responded with a basket at the other end, taking the lead again with around a minute to go. The Oglethorpe preseason all-American answered again to make it 56-55 with 35 seconds left. But Emory's Ashley Oldshue got a go-ahead bucket with 11 seconds left and was fouled on the play. She converted the free throw attempt to give her team a 58-56 edge.
Dodson came up big for the Petrels, though, as she drove to the basket and got fouled with three seconds to play. She stepped to the line and calmly sank both free throws, tying the game at 58-apiece.
Emory turned the ball over at the other end, giving Oglethorpe a chance to win the game in regulation. However, senior guard Bailey Charles was just late with her runner in the lane, sending the game to overtime.
Up 22-20 at the break, Oglethorpe built as much as a seven-point lead in the third quarter. They went on an 8-1 run over a minute-long stretch midway through the period, culminating in a 37-30 lead with 2:24 remaining in the quarter. It marked the largest lead for either team until Oglethorpe's eight-point lead in overtime. The Eagles came back, though, embarking on an 8-1 spurt of their own to tie the score 38-38 headed into the fourth quarter.
Emory led the game 13-11 at the end of the first quarter and they pushed out to a 20-16 lead with three minutes left until halftime. The Petrels finished the half on a 6-0 run, though, taking a 21-20 lead with a jump shot from freshman guard Hailey Higashi at the 1:10 mark and taking a 22-20 lead into the break.
Dodson finished the game with 15 points on 5-of-7 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point range and 3-of-4 from the foul line. She also collected three steals and two assists. Senior guard Bailey Charles added 15 points on 2-of-2 from long distance, grabbing six rebounds and passing out four assists. LeGate played only 17 minutes due to foul trouble, but scored 13 points (including a few huge baskets down the stretch) and grabbed six boards.
After the game, Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey said: "That was a total team-effort win and I was...proud of our maturity and growth. Every member of our team did their job, and the unity I saw on the court was special. If we can continue to build on what we were able to accomplish tonight on the road, I am confident that we can have a very special season."
The Petrels will have a quick turnaround, as they'll head back to Dorough Field House for their home opener against Agnes Scott Tuesday at 6 p.m. After that, they'll travel to Birmingham, Alabama, for the Richard Dardenne Memorial Classic, where they'll take on Rose-Hulman and Mary Hardin-Baylor.