The Oglethorpe women's basketball team found themselves mired in a shooting slump for much of the evening Friday, but they used outstanding defense to hold down the homestanding Berry Vikings and eventually pulled away for a 52-39 win at the Cage Center in Mount Berry, Georgia, to open their conference slate. The victory improved them to 7-1 on the season overall.
The Stormy Petrels held Berry to 21.4 percent from the field and just 3-for-20 from the 3-point line. They also dominated the Vikings on the glass, outrebounding them 55-36 overall and 20-9 on the offensive boards. That helped mitigate a 25.4 percent mark from the field by the Petrels.
Sophomore center Savannah LeGate lifted the Petrels, tying the program single-game record for rebounds in the process. She collected 22 on the evening, matching herself (vs. Sewanee on Jan. 12, 2018) and Kim Mohr (vs. Atlanta Christian on Nov. 18, 1995). She also threw in 14 points and a couple of blocks. Senior forward Lauren Ransom added 16 points to lead all scorers, making 6 of 7 free throws in the process while adding a couple blocks of her own.
Berry took a 25-24 lead with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter, but the Petrels answered back with a run that proved decisive. The visitors finished the quarter on a 15-0 spurt, giving them a 39-25 lead heading to the fourth. It was a lead which Berry never seriously challenged over the final 10 minutes. The home side pulled to within eight points, 47-39, at the 2:15 mark of the quarter, but got no closer than that.
Neither team could get much going in the first quarter, which ended with the Vikings holding a 7-6 lead. Oglethorpe began the second period on an 11-0 run, though, pulling out to a 17-9 lead with 4:15 remaining until halftime. Berry quickly cut it back to four, but the Petrels had a six-point lead headed into the halftime break. However, Berry responded with a 10-3 stretch over 5:10 in the third quarter, vaulting themselves back into the game.
"It wasn't pretty," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey, "but any road conference win is a good win. Despite our shooting troubles, we defended great and had our best rebounding performance of the season, and that was the difference. I was also happy with how we shot from the line. We put in a lot of work in that areas and it is my hope that we can see continued improvement from the stripe, because it makes such a difference in close games like tonight."
The Petrels will now break for a eight days for final exams. They'll return to action on Sunday, Dec. 16, when they host Guilford at 2 p.m. from Dorough Field House.