Stormy Petrels use smothering defense to beat Centre 39-32

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The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used lock-down defense to defeat the visiting Centre Colonels 39-32 Friday night at Dorough Field House. The Stormy Petrels held the visitors to just 22.2 percent shooting from the field overall and 5-of-21 from 3-point range en route to the victory, which improved them to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in SAA play.

The Petrels overcame a poor shooting night of their own to nab the victory. They shot just 26.9 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from the free-throw line, and were 1-of-10 from 3-point range. However, they used their defensive edge and a 13-7 advantage on the offensive glass while outscoring Centre 20-4 in the paint. They hold also held the Colonels without a field goal for over 16 minutes between the 47-second mark of the first quarter and the 4:35 point of the third.

The Colonels held a 25-23 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but Oglethorpe turned the game back in their favor and put it away by outscoring the visitors 16-7 over the final 10 minutes. They quickly took the lead back when senior guard Brooke Simpson sliced down the lane and converted a layup while getting fouled. She sank the free throw to make it 26-25 with 8:30 left. Centre took the lead back at the free-throw line with just under six minutes remaining, but the Petrels took it back again with another pair of Simpson free throws seconds later.

The home side took the lead for good on a layup from sophomore forward Audrey Burdge with just over four minutes remaining. She got fouled on the play and converted a free-throw attempt to give the Petrels a three-point lead, and they extended that to five with a layup from senior guard Bailey Charles with 3:15 left, and to seven with a jumper from sophomore center Savannah LeGate at the 1:45 mark. LeGate blocked a shot and grabbed the rebound at the other end to put the Petrels in the driver's seat. Another stop with 35 seconds to go clinched the victory.

Oglethorpe opened up a 21-12 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter, but Centre responded with a 13-2 stretch over the remainder of the period. With that spurt, they vaulted into the lead headed into the fourth quarter.

Neither team could get much going in the first half, but the Petrels began to edge ahead in the second quarter. They held the Colonels without a field goal for the entire period and outscored them 8-2 to push to a 16-12 lead at the half.

Burdge led all scorers with 10 points on 4-of-8 from the field. LeGate and senior forward Lauren Ransom both grabbed double-figure rebounds, coming up with 11 and 10, respectively. Senior guard Jada Triplett passed out three assists while Charles made a game-high four steals.

The Petrels will be back in action Sunday at Dorough Field House when they welcome Sewanee at 1 p.m. After that, they'll hit the road again, heading west for games against Rhodes and Hendrix.