The Oglethorpe women's basketball team suffered the first loss of their SAA campaign Friday night in a battle for sole possession of first place in the league in Birmingham, Alabama. The homestanding Birmingham-Southern Panthers outscored the Stormy Petrels 10-2 over the final four minutes en route to a 64-55 victory, dropping Oglethorpe into second place at 3-1 in league play and 9-6 overall.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well. However, the Petrels outshot Birmingham-Southern over the course of the game, converting from the field at a 39 percent rate to the Panthers' 35 percent. Birmingham-Southern shot 82 percent from the free throw line, though, while the Petrels came in at just 56 percent. The Panthers forced 18 turnovers and scored 22 points off of those takeaways, while the Petrels forced 11 turnovers, directly leading to 16 points.
Sophomore forward Lauren Ransom had another excellent performance for the Petrels, scoring 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 8-of-12 from the free throw line. She also collected a career-high 6 blocks. Sophomore guard Jada Triplett made her return to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to injury, adding 10 points on 4-of-8 from the field. Sophomore guard Bailey Charles scored 7 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
Birmingham-Southern began the game by jumping out to an 8-3 lead over the opening five minutes, but the Petrels came back to cut it to a 2-point game, 13-11, late in the first quarter. The Panthers maintained a 16-11 lead headed into the second quarter, but the Petrels responded in that period. They went on an 8-0 run over the opening 4:30 of the second period, turning a 5-point deficit into a 19-16 lead. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half and the Petrels maintained a 29-28 advantage going into the halftime break.
The teams continued trading baskets to start the third quarter, but Birmingham-Southern pushed out on a 9-0 run to take a 44-36 lead with 3:36 remaining in the period. The Petrels responded with a run of their own, though, outscoring the Panthers 9-0 over the rest of the stanza and into the early part of the fourth and giving themselves a 45-44 lead. However, the home side quickly embarked on an 8-0 run of their own to push back into a 52-45 lead with 7:38 to go. The Petrels made one more push, outscoring their opponent 8-2 to cut their deficit back to a single point, 54-53, with 4:02 to go. The Panthers outscored the Petrels 10-2 for the remainder of the game from there, though, pushing out to their final 9-point victory.
"We gave ourselves a great chance to get a road win tonight," said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey. "I was proud of the effort and the toughness of our group. Down the stretch, we had a few turnovers which I wish we could have back, but that happens sometimes in basketball. We have a lot to hold our heads up about after tonight, though, as there is a lot of basketball to be played."
The Petrels sit tied with Millsaps for second place in the SAA at 3-1. Those two teams face off against each other Sunday afternoon in Jackson, Mississippi, with tip-off time set for 2 p.m. Eastern.