The Oglethorpe women's basketball team used a 47-point second half to rally past Birmingham-Southerm, 84-73, Sunday afternoon in Dorough Field House. The victory gave the Stormy Petrels a five-game winning streak and a season sweep over the visiting Panthers. It improved the squad to 10-11 overall and 5-5 in SAA play after they started the conference season 0-5.
The Petrels had to fight through foul trouble to pick up the victory on Sunday afternoon. A plethora of fouls were called in the game, 62 of them in all and 41 in the second half. The Petrels shot 47 free throws for the game and 36 in the second half, while Birmingham-Southern attempted 34 free throws over the course of the game. Sophomore forward Ciaira Hughes was in foul trouble for much of the game, playing only 11 minutes, while junior guard Emily Buck also found herself in four trouble for portions of the game. The Petrels fought through it, though, and got very solid minutes from the bench.
The Petrels shot 40.7 percent from the field for the game, including 35.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 75 percent from the free-throw line. They held the Panthers to just 32.9 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range in the process. Birmingham-Southern outscored Oglethorpe 30-16 off the bench.
Individually, Hughes had an outstanding game despite having to sit for the vast majority of it with foul trouble. She finished with 17 points on 7-of-7 from the free-throw line over her 11 limited minutes. Buck continued to play her best basketball of the season, as well, scoring 25 points on 7-of-12 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and 9-of-10 from the free-throw line. She grabbed seven rebounds, as well. Meanwhile, senior guard Aisha Atwater recorded a double-double, continuing her excellent play, as well. She scored 20 points on 11-of-14 from the free-throw line while grabbing 10 boards and making three steals.
The Petrels began the game on a 13-2 run over the opening four minutes of the contest. Birmingham-Southern fought back, however, and cut the Oglethorpe lead to three, 13-10, after an 8-0 run over the next 3:15. The two teams traded baskets for the next several minutes with Oglethorpe building their lead back up to as much as 23-15 with 9:45 left. Birmingham-Southern went on a 23-11 spurt that lasted most of the way until halftime, though, giving themselves a four-point lead, 38-34, with 47 seconds remaining. The Petrels fought back to within one at halftime, 38-37.
In the second half, the Petrels quickly took the lead back, 40-38, but the Panthers again answered with a spurt, this one a 9-2 run that gave the visitors their largest lead of the game, 47-42, with 15:33 remaining. The two teams traded foul shots for the next several minutes, with Birmingham-Southern refusing to go away. However, the Petrels slowly started to reassert control of the game at about the 13-minute mark. Down by four at the time, they put together four straight points to tie the game on a jump shot from junior forward Ali Bleckley with 11:58 left. They then took the lead for good on a pair of Hughes free throws with 8:48 left and began to expand it. Overall, they outscored the Panthers 36-19 up to the point where they took their largest lead of 13 points, 84-71, with 25 seconds left.
"We got the stops we needed down the stretch to pull away," said Head Coach Alex Richey. "Aisha Atwater was a beast today and Buck made some huge buckets down the stretch. We've won five in a row, but we've got plenty to work ahead of us headed into the week."
The Petrels now sit in a three-way tie for third in the SAA at 5-5 with Rhodes and Hendrix. They'll play both of those teams next week, as they travel to Memphis, Tenn., to take on Rhodes at 7 p.m. Eastern on Friday before taking a brief jaunt to Conway, Ark., to go against Hendrix at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday.