Stormy Petrels hold off Centre 60-54, extend program's best start in 11 years

The Oglethorpe women's basketball team found themselves in a battle with the homestanding Centre Colonels Sunday afternoon in Danville, Kentucky, but they prevailed 60-54 in the end. With the win, the Stormy Petrels improved to 15-1 on the season overall and a perfect 5-0 in SAA play. They extended the program's best start to a season since the 2008-09 team began 16-1.

Up 42-38 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Petrels kept Centre at arm's length throughout the period. A big 3-pointer by freshman guard Amy Vazquez put Oglethorpe up 45-38 in the opening minutes of the quarter. She made another shot from distance at the 7:20 mark to again put her team up by 7 points, 50-43, with 7:20 remaining on the clock. The Colonels cut it to a 3-point game with 5:45 left, but the visitors responded with a 7-0 spurt over 1:40 to take a 57-47 lead with 2:30 to play. Centre answered with a 7-point run of their own to cut it back to a 3-point game with just 45 seconds on the clock. Senior guard Morgan Grindle responded by sinking a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left, though, and the Colonels' shot with 25 seconds left went begging, securing victory for the Petrels.

With the score tied 28-28 at halftime, Oglethorpe played well in the third quarter. They pushed their advantage to 9 points with a 12-3 spurt, taking a 40-31 lead with 3:20 left in the period. 

Centre got the game off to an excellent start, taking a 10-3 lead over the opening 4 minutes. A 9-2 stretch by the visitors brought them back into it and tied the game 12-12. The Petrels slowly built their lead over the early part of the second quarter, taking a 28-22 lead with 2:10 left until halftime. The Colonels finished the half on a 6-0 run to tie it at the break.

The Petrels withstood a 32.8 shooting percentage over the course of the game, sinking 79.2 percent of their free throws and outrebounding the home team 47-26 overall. That included an 18-4 advantage on the offensive glass by the Petrels. As such, Oglethorpe outscored their opponent 15-0 in second-chance points and 30-16 in the paint. 

Junior guard Taylor Smith finished with a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while passing out seven assists. Junior center Sydni Donovan added 12 points on 3-for-6 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line, while freshman guard Amy Vazquez added 13 on 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. 

The Petrels hold sole possession of first place in the league and will return home to take on Millsaps Friday evening at 6 p.m. from Dorough Field House.