The Oglethorpe women’s basketball team won its first SAA championship and its second conference championship overall Sunday afternoon with a 70-69 overtime victory over the Hendrix Warriors in a classic game at Dorough Field House. The victory won the program its first conference title since the 2008-09 team won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference crown.
The Petrels will head to the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship. The Oglethorpe women’s basketball team will play the homestanding Thomas More Saints in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship on Friday evening, March 2, at a time to be determined.
It’s great when you have the ability and the confidence in every single player you put in the game to get the job done, and everybody on our team got the job done today. – Coach Alex Richey
“This was an outstanding game with two great teams,” said Oglethorpe head coach Alex Richey, “and credit goes to Hendrix and Coach [Drew] Gaeng, as they battled back multiple times and showed their character. At the end of the day, though, I couldn’t be happier for this group of young women. They have stayed the course, believed in one another, trusted one another, bought into our plan, and they loved each other. When that happens, good things are going to happen to your team. It’s great when you have the ability and the confidence in every single player you put in the game to get the job done, and everybody on our team got the job done today. It’s taken us four years to get to this point with this group, and we’re really going to enjoy these next couple of days as we get ready to go to the NCAA tournament.”
The victory was not easy for the Stormy Petrels, as Hendrix repeatedly came back from arm’s length deficits in the second half, bouncing back from down eight points twice. They were down by that margin with 4:15 left in the game, but fought back to force overtime. The Petrels persevered, though, coming back from a 3-point deficit in overtime by getting a couple of huge baskets in the extra period, then hitting free throws down the stretch.
Junior guard Bailey Charles sank a 3-pointer to begin the extra frame, but the Warriors responded with back-to-back 3-pointers to take a 61-58 lead with 3:29 left. Sophomore guard Taylor Dodson responded less than 30 seconds later with a huge three of her own, hitting the shot with a hand in our face, to tie the game at 61-61 with three minutes left. The two teams traded missed opportunities, but Oglethorpe got a layup from Charles, who finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds, to take the lead back with 1:30 left. Hendrix tied the game at the other end, but Oglethorpe got a bucket from freshman center Savannah LeGate to give her team a 65-63 lead with 53 seconds left.
LeGate took home SAA Tournament MVP honors, giving her that award along with the SAA Player of the Year and SAA Newcomer of the Year accolades. She finished the game Sunday with a game-high 20 points, with two blocks and seven rebounds. She was joined on the SAA All-Tournament Team by sophomore forward Karlymarie Dyer, who finished the day with five points and six rebounds, and played outstanding basketball in Saturday’s semifinal win over Berry and Friday’s first round victory over Millsaps. Read more about the game.