Maurice Dixon

@WriturRece |

ATLANTA — The Oglethorpe Lady Petrels’ recipe of balanced offense and stingy defense against Centre College was a good mix for success in a 64-39 win at Dorough Field House in a Southern Athletic Association (SAA) battle January 6.

Sophomore Bailey Charles led the way with 12 points and freshman Morgan Grindle, who finished perfect from the field and free-throw line, added 10 for the Stormy Petrels, who forced 23 turnovers.

“It’s a huge win,” Oglethorpe women’s coach Alex Richey said. “You always want to take care of home court when you get the opportunity. Coming back off the holiday, we hadn’t played in about three weeks so I really loved our defensive energy and that is kind of our identity right now. If we can defend that is really going to keep us in a lot of games and we are still working on hitting our stride offensively  but we’ve really put a big focus on our defense.”

Oglethorpe held the Lady Colonels to 33 percent shooting as well and really turned up its defense in the third quarter to essentially seal its eighth victory of the season, while improving to 2-0 in conference play.

“Our goal today was to get into the 60s and we wanted to create that with our defense,” Richey said.

After leading by seven points at the break, the Lady Petrels outscored Centre 17-6 in the third quarter and closed the frame with a 12-2 run in the final 4:46. Following free throws by Emily Toomer and Charles, Madi Foltz (eight points) netted a 3-pointer for a 40-26 advantage.

The Lady Colonels’ Mikayla Fee interrupted that burst with a pair of foul shots but Charles countered with a jumper before Grindle turned a steal into a fast-break layup and Lauren Ransom (seven points, eight rebounds) close the quarter with a jumpshot for a 46-28 score.

In the final period, Grindle and Charles converted field goals to stretch the run to 18-2, and Brooke Simpson, Kelly Payne and Nicolette Andrey all made 3-pointers in the quarter to help the Lady Petrels finish the game 8-of-16 from deep.

“Simpson had her best game defensively of her career and also knocked down a couple of big 3s,” Richey said. “Morgan Grindle had a terrific game. If she continues to develop like that we are thinking she is going to have a really special career for us. But we were very balanced and it’s all about a team effort.”

Abigail Stewart and Lakken Miller both finished with eight points for Centre, which fell to 1-1 in the SAA.