By Jeff Nations
WINCHESTER -- Morgan King and Gabby Oglesby needed a bit of time to settle into their customary position in the lane on Tuesday, but when they did it was bad news for Shenandoah University's women's basketball team.
King, a 6-foot, 2-inch senior center, and the 6-1 senior forward Oglesby spurred Guilford College to a 53-44 victory at Shingleton Gymnasium by simply grinding down the Hornets over course of the game. Both finished with a team-high nine points to help the Quakers outscore Shenandoah 28-8 in the paint.
"We've got two all-conference players inside," Guilford coach Stephanie Flamini said. "We've got to get them the ball."
Shenandoah (4-8, 1-2 Old Dominion Athletic Conference) did a decent job keeping the Quakers' big front-court away from the goal in the opening half, and that helped the Hornets jump out to a 14-11 lead on Holly Chittenden's layup with 6:05 left in the first half.
The Hornets still led at 16-15 with 2:19 to go in the half, but the Quakers closed out the period on an 8-0 run to grab a 23-16 lead at the break. Guilford's Sarah Burnick paced that rally with five points, and King had the other three.
Down seven at halftime, Shenandoah could've used more production from the free-throw line over the first 20 minutes. The Hornets hit just 5 of 14 free throw attempts, and combined with a 5-for-20 effort from the field it added up to a lot of missed chances.
"We had some missed opportunities, and that comes back," Chittenden said. "In a nine-point game, we know that could have made the difference. It could've changed the momentum. It could've changed a lot of things."
Guilford (10-2, 2-1) kept rolling to open the second half, outscoring the Hornets 8-3 to build a 31-19 lead with 16:43 to go. That seemed an ample advantage for the Quakers, who came into the game with the 11th-best scoring defense in NCAA Division III.
"Defense is really what we base our program on," Flamini said. "I mean, offensively we struggle to score sometimes and we rely on our defense."
The Hornets stayed cold through much of the second half on the way to another 5-for-20 shooting effort, allowing the Quakers to keep building on that lead. A 3-pointer by Kayla Adams with 8:55 to play put Guilford up by 20 points at 47-27 before Shenandoah pulled together for a rally.
"They put us outside our comfort zone a little bit, and that was with the inconsistency on that side," Hornets coach C.K. Calhoun said. "We tried to go one-on-one a couple times. When we reversed the ball and got into our sets, we capitalized. But when we tried to go one-on-one ... they don't over-deny in the passing lane. They give you a step, but then they're all packed in."
Chittenden (game-high 16 points) spurred the Hornets' late comeback, and her second made free throw pulled her team back within 10 points at 48-38 with 2:45 to play. Guilford's Logan Hardin answered with a layup, but SU's Imani Heggins capped a brief four-point spurt with a jumper that cut the lead to single digits (50-42) with 54 seconds to play.
There wasn't enough time, as the Quakers inched further ahead at the free-throw line and the Hornets failed to convert another field goal.
It was an uncharacteristically cold shooting night for the Hornets, who hit on just 25 percent of their shots despite coming into the game averaging 38.1 percent from the field.
"We were forcing a lot of shots," Shenandoah senior guard Crystal Petrus said. "We missed a lot of layups, I know. I think it's on us more than on them."
Heggins finished with 11 points and Petrus added nine for the Hornets.
Note: Former Millbrook standout Ky Rooks didn't play in her first trip back to Winchester. The freshman guard/forward has seen limited action in just five games so far this season.
"She's a freshman playing behind some good players," Flamini said. "She's getting there. We get her in when we can to get her some experience, but she's playing on a team where there's a lot of good players and she may just have to work toward her playing time as she grows with the program. But she does a great job and she's a great kid, and she helps us out a lot in practice."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>