Emory Deters Oglethorpe in Season Opener

Emory’s women’s basketball team beat crosstown rival Oglethorpe University (Ga.) 71-66 at home Tuesday, Nov. 15, advancing to 1-0 on the season.

The refreshed Eagles brought five freshmen to the court, and they did not regret taking a risk with the younger and less experienced players. With a clean slate this season, Emory looked to erase the memories of a disappointing end to last season as they lost to the University of Rochester (N.Y.) 66-49 in University Athletic Association (UAA) play.

Early in the first quarter, Emory took a 5-2 lead after a three pointer from senior guard Frances Sweeney and never looked back.

The Eagles led by as many as eight points in the first half, but a series of missed shots and Oglethorpe’s quick responses knotted up the game at 33 near the end of the second quarter. Freshman guard Lindsey Tse hit 1-2 from the line to give Emory a 34-33 lead at halftime.

Sweeney started Emory’s scoring in the second half with a three-point shot. That spurred a Tse-led Emory offensive rush. Tse possessed a hot hand, slicing through Oglethorpe’s defense, scoring quick baskets and drawing fouls, ultimately scoring eight points total during the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Emory effectively hit timely baskets and held off any Oglethorpe attempts to ignite a comeback. Tse displayed her defensive prowess, tallying a steal and three defensive rebounds in the final quarter.

As the clock winded down, Oglethorpe trailed by three and missed a two pointer with less than 10 seconds left in the game. Tse rebounded the two pointer and sealed the deal, after which she was quickly fouled and sent to the free throw line, where she increased Emory’s lead to five.

Due in large part to Tse’s and sophomore center Ashley Oldshue’s contributions, Emory lit up the scoreboard. The recipe to success: Tse running the point and driving to the net combined with Oldshue’s presence in the paint gave Emory an advantage on the night.

Oldshue had a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Tse, in her first collegiate game, garnered 19 points, six assists and six rebounds. Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty praised Tse’s and Oldshue’s performances in the season opener, especially noting their underclassmen status.

“I can’t say enough about Lindsey [Tse’s] and Ashley [Oldshue]’s performances tonight,” Thomaskutty said. “That’s a freshman and a sophomore.”

Although Tse made a great first impression on the court, she acknowledged that teamwork was crucial to notching the win.

I was a little nervous but mostly excited going into Tuesday’s game,” Tse said. “It’s great to know that that win was such a team effort. It was validation that all our hard work throughout preseason and the first couple of weeks of practice paid off. ”

Freshman forward Erin Lindahl and Sweeney also contributed significantly: Lindahl was Emory’s second leading rebounder and put up eight points, while Sweeney had a solid night from behind the arc, going 3-7 from three point range, totaling nine points.

After the first game, it seems Emory has found a reliable player near the basket in Oldshue. She uses her 6-2 height to her advantage, allowing her to gain leverage over the opposition. In total, she tallied nine offensive rebounds Tuesday night.

Emory’s speed and agility empowered Emory’s success on the boards. Overall, the Eagles out-rebounded Oglethorpe by a margin of 54-45.

Another area of strength for Emory included a high free-throw percentage, hitting 16 of 19 from the line. Emory was not only effective in drawing fouls but also able to limit the number of fouls they committed. Compared to Emory’s 19 attempts at the charity stripe, Oglethorpe only took eight shots at the line.

Perhaps Emory’s biggest issue was their three-point shooting percentage. Emory only shot 23.8 percent from behind the arc, going 5 of 21 on the night. Oglethorpe did comparatively better shooting 8-21, 38.1 percent, from behind the three-point line.

The Eagles will return to action Saturday, Nov. 19, as they travel to Baltimore to face Johns Hopkins University (Md.) in the Johns Hopkins Tournament.