Cal Lutheran Holds off Redlands Women's Basketball in SCIAC Postseason Tournament Finale
The No. 2-seeded University of Redlands and the No. 4-seeded Cal Lutheran University women's basketball teams faced off in the 2012 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament championship on Saturday in Currier Gym, with the Regals surviving a last-second miss by the Bulldogs to earn the automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. After leading by as many as 10, Cal Lutheran held off a late comeback push by the hosts, prevailing by a score of 61-58 in a defensive battle that saw 49 personal fouls between the teams.
After a tight start, the Bulldogs built their biggest lead of the game at 14-9 when senior guard Mariah Barbetti-Cort (Ventura, CA) drove the lane for a basket.
However, Cal Lutheran answered with a 10-4 run to take the lead at the 8:40-mark on a three-pointer by senior guard Meagan Goodenough (Simi Valley, CA).
While facing a 26-all score with 4:26 to go in the opening period, the Regals stepped up with tough defense while taking advantage of a Redlands cold streak. CLU's senior guard Chesley Hastigan (Saugus, CA) hit consecutive three-pointers to help put her team up by eight.
In the waning minutes, the Bulldogs rallied to cut the deficit to five on a key three-pointer by senior forward Courtney Carroll (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA) and a pair of late free-throws by junior guard Ashley Sevilla (San Diego, CA).
During the second half, the Regals maintained the momentum, building a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go.
Nonetheless, Redlands refused to go away and clawed its way back to make it a one-point game with 27 seconds left. The Bulldogs pieced together this comeback by taking advantage of eight free-throws and a well-timed long ball from sophomore guard Marika Staton (El Centro, CA).
Forced to foul, the Maroon and Gray sent junior guard Erica Whitley (Oxnard, CA) to the line and she converted the first of two free-throws to make it a two-point game at 59-57.
Redlands gained new life when CLU fouled sophomore forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) for two shots. After nailing the first, she missed the second, which required the Bulldogs to foul again.
Whitley made the ensuing shots from the charity stripe for a 61-58 Regal advantage with eight seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs had one final look to tie it up as Sevilla stepped back to let go of a three-pointer but it rimmed out at the buzzer, resulting in Cal Lutheran's fierce on-court celebration.
Redlands gained a team-high 14 points from Staton, who also pulled in eight rebounds. Barbetti-Cort finished out her career as a Bulldog with 13 points and three rebounds. Carroll was the only other double-digit scorer for the Maroon and Gray with 11.
In addition, sophomore forward Brittany Oster (Agoura Hills, CA) nabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Hastigan led all scorers with 16 points, highlighted by four baskets from beyond the arc. Channing Fleischmann and Starla Wright chipped in 10 apiece, while Whitley tallied nine points, nine boards, and six assists.
The Bulldogs shot 46.7% in the opening half but struggled to convert opportunities in the second, falling to 27.7% on the night. The team's woes continued at the free-throw line, where it made 62.9% of its 43 opportunities.
Cal Lutheran (18-9) came away with a 31.0% shooting performance while knocking down 10 three-pointers.
Redlands (19-8) edged the Regals in the rebounding battle, 44-40.