After a 10-day layoff from competition, the University of Redlands women's basketball team returned to action by hosting the Spartans of Manchester University (IN) on Tuesday evening in non-conference action. While utilizing tenacity, depth, and skill, the Bulldogs turned a five-point, halftime lead into a solid 61-43 victory that saw the home team win nearly every statistical category.
The teams began the night by trading baskets en route to a back-and-forth, high-paced first quarter that resulted in a 10-9 Bulldog advantage at the 3:39-mark. Redlands upped the ante on the closing minutes of the frame to orchestrate an 8-3 run for the early 18-12 advantage. After senior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) hauled in an offensive board, she immediately tossed it back up and in for the lay-up. First-year forward Kellis Dack's (Vancouver, WA) steal on the Spartans' ensuing possession immediately proved to be lucrative for the Maroon and Gray, as sophomore guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) found Ta'amu for another bucket inside. Following Ta'amu's third lay-up in a row, Dack stepped back for a nothing-but-net jumper for the Bulldogs' 18-12 lead after 10 minutes of action.
During the second stanza, Redlands worked to stretch its lead to 10 points at 27-17. First-year guard Alexandria Iannone (Fullerton, CA) found Dack on the perimeter for the jumper before connecting with first-year forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) on the Bulldogs' next possession. Redlands' offense remained hot, as Mosely dished out a dime of a pass to sophomore guard Lindsay Kilgore (Mira Loma, CA), who drained the trey-ball for the 25-16 advantage.
Both teams stepped up defensively to stop the scoring momentarily, with first-year guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) and Iannone each recording a block for the Bulldogs. Five minutes later, the Spartans ended the drought with a free-throw before Redlands' Ta'amu converted a lay-up off of a sweet inside pass from senior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) to make it 27-17.
Although Manchester closed out the quarter with back-to-back three-pointers, Redlands held on for the 31-24 lead at the midway point of the game.
However, the third quarter was all Redlands, which shot 46.2% for 18 points while forcing the Spartans into a 16.7% shooting effort for only 10 points. Lacey set the tone early by converting the three-point play off of a close-range jumper. Senior guard Courtney Chen (La Cañada, CA) and Siksnus added to the Bulldogs' offensive fire, while Siksnus also provided key defensive stops on the other end. Redlands' quality shooting propelled it to a 49-34 lead and created plenty of momentum to carry the home team to victory in the final quarter.
Highlighting the final minutes, Iannone hit a late three-pointer before first-year guard Claire Olmstead (Sherman, TX) scored her first bucket in a Bulldog uniform to finish out the home team's fourth triumph of the season.
Ta'amu posted a game-high 16 points to go along with nine rebounds, including four offensive boards. Dack impressed off the bench with 11 points, while Lacey tossed in 11 points and four assists. Siksnus was one bucket shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. As a team, the Bulldogs shot 42.9%, compared to the Spartans' 21.2% showing, and out-rebounded the opponents, 51-38.
Redlands (4-4) faces Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (AZ) on Friday, December 29, at 5 p.m. in Currier Gym.