The University of Redlands women's basketball team took on NAIA competitor Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (AZ) in the Bulldogs' last home contest of 2017. Amidst eight ties and 11 lead changes, the Maroon and Gray held Embry-Riddle to just 16.7% shooting in the fourth quarter to come out on top of a 68-61 decision.
The Eagles scored the first four points of the game before senior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) got the Bulldogs on the board with two made free-throws. At the 5:49-mark, first-year guard Alexandria Iannone (Fullerton, CA) drew the foul on a drive to the basket and converted the three-point play. Just a minute later, senior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) drained a trey-ball to give Redlands its first lead of the night at 8-6. This was followed by another basket from downtown off the hands of sophomore guard Lindsay Kilgore (Mira Loma, CA) for the Bulldogs' five-point spread.
After the home team kept the Eagles from scoring during a five-minute stretch, Embry-Riddle finally answered with quick free-throws and a three-pointer to tie it up at 11 with 1:49 left in the first quarter. Redlands closed out the frame with a 5-2 run to enter the second quarter with a 16-13 advantage.
An offensive battle ensued, with both teams owning their best shooting percentage of the night during the second stanza. Embry-Riddle gained a slight lead at 33-31 when the teams retreated to the locker rooms for halftime.
Two-and-a-half minutes into third-quarter action, Iannone hit a huge three-pointer off of a quick pass from Ta'amu. On the subsequent defensive play, Siksnus swiped a steal and converted it into points, as she hit a nothing-but-net trey-ball from Iannone to put Redlands back in front at 40-39. Although Iannone made another three-point shot, the visiting team held a five-point advantage before the start of the fourth and final quarter.
With tough play inside, Ta'amu scored the first five points of the fourth quarter by converting a lay-up and three shots from the charity stripe to tie it up at 51. With 2:25 left in the game, Ta'amu tossed up another lay-up off of a crafty pass from Siksnus to regain the Maroon and Gray's lead at 58-57.
The fouling game ensued, as first-year guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) sunk her two free-throws to make it 60-57. After a bucket for each team, Iannone came up with a huge steal that led to an immediate foul on Lee, who made another pair of free-throws for a five-point, home-team advantage.
The Eagles tried to battle back, but first-year forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) successfully stepped up to the line and Ta'amu provided a timely block that resulted in a nice 68-61 win for the Bulldogs.
Iannone and Ta'amu each ended the night with 15 points. Iannone added four rebounds, four steals, and four assists to her stat line. Ta'amu hauled in seven rebounds, while Dack supplied nine.
Redlands (5-4) takes on Benedictine University of Mesa (AZ), tomorrow, December 30, at 5 p.m. at the Winter Classic, which is hosted by Chapman University in Orange County.