Despite trailing by four points late in the game, the University of Redlands women's basketball team came out on top in a 58-52 decision against the visiting Caltech Beavers in Currier Gym. While making key defensive stops and converting all six free-throws in the final 2:35 of Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown, the Bulldogs prevailed in a hard-fought victory that included a 21-point showing from senior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA).
Early in the contest, sophomore guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) hit a big-time three-pointer off of an assist by senior guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) to put Redlands ahead by a score of 10-6 with 5:03 to go in the opening quarter. Although the Beavers eventually cut it to two, the Bulldogs stayed in front with first-year forward Camille Mosley's (Riverside, CA) jumper and senior forward Allison Siksnus' (Placentia, CA) four free-throws. After 10 minutes of action, the Maroon and Gray held onto an 18-14 advantage.
The Bulldogs built their largest lead of the game at 22-15 with 8:43 to go in the second quarter, as Ta'amu converted both free-throws and Mosley stepped back for another nothing-but-net jumper. Redlands' stellar defense kept Caltech off-balanced as well, with Lacey hauling in critical defensive rebounds.
However, the Beavers overtook the home team with a quick scoring spurt and sent the Bulldogs into the locker room at halftime with a slight hole at 24-25.
Following the necessary adjustments, the Maroon and Gray jumped out of the gates in the third quarter by orchestrating a 10-3 run for a 34-28 lead with 5:57 left on the clock. Ta'amu led the charge with six points, while Dixon's three-pointer off of senior forward Angela Silver's (Scotts Valley, CA) assist put the exclamation point on the scoring surge.
Nonetheless, Caltech refused to go away and successfully worked its way back to make it a one-possession game at 37-40 with 10 minutes left in regulation.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with neither team giving an inch in a very tight, final quarter. Finally, with 2:35 to play, the Beavers owned a 52-48 advantage. As the Beavers continued to foul, Redlands answered the call by converting its opportunities at the free-throw line. Ta'amu hit both free-throws before hauling in the defensive board on the other end, which set up Lacey's huge jumper that also drew the foul for the successful three-point play. Redlands went on to convert four shots from the charity stripe, while Siksnus prevailed under the basket for a huge jumper before putting up a block against Caltech's final shot.
Ta'amu finished with a game-high 21 points off of 8-for-12 shooting. She also hauled in 10 rebounds for a double-double. Mosley impressed off the bench with a 10-point effort as the only other double-digit scorer for Redlands. Lacey and Siksnus each chipped in eight points.
Redlands (6-7, 2-3 SCIAC) heads to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Monday, January 8, for a 7 p.m. conference game against the Sagehens.