The University of Redlands women's basketball team welcomed the Tigers of Occidental College to Currier Gym on Saturday afternoon for an important Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown. While shooting 54.5% for the game, the Bulldogs built a 23-16 lead after the first quarter and stayed in front through the final whistle. Despite a late push by the visitors, Redlands took care of business at the free-throw line to secure the hard-fought 79-71 victory.
After a back-and-forth start to the contest, Occidental managed its first lead of the game a 9-8 with 6:06 left in the first quarter. The teams continued to trade baskets until Redlands closed out the period with a 10-2 run in the final three minutes. Senior forward Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) initiated the scoring spurt with a driving lay-up before her subsequent defensive rebound turned into a pull-up jumper by first-year guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA). After the Tigers hit their final basket of the first quarter, the Bulldogs converted three more shots, with first-year forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA), Silver, and first-year forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) each knocking down buckets. Silver also tossed in a block and a rebound, while Lee dished out an assist.
By the 1:21-mark of the second quarter, the Bulldogs sat comfortably in front at 40-25. Silver played a huge role in distributing dimes to the open teammate, as Redlands gained at least one bucket from five different players. Senior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) controlled the paint with excellent drives to the glass for six points, as Dack converted a pair of shots as well.
Although the Tigers mustered a late run to end the quarter, the teams retreated to the locker room, with Redlands holding a 40-32 advantage.
The Bulldogs extended their lead by one point by the end of the third quarter, with a 61.5% shooting performance that included points from five different players. Senior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) set the tone early by converting both free-throws before Silver found Ta'amu in the lane for a lay-up. Sophomore guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) provided a jumper at the 7:26-mark for the Bulldogs' 46-41 lead.
Two minutes later, the Bulldogs upped the intensity with a 6-0 run that included buckets from Silver, Lacey, and Mosley, and stretched the difference back to 12 points at 57-45 with 3:36 left in the third.
But once again, Occidental refused to back down and managed to make it a nine-point game as the teams entered the final 10 minutes.
Senior guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) stepped up with a jumper and a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, before she, Ta'amu, Lacey kept their composure at the charity stripe for the eventual win. Overall, Redlands shot 81% from the line but went 11-for-12 in the final period to secure the 79-71 victory.
Ta'amu paced the Bulldogs with 20 points, which came off of a 7-for-9 effort. Dixon and Lacey each chipped in 12 points, as Silver tallied 10 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds.
Redlands (10-8, 5-4 SCIAC) hosts Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Wednesday, January 24, at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.