With poise and persistence, the University of Redlands women's basketball team upset the No. 2 George Fox University (OR) Bruins in a tight 66-63 victory on Wednesday night in Currier Gym. With 7:40 to go in the game, the Bulldogs took the lead on a jump shot by junior forward Brittany Oster (Agoura Hills, CA) before rattling off an 8-0 run for a 53-46 advantage. From here, Redlands played intelligent basketball while hitting its shots, including three of the team's 10 three-pointers of the night, en route to the significant win.
The Bulldogs opened the game with five unanswered points before the Bruins found their rhythm and pulled slightly away at 15-9.
However, Redlands refused to back down, staying with the 2012 NCAA Tournament finalists with well-timed three pointers by junior guard Marika Staton (El Centro, CA), senior guard Allison Wong (Redding, CA) and senior guard Ashley Sevilla (San Diego, CA).
Down by eight with less than four minutes to go in the first frame, Head Coach Rich Murphy called a timeout to settle the Bulldogs. They responded with six straight points as junior guard Colleen Goeser (San Carlos, CA) sank a bucket and Oster scored four of her 15 points, including big-time free-throws to make it 30-32 at the end of the half.
At the start of the second stanza, the momentum stayed with the Maroon and Gray, which scored back-to-back buckets to regain the lead at 34-32.
The squads traded baskets, including Sevilla and Staton knocking down critical threes.
Moments later, Oster hit consecutive jump shots to put the Bulldogs up at 49-46 with less than eight minutes to go.
In the final minutes, the trio of long-range shooters continued to knock them down for the Bulldogs, making it a 59-53 game at the three-minute mark.
But down the stretch, the all-important free-throw came into play, as Goeser stepped up to hit three of four and Oster converted two in the final 33 seconds, resulting in the exciting Redlands victory.
A last-second lay-up by GFU's leading scorer, Megan Arnoldy, made it a 66-63 final.
Leading her team for the third time in as many games, Staton finished with 17 points, including three from downtown. She also pulled in five rebounds and dished out three assists.
Oster provided 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Sevilla added 12 points, all of which were from beyond the arc.
Junior forward Madison Sanders-Curry (San Jose, CA) pulled in a team-high eight rebounds.
Redlands shot 52.6% from long range, compared to the Bruins' 21.4% effort. In addition, the Bulldogs converted 66.7% of their free-throws while George Fox had a 53.3% showing.
The Bruins held a 46-29 rebounding advantage, as Arnoldy posted a double-double with 20 points and 12 boards, while Dacia Heckendorf provided 10 points and nine rebounds. Jamie Roos added 12 points for George Fox in its season opener.
The Bulldogs (3-0) are enjoying their hottest start since 2006-07, when they went 5-0 through Dec. 2.
Redlands welcomes Hope International University to Currier Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 27, for a non-conference game at 7 p.m.