The University of Redlands women's basketball team returned to competition after an 11-day layoff by facing Bethel University (MN) at the Chapman Winter Classic in Orange on Monday night. Despite holding a lead throughout much of the game, the Bulldogs struggled to hold off the Royals in the final seven minutes and suffered a 52-55 non-conference loss.
With 17:21 left in the opening frame, the Maroon and Gray garnered its first lead of the night on a three-point play by freshman guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA), who was making the inaugural start of her collegiate career.
The Bulldogs worked to extend its lead throughout the first half, with a pair of well-timed three-pointers stretching the advantage to its largest of the night at 30-19 with 3:52 to go in the period. Chen and freshman guard Brooke Hulett (Poway, CA) teamed up for consecutive treys, providing great momentum for the Redlands squad.
However, a well-balanced effort by the Royals in the waning minutes cut the deficit to six and provided just enough motivation for their second-half comeback.
The Maroon and Gray kept Bethel at bay through the first 12 minutes of the final frame, as the Royals inched within one but trailed by as many as eight.
With 7:41 left in the game, the Royals took the lead with a pair of successful free-throws, making it 46-45.
Bethel quickly made it a four-point game before freshman forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) came up with a jumper and two free-throws in a matter of 23 seconds to tie it up at 49 at the five-minute mark.
The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes, forcing another tie at 52 with 68 seconds to go.
A Royal three-pointer with 55 seconds remaining allowed for two more looks by the Bulldogs, but neither shot fell through the net, resulting in the 52-55 loss for the Maroon and Gray.
Siksnus garnered a solid showing in her first collegiate start, registering a team-high 14 points to go along with five rebounds. Senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA) added 12 points as the only other Bulldog in double figures. She also accounted for eight rebounds, seven steals, and two assists.
Neither team shot particularly well, but Redlands topped the opponents with its 38% showing, as compared to Bethel's 34.5% effort.
Redlands (3-6) strives to return to the win column when it squares off with Bristol University in Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. match of the Chapman Winter Classic in Orange.