The University of Redlands women's basketball team continued its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) journey against the Occidental Tigers on Wednesday night in Currier Gym. In a close-knit battle throughout the majority of the contest, the Bulldogs prevailed in a 70-64 decision over the Tigers, using clutch plays and tough defensive grit down the stretch.
The Maroon and Gray jumped out to an early, seven-point lead after reaching the double-digit mark with 16:07 left in the first half. Freshman guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) earned the start and notched the first two points of the contest. Senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA) was a huge factor by draining a jumper and dishing out two assists to facilitate a prompt 10-3 lead.
The Bulldogs maintained a steady advantage of three or more points, until the Tigers knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to make it 23-22 in Redlands' favor.
But the Maroon and Gray quickly answered, when senior forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) converted a lay-up to stretch its lead back to three.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with Occidental holding a slight 32-31 advantage at the halftime break.
During the second stanza, the Bulldogs wasted little time in regaining the lead, due to a pair of buckets from junior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) and one jumper from Lykins.
The Maroon and Gray continued to expand its advantage by being aggressive and punching tickets to the free-throw line. Freshman forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) earned her way to the charity stripe three times in the second half and was a perfect 6-for-6 overall. In addition, Fakalata followed the trend by tallying a flawless 4-for-4 mark from the line.
Although the Tigers strung together a run to move within four points of tying the score, Bulldog senior guard Caitlin Ciardella (South San Francisco, CA) came up clutch by knocking down two free-throws to seal the deal with under a minute left.
Once the clock ran out, the Bulldogs had garnered a 70-64 victory.
Fakalata was a rebound shy of a double-double, as she notched 19 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Nina Newman (San Mateo, CA) finished with 11 points off the bench, five of which came from the charity stripe.
Defensively, sophomore guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA) was a menace to the Tigers by pocketing three steals and hauling in seven rebounds. Lykins mirrored her intensity by notching three steals while also chipping in 12 points on the offensive end of the floor.
The Bulldogs (6-8, 3-2 SCIAC) face off against the Whittier College Poets (5-7, 1-3 SCIAC) in a SCIAC battle on Monday, January 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Currier Gym.