Bulldog Women's Basketball Stumbles to Whittier College

Caitlin Ciardella rallied for 10 second-half points for the Bulldogs.
Caitlin Ciardella rallied for 10 second-half points for the Bulldogs.

The University of Redlands women's basketball team struggled to slow down the lights-out shooting of Whittier College in a rare Monday night meeting in Currier Gym, allowing an early deficit to quickly turn into a double-digit hole that was too much for the Maroon and Gray to overcome.  With the Poets knocking down 14 three-pointers in the game, the Bulldogs fell to the visitors by a score of 71-85 in their sixth Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition of the season.

After scoring the first bucket of the game for the early lead, Redlands regained the advantage at 18-16 after a jump shot by senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA) with 10:54 left in the first half.

However, a 14-2 run by the Poets quickly made it 30-20 with less than seven minutes remaining on the clock.  During this stretch, Dannika Navales-Lugtu and Carly Buechler converted three shots from downtown.

Five minutes later, senior guard Kameran Dage (Walnut Creek, CA) stepped up for the Maroon and Gray, swishing a long ball of her own to cut the deficit to seven.

But Navales-Lugtu took matters into her own hands and scored all eight of the Poets' final points to extend their lead to 14 at the break, 42-28.

Whittier's hot shooting continued throughout the second half, allowing the visitors to build a 24-point lead with 12:42 to go.

Nonetheless, Redlands orchestrated a late-game surge, with senior guard Caitlin Ciardella (South San Francisco, CA) leading the charge. During the second half, she was 4-for-7 overall and 2-for-3 from downtown. 

The team also gained quality baskets from sophomore guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA), junior guard Ashton Beth (Windsor, CA), freshman forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA), and freshman forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA), but it was not enough for the necessary comeback.

Ten of Ciardella's 13 points came in the second half.  She also dished out five assists.

Dage was the only other double-digit scorer for Redlands, as she chipped in 10 points.

The Maroon and Gray shot a respectable 44.4% from the field and converted only three fewer baskets than the Poets.  The biggest difference came beyond the arc, where Whittier knocked down 14 long balls on a 53.8% effort.  Navales-Lugtu went 6-for-14 from three-point land, leading the game with a 26-point performance.  Buechler and Priscilla Rodriguez added 12 points apiece for the Poets.

Redlands won the rebounding battle with a 37-to-34 margin, which included 17 offensive boards. Senior forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) posted a team-high six rebounds for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs (6-9, 3-3 SCIAC) strive to bounce back on Wednesday when they travel to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for a 7:30 p.m. showdown with the Sagehens.