The University of Redlands women's basketball team continued its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) voyage on Wednesday night by traveling to Claremont to battle it out against the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens. Solid defensive play and offensive determination aided the Maroon and Gray to a hard-fought 61-55 victory.
Redlands grabbed its first lead of the game with 17 minutes left in the first half after senior forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) bucketed back-to-back lay-ups to make it 4-3.
The Bulldogs did not let up on the gas pedal offensively, as they held a six-point lead toward the latter portion of the first half due in part to the successful long-range shooting of senior guard Caitlin Ciardella (South San Francisco, CA) and sophomore guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA).
However, the Sagehens answered back to tie up the game at 20 apiece with 6:36 remaining in the first stanza.
Two possessions later, Fakalata laid two points up and in off the glass to put Redlands up by a score of 22-20, but Pomona-Pitzer eventually worked its way to a 26-24 advantage at the break.
Defensive struggles began to hinder the Bulldogs early in the second stanza, as the Sagehens scored a quick five points out of the gates to grab a seven-point lead in the first two minutes of action.
However, Redlands looked to senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA) and Fakalata to notch back-to-back buckets, while freshman forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) followed with two points from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to five at 30-35 with 15:45 left to play.
Senior guard Kameran Dage (Walnut Creek, CA) stepped up in a crucial way by scoring the Bulldogs' next five points to tie the game up just minutes later.
The teams traded leads before eventually knotting the score at 41 with 8:38 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs' biggest advantage came at the 6:38-mark, compliments of Ciardella's second shot from downtown to put her team up by a score of 47-41.
Junior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) tried her hand from downtown and was successful, as she stretched the Bulldogs' lead to 50-45 with just over five minutes to play in the contest.
Redlands remained in front throughout the final minutes of the game due to clutch free-throw shooting and solid defense to earn the 61-55 victory.
Fakalata led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points to go along with three rebounds. Ciardella recorded nine points on the night after going 2-for-3 from three-point land. In addition, she dished out nine assists.
Dage hauled in a team-high nine rebounds while also chipping in seven points. Farry matched Dage's offensive night with seven points and also hauled in six rebounds.
Overall, Redlands dominated the boards with a 45-to-34 margin, including a 17-to-6 advantage on the offensive end.
The Bulldogs (7-9, 4-3 SCIAC) continue SCIAC competition on Saturday, January 24, when they face the Chapman University Panthers at 2 p.m. in Orange, CA.