The University of Redlands women's basketball team continued Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Wednesday night in Currier Gym in a crucial game against the University of La Verne Leopards. After the Bulldogs shot a measly 20.7% from the floor in the first half, they turned around their luck to shoot 51.7% during the second stanza en route to the hard-fought 58-54 victory.
Both teams struggled from the opening tip, with the Bulldogs finally reaching the 10-point mark about the midway point of the frame when junior guard Ashton Beth (Windsor, CA) converted a free-throw to break the Maroon and Gray's double-digit barrier. Senior forward Victoria Fakalata (East Palo Alto, CA) tossed in back-to-back lay-ups five minutes later to bring the score to 14-18.
While struggling to maintain their offensive rhythm, the Bulldogs faced a 16-21 deficit when the half concluded.
However, Redlands came out on fire in the second frame, quickly stringing together a 7-2 run in the first three minutes. Senior guard Kameran Dage (Walnut Creek, CA) notched five of those points, while Fakalata chipped in a lay-up to knot the score at 23-23.
After bringing the score to a tie on three occasions in the middle part of the stanza, the Bulldogs finally grabbed the lead with 12:41 to play as senior guard Caitlin Ciardella (South San Francisco, CA) snapped the bottom of the net from long range to take the lead at 33-32.
Although La Verne regained the lead shortly after, Redlands rallied to take it right back at the hand of freshman forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA). After hauling in an offensive rebound, she powerfully laid the ball up and in off the glass while drawing a foul. She went on to convert the three-point play, and then followed that up with a clutch jump-shot on the Bulldogs' next possession to grab the lead at 40-38.
For the remaining seven minutes of the contest, the Bulldogs never trailed, aided by big-time contributions from senior guard Kaity Lykins (Simi Valley, CA) and sophomore forward Nina Newman (San Mateo, CA), as they each scored four points during this stretch.
At game's end, the Maroon and Gray came out victorious by a score of 58-54.
Ta'amu led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points, while Dage followed with 11. Lykins was one point away from recording a double-double with nine points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Fakalata hauled in seven rebounds, three of which came on the offensive end.
Redlands dominated from the charity stripe, converting 14 of its 19 opportunities. The Bulldogs also converted three more three-pointers than the opponents. The Maroon and Gray out-rebounded the Leopards, 51-to-31, including 10 more on the offensive end.
The Bulldogs (8-10, 5-4 SCIAC) continue SCIAC action on Saturday, January 31, when they travel to Eagle Rock for a 2 p.m. bout against the Occidental College Tigers (4-13, 2-6 SCIAC).