The University of Redlands women's basketball team kicked off the 2015-16 season on Saturday afternoon with an in-region showdown against the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. Despite leading early in the game, the Bulldogs struggled to remain ahead and fell short by a score of 61-69.
While playing under the NCAA's new format of four, 10-minute quarters for the first time, the Maroon and Gray jumped out to an early 16-10 lead through the opening frame. The Bulldogs held UCSC to 18.2% shooting and pressured the visitors into six turnovers.
Redlands stretched its lead to 10 points at 31-21 with 1:51 remaining in the second period, as sophomore forward Megan Fortenberry (Riverside, CA) converted a lay-up off of an assist by sophomore guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA).
However, the Banana Slugs quickly responded with a 7-0 run, before Chen made her way to the free-throw line for a pair of critical foul shots, resulting in a 33-28 halftime score.
UCSC picked up its momentum in the third quarter, tying the score at 35 off of a Tyler Stewart three-pointer with 8:01 on the clock. Stewart gave the Banana Slugs their first advantage of the game by knocking down two more treys for a 41-35 lead.
Redlands regained the lead with a lay-up by junior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) but UCSC answered right back with a bucket on its ensuing possession.
From here, the Banana Slugs stayed ahead by converting free-throws and three-pointers down the stretch, handing the eight-point loss to the Bulldogs.
Overall, the teams were comparable from the floor, with Redlands shooting 33.3% and UCSC going 32.8%. However, the Banana Slugs managed to make eight three-pointers on the night, while the Bulldogs struggled from long range.
Chen and sophomore guard Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) led the Bulldogs with 14 points apiece, while Ta'amu chipped in 11 points to go along with six rebounds.
UCSC was paced by Trina Torres with 20 points.
The Bulldogs (0-1) look forward to hosting the Redlands Tip-Off Classic on Friday, November 20, and Saturday, November 21. Redlands takes on The Master's College in Friday's 7 p.m. contest in Currier Gym.