The University of Redlands women' basketball team squared off against the NAIA's 14th-ranked Mustangs of the Master's College on Friday night during the 2015 Redlands Tip-Off Classic. Despite being out-sized on the floor, the Bulldogs played with great control and heart, earning a 73-67 upset-win due to a strong finish during the fourth quarter.
The teams played toe-to-toe throughout the opening three quarters, with neither squad gaining much of an edge. The Mustangs shot 41.2% in the first frame but the Maroon and Gray took advantage of its opportunities at the stripe to keep it close.
Redlands fought to tie it up at the end of the half, thanks in part to well-timed three-pointers by sophomore guard Brooke Hulett (Poway, CA), who bookended the period with successful shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) added fire power with her three-pointer at the midway point of the stanza.
During the third period, Redlands sophomore forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) fought for space down low, earning multiple trips to the free-throw line and converting all but one of her 10 opportunities. This proved to be key for the Bulldogs, as they struggled from the floor overall but only trailed by two at the start of the fourth quarter.
Less than two minutes into the final frame, the Mustangs built their largest lead of the night, as Bianca Cubello and Megan Lindsley led the early charge with consecutive lay-ups to make it 54-48.
However, the Bulldogs refused to go away, with sophomore guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) cutting the deficit with a lay-in. Two possessions later, the Mustangs turned the ball over on an offensive foul, setting up Redlands' momentum shift in the game. Hulett hauled in a key offensive board on the Maroon and Gray's ensuing possession, before knocking down a huge rainbow of a three-pointer to make it a one-point game at 53-54.
Another TMC turnover led to Redlands' first lead of the fourth quarter, when Hulett converted another trey with 6:15 remaining.
Although the Mustangs answered with a long ball of their own, the Bulldogs stayed hot, going off on a 6-1 run to take the lead at 62-60 just two minutes later.
Redlands stretched the advantage to six points on quality shooting, which forced the Master's College to foul in the waning minutes. Chen knocked down four of her free-throws to keep the Mustangs at bay, as the Bulldogs secured the exciting, first win of the season.
During the fourth frame, the Maroon and Gray shot 56.3% from the field for its best showing of the night.
Overall, both teams converted 37.1% of their respective shots.
Ta'amu led all players with 19 points, which included an 11-for-12 effort from the stripe. She also pulled in nine rebounds. Hulett finished with 12 points, while Chen added 11 points, three steals, and three assists. Senior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) dished out six assists and hauled in 11 boards for the Bulldogs.
Cubello led TMC (3-2) with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Olivia Thompson chipped in 12 points.
Due to their poised and disciplined style, the Bulldogs forced the Mustangs into 18 turnovers but only gave up 10 of their own.
Redlands (1-1) takes on the University of Dallas (TX) in Saturday's 7 p.m. game of the Redlands Tip-Off Classic in Currier Gym.
Chapman vs. Dallas:
In tonight's first game of the Redlands Tip-Off Classic, Chapman University used its scrappy defense and aggressive style to pressure the University of Dallas (TX) into 26 turnovers, which resulted in 21 points for the Panthers. Chapman garnered an early lead and never looked back en route to the 66-53 season-opening victory.
Megan Charles was nearly unstoppable for the Panthers, as she scored 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Natalia Ebrahimian backed her with 14 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds.
Overall, Dallas shot better from the floor, converting 44.7% of its attempts on the night, as compared to Chapman's 37.7% showing.
Chapman now faces the Master's College in tomorrow's 5 p.m. game of the Tip-Off Classic.