The University of Redlands women's basketball team finished out the UC Santa Cruz Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday with a tight showdown against the Austin College (TX) 'Roos. After trailing by as many as 11 points, the Bulldogs put together an impressive 28-point, fourth-quarter effort but fell short of the comeback in a heartbreaking 61-62 decision.
Redlands came out of the gates with a solid offensive rhythm that resulted in a 7-4 lead midway through the first period. Sophomore guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) initiated the scoring for the Maroon and Gray, as she converted the team's first basket. Three possessions later, the Bulldogs gained a three-pointer from sophomore guard Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA), before junior forward Jade Cheldelin's (Portland, OR) jumper put Redlands up by three.
However, the 'Roos responded with a 12-5 run to finish the quarter ahead by a score of 16-12. Sophomore guard Brooke Hulett's (Poway, CA) three-ball nearly the cut the Bulldogs' deficit in half in the final minute, keeping them within striking distance.
Sophomore forward Reyna Ta'amu's (Lakewood, CA) back-to-back buckets made it a two-point game early in the second frame, but a 7-0 run by Austin College kept Redlands in the hole with 5:34 left on the clock.
With the exception of a free-throw, the Bulldog defense held the 'Roos scoreless for the rest of the period, as junior guard Yoemma Esparza (Shafter, CA), Cheldelin, and Chen combined for six points to keep it a four-point game by the intermission.
The third period belonged to Austin College, which stretched its lead to 11 points at 44-33 with just 10 minutes to play.
Nonetheless, Redlands rallied all the way back to take the lead with 6:26 remaining, as Cheldelin capped off her team's strong start to the fourth frame with a trey. She and Chen provided quality buckets to keep the game close, before Hulett knocked down her second three-pointer of the game to put the Bulldogs up by a score of 54-53.
Chen then connected with senior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) for a key jumper and then converted a pair of free-throws for the Maroon and Gray's 58-53 lead with 2:59 to go.
However, the 'Roos managed to twice cut the deficit to two points and then finally regained the lead on a successful and-one play with seven ticks left on the clock.
Unfortunately, late turnovers and missed free-throws stymied any last-second chances for the Maroon and Gray.
Cheldelin scored 11 of her 15 points in the final quarter of the game, while Chen chipped in 13 points overall. Ta'amu added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Redlands (2-3) heads to La Mirada on Tuesday, December 1, for a 7:30 p.m. non-conference tilt against the Eagles of Biola University.