The University of Redlands women's basketball team returned to action after a three-plus week layoff from competition by taking on the Albion College (MI) Brits in the opening game of the Chapman Winter Classic in Orange. Despite earning a 10-point lead with seven minutes to go, the Bulldogs struggled to hold off a late-game surge that forced overtime and eventually resulted in a 49-54 non-conference loss.
After a back-and-forth opening, the Maroon and Gray nabbed a slight lead at 18-14 with consecutive baskets by junior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR).
Although the Brits regained the lead midway through the second stanza, Redlands answered with a 6-0 run over the final 5:39 of the half to earn a 24-20 advantage at the break. Cheldelin, sophomore forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA), and junior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) each contributed buckets, with Bennett's coming off of an assist from senior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) with nine ticks remaining on the clock.
After a productive halftime meeting, Redlands picked up right where it left off by firing off six-straight points for a 40-30 lead early in the third quarter. Sophomore forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) and freshman guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) joined forces for this scoring spurt.
However, the Brits kept inching their way back, until Bulldog sophomore guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) knocked down a three-pointer with 1:01 left in the period to propel her team to a 35-29 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Maroon and Gray appeared to be in control, as it stretched its advantage to 10 points with 7:11 left in regulation.
Nonetheless, Albion refused to go away and stepped up its long-range shooting at just the right time to eventually tie it up with just over a minute remaining.
Both teams managed one more shot but neither fell, forcing the extra frame.
The Brits' hot hands continued in overtime, as the Bulldogs struggled to regain their offensive rhythm, which led to the 49-54 final score.
Overall, neither team shot particularly well, with Albion earning the edge with a 35.5% effort, as compared to the Maroon and Gray's 32.4% showing. The Brits also won the rebounding battle with a 52-37 advantage, but the Bulldogs gained more points on second-chance opportunities as well as off of their opponents' 27 turnovers.
Cheldelin led Redlands with 15 points, four rebounds, and two steals, while Silver added 10 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Siksnus came off the bench for a solid day of eight points and eight boards.
Redlands (3-5) strives to get back on track when it faces Connecticut College at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30, to conclude the Chapman Winter Classic.