After trailing by four points at the half, the University of Redlands women's basketball team erupted for 27 points in the third quarter to pull away in a 61-48 victory over the University of La Verne Leopards in the final game of the regular season on Tuesday night. With the win, the Bulldogs solidify their spot as the No. 4 seed in the upcoming Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament, which pits them against the top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Against the Leopards, the Maroon and Gray battled through a tight first half that saw an early six-point lead turn into multiple ties and tight scores. Redlands scored the first three buckets of the game, with junior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) initiating the offense with back-to-back lay-ups, before sophomore forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) knocked one in and off the glass for a 6-0 advantage.
However, the Leopards answered to eventually take the lead at 14-13 with 2:50 left in the first quarter.
Redlands looked to an effective bench to keep things close during the second quarter, as sophomore forward Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) stepped up with a lucrative and-one play before converting two more free-throws. Junior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) scored on a lay-up and sophomore guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) hit nothing but net from beyond the arc to make it a two-point game at 26-28 with 3:23 to go in the second stanza. After a quick exchange of buckets, the Bulldogs headed into the locker room with a 28-31 deficit.
Following critical halftime adjustments, the Maroon and Gray came out on fire in the third frame, surging ahead on an 8-2 run. Although Ta'amu, Cheldelin, and senior forward Brinsley Farry (Ventura, CA) each scored, sophomore guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) played a critical role in this offensive push by hitting a lay-up, providing two assists, and pulling in an offensive board.
Redlands continued to fire on all cylinders, with junior guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA) adding to the arsenal with a lay-up at the 6:03-mark. Chen broke the final tie of the game on a lay-up and a successful trip to the charity stripe, which initiated a 12-0 run to make it 52-39 with 39 seconds remaining in the period. After La Verne ended its scoring drought, Iriarte put the exclamation point on the Bulldogs' big quarter with a three-pointer as time expired.
From here, Redlands stayed in front to secure the 61-48 win and finish out the regular season on a high note.
Chen led the Bulldogs with 12 points, to go along with four rebounds and three assists, in only 18 minutes of action. Cheldelin chipped in 10 points, while Iriarte added eight. Ta'amu provided seven points and seven boards, as Farry rounded out the starters' highlights with six points and six rebounds.
Redlands (12-13, 9-7 SCIAC) looks forward to squaring off against CMS in Thursday's semifinal game of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament at 7:30 p.m.