The University of Redlands women's basketball team squared off against Hope International University in Thursday's non-conference showdown in Currier Gym. After overcoming a slow start, the Bulldogs rallied to even the score early in the third quarter but ultimately fell to the Royals in a 61-69 decision.
HIU came out firing and quickly scored the first eight points of the contest.
Redlands battled to stay in the game but eventually faced a 14-point deficit with less than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter.
However, the Bulldogs began to chip away at the hole, starting with a pair of made free-throws by junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) with 5:10 left in the first half. Following a lucrative steal by junior guard Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA), junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) converted the and-one play on a sweet drive to the basket, trimming the Royals' lead to nine points.
Freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) followed suit with a steal of her own, which led to sophomore guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) converting the front end of her free-throw opportunity.
Tough defense by the Bulldogs continued to create scoring, as Chen's rebound set up Lacey's big three-pointer with 2:22 left on the clock to make it a five-point game at 25-30.
Less than two minutes later, HIU had extended its lead back to seven points, but a late jumper by A. Silver kept Redlands right in the hunt at halftime.
Head Coach Rich Murphy's motivational speech did the trick, as the Bulldogs put together an 8-0 run to start the third quarter and take the lead at 36-33. Lacey's shot from downtown got things started, while junior forward Allison Siksnus' (Placentia, CA) huge offensive rebound led to a quick lay-up for the three-point advantage.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with Siksnus earning big points in the paint.
Unfortunately for the home team, the Royals got hot as the Bulldogs' offense cooled, resulting in another seven-point hole for Redlands. The Maroon and Gray cut it to five on two occasions, but that was as close as it would get.
Freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) impressed off the bench by leading the team with 13 points, including a buzzer-beater trey to close out the first quarter. She also hauled in seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
In addition, Chen, Ta'amu, and Siksnus each provided double-figure scoring for a combined 32 points, while Ta'amu nabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs (1-5) strive to get back on track when they host the University of Antelope Valley on Saturday, December 10, at 5 p.m. in Currier Gym.