On the heels of a 30-point swing, the University of Redlands women's basketball team captured a hard-fought, 95-83 victory over the visiting Pioneers of the University of Antelope Valley in non-conference action on Saturday evening in Currier Gym. Amidst a physical battle that included more than 25 fouls per team, the Bulldogs overcame a 12-point deficit in the third quarter with relentless defense and an impressive 83.3% shooting effort. While taking care of business at the charity stripe down the stretch, the Maroon and Gray halted its recent skid and scored its most points since January 10, 2015.
After senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) put Redlands on the board with a fade-away jumper to start the game, the Pioneers took over the lead until the 3:31-mark of the second quarter. Junior guard Angela Silver's (Scotts Valley, CA) jumper gave the Bulldogs a slight 32-31 advantage at this point in the game.
However, Antelope Valley quickly answered with a 13-4 run to close out the first half with a 44-36 lead.
Refusing to go away, the Bulldogs clawed their way back from a 12-point deficit with a stellar offensive showing in the third frame. Cheldlein and A. Silver carried the Bulldogs by sinking two jumpers apiece to close the gap to five points with 6:47 to go. The duo also stepped up to the charity stripe and took care of business, which set up junior forward Allison Siksnus' (Placentia, CA) key jumper that made it a two-possession game.
Nonetheless, the Pioneers kept the Maroon and Gray at bay with key shots throughout the next two minutes, before freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) drained back-to-back three-pointers to tie it up at 61 apiece. Freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) and Siksnus found her open for these big-time shots.
The Bulldogs' defense forced an Antelope Valley turnover on the ensuing possession, which set up their chance to take the lead. Junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) sliced and diced her way to the basket for a key lay-up off of a Lacey assist to make it 63-61 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
After the teams traded free-throws, Ta'amu kissed a shot off the glass and in, for Redlands' 66-64 lead, with one quarter still to play.
Despite a foul-laden and physical display on both ends of the courts, Redlands remained tough and converted 23 free-throw opportunities in the fourth quarter to secure the hard-fought win.
Cheldelin led the Bulldogs with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting. Silver backed her with 12, while sophomore guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA), junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA), Siksnus, and Ta'amu each added 11 points. Chen and M. Silver combined for nine steals on the night.
Redlands (2-5) looks forward to a unique travel experience on Monday, December 19, and Tuesday, December 20, when it travels to Honolulu, HI, to face Wisconsin Lutheran University and Whitman College (WA).