The University of Redlands women's basketball team hosted Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) rival, Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, in an exciting match-up in Currier Gym on Saturday evening. Amidst a back-to-back offensive battle, the Bulldogs hauled in some crucial boards on both ends of the court to narrowly knock off the Sagehens by a score of 61-59.
Junior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) recorded the first bucket of the night, before junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) drove the lane for a lay-up to give the Bulldogs an early 4-0 lead.
After the Sagehens quickly tied it up, the teams exchanged buckets in a close battle, until junior guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) hit a huge shot from beyond the arc off a dime of a pass from Ta'amu to give Redlands back the lead at 16-14. Ta'amu soon followed with another made lay-up for the Maroon and Gray's 18-14 advantage after one quarter of action.
Senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) and senior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) combined for the Bulldogs' next four points in the first few minutes of the second. Bennett's lay-up at 7:08 gave Redlands its biggest lead of the night at 22-14. Ta'amu and Cheldelin teamed up for the next seven points to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 29-23 halftime advantage.
However, Pomona-Pitzer refused to go away and slowly chipped away at the deficit in the third stanza. Due to Redlands' clutch shooting from the charity stripe, the home team never trailed. Siksnus capped off the free-throw spree by sinking two in the final seconds of the stanza to propel the Bulldogs to a 45-40 lead.
The Sagehens' perseverance finally paid off as they equalized the score at 45-45 with 8:57 left in the game. Ta'amu answered for the Bulldogs by successfully driving to the basket for the and-one play, following her critical free-throw.
Over the next three minutes, Ta'amu, Bennett, and Siksnus each converted their opportunities at the charity stripe to keep the score knotted at 53 with 4:30 left.
Cheldelin, Ta'amu, and Dixon combined for the next eight points to lift the Bulldogs to a slight 61-59 advantage.
Although the Sagehens had opportunities to tie it up, Redlands kept them at bay with some stellar defense under the net, including big-time boards on both ends of the court, to eventually edge Pomona-Pitzer in a hard-fought battle.
Ta'amu finished the night with 23 points and 10 rebounds for another double-double. She also came up with two huge blocks and swiped two steals. Cheldelin also recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bulldogs (6-8, 3-2 SCIAC) look to work off this momentum as they take on another SCIAC foe on Wednesday, January 18, when they host the Whittier College Poets at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.