Redlands Women's Basketball Stumbles in Tight Battle against Conference-Leading Cal Lutheran

Photo credit: Chelsea Rex
Photo credit: Chelsea Rex

The University of Redlands women's basketball game traveled to Thousand Oaks to take on the Cal Lutheran University Regals in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown on Monday night. Amidst a game with seven ties and 14 lead-changes, the Bulldogs put together an awesome 9-for-12 effort from three-point range en route to an overall shooting display of 51.8%. Unfortunately, Redlands struggled to counter the Regals' offensive surge in the final 10 minutes, which resulted in a tough 86-87 loss for the visitors.

With the score knotted at six midway through the first quarter, sophomore guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) converted a defensive rebound into an assist, as she found senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) for a mid-range jumper. Cheldelin remained hot by swiping a steal and racing the ball back down the court for a lay-up to put Redlands ahead, 10-6.

The Bulldogs continued to roll with excellent shooting, but Cal Lutheran kept the score close by making threes. Senior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) swiped a steal before knocking down a jumper with 24 second left in the quarter to to give Redlands a slight 20-19 advantage.

Senior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) started the second quarter off fierce by slapping away a steal that initiated a Bennett scoring drive off an assist from freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA). Ecija then came up big again by hitting Redlands' next six of eight points on nothing-but-net three-pointers.

Starting at the 5:04-mark, the Bulldogs went on a 6-1 run that began with a Siksnus three-pointer. Junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) and Cheldelin converted their subsequent free-throws to give the team its biggest lead of the night at 39-29 with 2:24 left in the second quarter. Freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) ended the half by hitting her first points of the game with a trey-ball of her own to send the Maroon and Gray into the locker room with a 42-34 advantage.

Ecija was the star of the third quarter, as she led the Bulldogs with six points. However, the Regals refused to go away and kept it a two-possession game with 10 minutes to play.

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, the Regals regained the lead with a quick 5-0 run. Under pressure, the Maroon and Gray settled into a smart yet aggressive style of play, with Siksnus and Cheldelin making key shots early in the stanza. Junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) hit her biggest points of the night by tossing up a successful three-pointer to put the team back up, 76-75, with four minutes left in the game.

As the teams traded points, Lacey hit a jumper to equalize the score yet again with 34 seconds left in the game.

After multiple fouls and timeouts, Cheldelin made a baseline jumper off of an Ecija assist with 16 seconds remaining to the make it a one-point game at 86-87.

Forced to foul, the Bulldogs earned a chance to win it after pulling in the rebound off of the subsequent missed free-throw. Following a Redlands timeout, the team had time to work the ball around for a good, inside look at the basket. Unfortunately, the final two attempts refused to fall, resulting in the difficult 86-87 loss.

Cheldelin ended the night with 20 points and six rebounds. Ta'amu backed her with 17 points, while Chen chipped in 10. The Bulldog bench supplied 28 points, with Ecija and Lacey combining for 22 points. Ecija contributed a 4-for-4 showing from downtown.

Redlands (7-9, 4-3 SCIAC) takes to the road on Wednesday, January 25, when it heads to Occidental College to square off with the Tigers at 7 p.m.