The University of Redlands women's basketball team squared off against the Caltech Beavers on Saturday evening for a mid-season Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown in Currier Gym. Despite the score being nearly even through the first 20 minutes, Head Coach Rich Murphy's halftime speech provided plenty of motivation for the Bulldogs to find their rhythm for an offensive surge that boosted them to a 53-38 victory.
Both teams got out to a slow start, with the Bulldogs owning a slight lead at 8-6 with 1:32 left in the first quarter. On the ensuing play, senior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) snagged the Beavers' missed jumper and made the subsequent lay-up off a nice pass from senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR). Freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) drained a trey-ball to give the Maroon and Gray a 13-6 advantage with 21 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs started the second quarter on a positive note, as junior guard Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) made the first lay-up for the 15-8 advantage.
However, the Beavers turned their luck around by going on a 7-2 run to put themselves within two at the 2:59-mark.
Cheldelin supplied the Maroon and Gray's next two buckets to extend the team's lead back to four at 21-17 by halftime.
During the early part of the third quarter, the Bulldogs maintained a slight lead, but Caltech remained relentless. After Cheldelin supplied the first three Bulldog jumpers, the Beavers successfully matched the points, bucket-for-bucket. Although the Bulldogs fired off the first shots, Caltech equalized the score at 23, 25, 27, and again at 29.
Cheldelin stepped up to begin Redlands' pull-away by draining back-to-back jumpers, before freshman Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) and junior guard Courtney Chen's (La Canada, CA) combined for free-throws and a lay-up. Cheldelin and Lacey joined forces for the next four points to give the team a nice 10-point lead at 41-31 to close out the third frame.
Fast-forward to the 4:30-mark of the fourth quarter, when senior guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA) hauled in an offensive board and dished it out to junior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA), who converted the and-one play for the Bulldogs' biggest lead of the night at 50-33.
Although the Beavers put together a 5-0 run, Redlands remained in front for the duration. Freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) ended the Bulldogs' drought by sinking a nothing-but-net three-pointer to secure the 53-38 win.
Cheldelin ended the evening with 24 points and seven rebounds. The bench supplied 19 points, with Lacey providing eight of them. The team also shot an impressive 87.5% of their shots from the charity stripe to ensure the win.
The Bulldogs (9-9, 6-3) play host to conference foe, Chapman University, on Wednesday, February 1. The game is slotted to start at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.