U of R Women's Basketball Stumbles to Whittier in Overtime

Photo credit: Chelsea Rex
Photo credit: Chelsea Rex

Amidst 10 ties and nine lead-changes, the University of Redlands women's basketball team suffered a tough 70-76 loss in overtime to the Whittier College Poets in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Saturday evening. As the Bulldogs shot 47.4% from the floor, senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) hit a buzzer-beater to extend the game, before a cold streak impaired the team in the final five minutes to result in the difficult outcome.

Whittier came out with energy and efficiency to quickly build a 9-2 advantage by the midway point of the first quarter.

Following a Bulldog timeout, Cheldelin knocked down a jumper, before freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) drained a three-pointer to make it a 7-9 game.  A double foul sent Cheldelin to the stripe for two successful free-throws, which tied up the score with 3:50 left in the frame.

The teams traded buckets to end the period with Whittier leading by a slight 14-12 margin.

The momentum stayed with the home team, as the Poets developed their largest lead of the night at 22-14 with 6:39 to go in the second quarter.  Key free-throws by junior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) and Cheldelin kept Redlands within striking distance, but a seven-point spurt late in the stanza proved to be critical, as the teams entered the locker room with Whittier leading 31-25.  Cheldelin bookended another three-pointer by Ecija during this spurt.

The third quarter included an orchestrated comeback by the Maroon and Gray that began with back-to-back buckets by Siksnus on great passes, before junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) added to the offensive firepower by finding space inside the paint. 

But it was freshman guard Cassandra Lacey's (Victorville, CA) jumper with 2:13 left in the quarter that tied it up for the Maroon and Gray at 41 apiece.

Nonetheless, Whittier quickly regained the lead and stayed in front, until Ta'amu's free-throw with 2:41 remaining in the fourth knotted the score at 54. Cheldelin scored six of the Bulldogs' final nine points, including the game-tying jumper to force overtime.

After Ta'amu's opening lay-up in the extra period, the Poets answered with multiple scores to keep the Maroon and Gray at bay for the duration. Despite cutting it to one, Redlands struggled to fully complete the comeback in the hard-fought contest.

Cheldelin led the Bulldogs with 22 points on 8-for-19 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds and two steals.  Ta'amu added 19 points and 15 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end.

Redlands (13-11, 10-5 SCIAC) completes the regular season on Tuesday, February 21, when it travels to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for a 5 p.m. tip-off against the Sagehens.