The fourth-seeded University of Redlands women's basketball team headed to No.1 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Thursday evening for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament semifinal in Roberts Pavilion. In a game that saw eight ties and 14 lead changes, neither team outscored the other by more than three points in any quarter. Despite hitting three more trey-balls than the Athenas, the Bulldogs missed out on the upset by a tight score of 65-69.
After the Athenas jumped on the board first, the teams traded baskets through the 5:43-mark of the opening quarter, when senior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) scored the and-one play for the Bulldogs' 11-8 lead. The teams continued to battle, as first-year forwards Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) and Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) combined for the next three buckets for Redlands. By the end of the first quarter, the Maroon and Gray faced a small hole at 17-20.
Sophomore guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) kicked off the second quarter with a crafty layup to cut the deficit to one point. On Redlands' next possession, Mosley snagged an offensive board and converted the layup to keep the score close at 21-22. With 4:32 remaining, senior forward Allison Siksnus (Placentia, CA) made her presence known in the post by scoring two-straight layups before sinking a pair of free throws to give Redlands a 29-27 lead.
However, the Athenas scored the last bucket of the quarter off a three-pointer to retake the lead. Although the Bulldogs won the second period with a 12-10 advantage, the home team still held a tiny, 30-29 advantage.
Siksnus opened the third with a steal that Ta'amu turned into points off a nice assist from senior forward Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA). In a nearly identical play, Lacey pickpocketed the opponent to set up Ta'amu's points with a Silver assist to put the Bulldogs up 33-32 with 8:22 left in the quarter.
Nonetheless, the Athenas orchestrated a 13-5 run, forcing the Bulldogs to play catch-up from the largest deficit they had faced that night. A jumper by Lacey and then a basket from downtown from senior guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) closed the gap to 43-45 with 51 seconds left in the third quarter. After a couple more baskets, the Bulldogs faced a 43-47 hole at the start of the final quarter.
CMS gained its biggest lead of the game at 51-43 just two minutes into the fourth. However, the Bulldogs answered with an 8-2 run that included another trey-ball from Dixon and a layup from Lacey. Silver bookended the spurt with a side-step three-pointer off a quick pass from Siksnus to pull the Maroon and Gray back within one basket at 51-53 with just under seven minutes to go.
Three minutes later, Siksnus converted a defensive rebound into points with a trey-ball of her own. Ta'amu stayed strong in the paint for a successful layup to close the gap back to one at 56-57.
Although the Athenas stayed hot, Ta'amu was fouled twice and sunk all four free throws to keep the Maroon and Gray within striking distance.
Lacey scored her last points of the game off a mid-range jumper with 34 seconds left in the contest. Dixon made her way to the stripe for three made free throws to close the gap to 65-68.
However, time ran out on the Bulldogs, as the Athenas held on for the 69-65 decision.
Statistically, the game was won on second-chance scoring and free throws, with CMS earning 10 more points on these opportunities alone.
Ta'amu led the team with 18 points, while Lacey and Dixon also scored double digits with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Siksnus worked the paint by snagging a team-leading six rebounds.
Redlands ends the 2017-18 season with a 14-12 overall record and 9-7 mark in conference while making its 11th-straight appearance at the SCIAC Postseason Tournament.