Despite a valiant effort to force overtime, the University of Redlands women's basketball team came up short in Wednesday night's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener against the visiting Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens. After first-year guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) chucked up an off-balanced three-pointer to tie it up, the Bulldogs struggled in the extra period and suffered a 76-81 loss.
Redlands came out firing to start the game and built a 5-0 lead off of junior guard Cassandra Lacey's (Victorville, CA) jumper and sophomore guard Alyssa Lee's (Monterey Park, CA) trey-ball. The Bulldogs continued to roll, as Lee converted a layup before sophomore forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) tossed in a jumper off a dime of a pass from Downs.
However, Pomona-Pitzer answered with an 8-2 run to even the tally at 11 apiece with 2:37 remaining in the opening quarter.
Nonetheless, Redlands finished strong to regain the lead at 19-14, thanks in part to a tough defense that held the Sagehens scoreless in the final 77 seconds of the quarter. In addition, Downs hit nothing-but-net on a three-pointer and converted a free-throw to highlight the Maroon and Gray's late surge.
Although Pomona-Pitzer cut it to two early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs answered by creating their largest lead of the night with 4:09 left in the stanza. Redlands used a well-balanced attack that included buckets from five different players to make it 37-29. After first-year Jordan Smith (Tustin, CA) sank a jumper, Lee scored back-to-back layups to initiate the Maroon and Gray's rally.
The teams traded scores to close out the half, with Redlands remaining in front with a 41-35 advantage.
Pomona-Pitzer heated up from downtown in the third frame, which allowed the visitors to head into the halftime break with a slight 54-53 lead.
The final 10 minutes of regulation saw a steady chess match between the teams on either end of the court. For every shot made, the other answered, with neither squad gaining more than a three-point edge. Sophomore forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) provided two big-time, jumpers for the Bulldogs, both of which put the home team back on top.
Up by a score of 62-61 late in the fourth, Redlands' defense kept Pomona-Pitzer off the board over the next few possessions. Dack hauled in a huge rebound to set up another Lacey score for Redlands' 64-61 lead with 2:22 to go.
However, a quick five-point spurt by the Sagehens left the Bulldogs in a two-point hole. Redlands was forced to foul and sent the hot shooter to the line, but she missed the first to keep it a one-possession game with only seconds remaining.
Following a Bulldog timeout, Lacey inbounded the ball to Downs, who somehow tossed up the game-tying three-pointer to force overtime in dramatic fashion.
Unfortunately, the Maroon and Gray's celebration was short-lived, as the Sagehens took care of business in the extra frame by converting two more buckets from downtown to go along with a 6-for-8 effort at the free-throw line.
Lacey scored a game-high 25 points while also pulling in four rebounds and distributing three assists. Downs tallied 17 points, including four buckets from beyond the arc, to go along with four boards and three assists. Lee chipped in 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting.
Redlands (2-3, 0-1 SCIAC) hosts the University of La Verne on Saturday, December 1, at 2 p.m. in Currier Gym.