U of R Women's Basketball Prevails in Hard-Fought 66-64 Victory over Caltech

Photo credit: Sam Keary
Photo credit: Sam Keary

After a seven-game hiatus from Currier Gym, the University of Redlands women's basketball team returned home on Wednesday evening to defeat the Beavers of Caltech, 66-64, in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action.

The Bulldogs came out of the gates hot with a quick four-point lead off buckets from sophomore guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) and first-year guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (Torrance, CA). Although the Beavers tied the game, Redlands responded when first-year guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) drained a pair of three-pointers to extend the lead to six points with 3:38 to go in the first quarter. While the Maroon and Gray continued to stifle Caltech on the defensive end, Lee closed the quarter with five points to make it a 16-9 game after one.

In the first couple minutes of the second frame, the Beavers brought it to within one point. Nonetheless, Redlands settled down and went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 24-18. Junior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) rattled off four consecutive points before sophomore guard Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) converted an and-one play during this stretch. With the momentum on their side, the Bulldogs saw Lacey finish her strong eight-point quarter to help her team to a 29-28 lead at the halftime break.

After both teams displayed a sluggish start to the third, Pagkalinawan's layup at the 6:09-mark sparked an 8-0 Bulldog run that was capped off by a trey from Downs to help them gain a 39-32 advantage.

However, the Beavers refused to go away and cut the deficit down to three points with 3:25 remaining in the frame.  But Downs answered by sinking her fourth and fifth deep balls of the night to put Redlands back up by a score of 45-36 with 10 minutes to go.

Lacey got things going in the fourth, as Downs found her for a mid-range jumper just 20 seconds into the action to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 47-36. Nonetheless, the Beavers began to inch their way back and cut it to four with 5:45 left in the contest. The back-and-forth battle continued, with Lee knocking down a huge jumper, which was followed by free throws from Downs and Pagkalinawan to extend the Redlands advantage to 53-45.

On a critical possession at the 2:36-mark, Dack and Pagkalinawan reeled in offensive rebounds that allowed Dack to drop a sweet back-door dime to Downs for a layup to make it 56-47. Heading into the final minute, Lacey hit two free throws to push the lead back to double digits at 60-50.

Although Caltech scored a pair of late three-pointers, the Bulldogs hit four more free throws in the final minute to take home a resilient, 66-64 triumph.

Downs led the way with 22 points, including 16 in the second half. She proved to be a long-range threat by hitting five three-pointers for the second time this season. Dack dominated the paint with a career-high 15 rebounds while pulling in nine off the offensive glass. This marks her fifth straight game with double-digit rebounds. Lacey also carried a large load offensively with 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists, while registering two steals and a block. Lee played strong on both ends with 12 points, four rebounds, and three steals.

Redlands (4-10, 1-4 SCIAC) hosts the Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, as part of a SCIAC doubleheader with the men.