The University of Redlands women's basketball team orchestrated a strong end-of-season push to secure its 12th consecutive appearance in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament to conclude the 2018-19 campaign. Amidst multiple hard-fought wins, the Bulldogs tallied an 11-15 overall mark and an 8-8 showing in the conference for fourth place.
The season began with a pair of solid wins at the annual Redlands Tip-Off Classic, as the Bulldogs topped Linfield College (OR), 76-64, and Illinois College, 79-61. Junior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) scored 31 points against the Wildcats in a precursor of things to come for the talented Bulldog. In addition, first-year forward Hannah Jerrier (Canton, MA) made her presence known with 11 rebounds in her regular-season, collegiate debut. Four starters scored in double figures to lift the Bulldogs past Illinois College, including 14 points apiece by sophomore forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) and sophomore forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA).
However, the Maroon and Gray endured an eight-game skid over the next few weeks. Three of these losses came in overtime, including a 71-72 decision to Elmhurst College (IL), while four others were against conference foes.
Redlands attempted to right the ship in a 66-43 victory over the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg (PA) during the Chapman Winter Classic. While leading early on, the Bulldogs used a new combination of contributors to snap their recent slump. First-year guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) impressed with her 17-point effort, while sophomore guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) posted a career-high 15 points. In addition, first-year guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (Torrance, CA) made the most of her collegiate debut by coming off the bench for 13 points. Dack snagged 10 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, in an impressive effort.
But the Maroon and Gray dropped its next two to close out the month of December and looked forward to the New Year for a fresh start. After a seven-game hiatus from the friendly confines of Currier Gym, Redlands jumped back in the win column with a hard-fought 66-64 win over the visiting Beavers of Caltech. Downs led the team with 22 points, while Dack hauled in nine offensive boards and six defensive rebounds for a total of 15.
During a defensive battle against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, the Maroon and Gray fell short in a 41-47 loss. However, this inspired a four-game win streak in conference competition, beginning with a 79-75 win over Cal Lutheran University on January 9. Lacey carried the squad with her 27-point outburst, as Mosley tossed in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, Redlands topped Occidental College, the University of La Verne, and Whittier College during this stretch. The closest win of the conference games came on the road against the Leopards, with first-year guard Jordan Smith (Tustin, CA) hitting a buzzer-beater trey for the 75-74 triumph. In addition, the Bulldogs tallied 18 assists in a 65-59 win over Whittier to cap off the run.
After two tough losses to conference foes, the Bulldogs began the month of February on a high note with a 57-45 victory over Occidental College. While building a 17-point lead, Redlands used a stifling defense in the third quarter to limit the Tigers to just two points. Overall, the Maroon and Gray dominated the boards with a 57-27 advantage, as Lacey hauled in 10 for a double-double with her 18 points.
Despite being tripped up by Chapman University in the next game, the Bulldogs remained in the hunt for the final postseason spot with two contests remaining. However, the tight standings required the Maroon and Gray to win both to secure the No. 4 seed and the squad rose to the challenge to accomplish just that. With Lacey's career-high 34 points leading the charge, Redlands captured a 74-67 win over Cal Lutheran on February 13 in Thousand Oaks. Down by one at the start of the final frame, the Bulldogs kept their composure amidst a foul-heavy stanza. Lacey converted a pair of and-one plays, while Downs blocked a CLU shot and snagged the defense rebound in a key play. The final game of the regular season saw Lacey step up with a last-second shot to edge Caltech, 52-51, in a must-win situation for the Maroon and Gray. Junior guard Lindsay Kilgore (Mira Loma, CA) provided a productive 13 minutes of action by scoring 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Dack hauled in 12 rebounds for her eighth game with 10 or more boards.
Although Redlands was thrilled to be in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament for the 12th year in a row, the fourth-seeded Bulldogs faced top-seeded CMS in the semifinal for the sixth consecutive time. Unfortunately, the Maroon and Gray trailed early and struggled to overcome the deficit in the 49-72 defeat.
Following the season, Lacey and Downs received their inaugural All-SCIAC honors, with Lacey landing on the First Team and Downs representing the Bulldogs on the Second Team. The duo accounted for 836 of the team's 1,563 points on the season. Downs also reset the single-season school record with 81 made three-pointers.
While returning all but senior guard Brenna De La Rosa (Waipahu, HI), who graduates this April, the Bulldog women's basketball team looks forward to building upon this year's, late-season momentum. With determination and talent, Redlands holds high expectations for a continued upward trajectory that includes extending its streak for postseason opportunities and more.