Three players scored in double-figures to help the University of Redlands women's basketball team upend Whittier College, 64-50, in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) home opener on Saturday afternoon.
The Poets began the game with the opening bucket, but senior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) knocked down a mid-range jumper to knot the game at two apiece a minute and a half into the action. The teams traded baskets until the Bulldogs went on a 5-2 surge to end the first quarter with a 14-10 advantage.
Their momentum carried into the second quarter as the Maroon and Gray earned two consecutive stops to open the period, which led to a trey by junior guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) to help put Redlands up by seven.
Despite the Poets coming to within two points, Lee found sophomore guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) for another triple for a 20-15 lead with 6:33 left in the half. Downs continued to score seven of the Bulldogs' final 12 points to head into the break up, 29-21.
In the third quarter, Whittier worked its way back into the game to take its first lead since the opening bucket at 36-35 with 2:59 remaining in the period.
Nonetheless, two successful free throws from first-year forward Julia Balesteri (Pleasanton, CA) helped the Bulldogs head into the final 10 minutes with a 43-41 advantage.
First-year guard Marisa Urbano-Sedlund (San Diego, CA) provided instant energy to start the fourth with a triple on the first possession. Less than a minute later, she poked the ball loose for the steal and dished it to first-year guard Alexis Machain (San Diego, CA), who drained a deep ball in transition to cushion the lead to 49-41 with 8:31 remaining.
Balesteri also impacted the game with three points and a block in just over a 30-second span to help put Redlands up by double-digits at 52-41 at the 7:52-mark. Despite the Poets trimming the lead down to eight, the Maroon and Gray answered with a 7-0 run, culminated by a lay-in by Balesteri to take the largest lead of the game at 61-46 with 2:50 left to play. Urbano-Sedlund added a transition jumper with 47 seconds left to help put the Poets away, 64-50.
Both Downs and Lacey carried the offense with 17 and 12 points, respectively. Off the bench, Urbano-Sedlund provided a spark with 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting in just 10 minutes of action. Balesteri notched a near double-double with eight points and 10 boards in 14 minutes off the bench.
As a team, the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Poets, 43-25, while also holding a 13-6 advantage in the assist category. The Maroon and Gray bench out-produced Whittier, 28-14.
Redlands (5-3, 2-0 SCIAC) continues on to the second game of a four-game home stretch against non-conference foe, Piedmont College (GA) at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 16.