Redlands Women's Basketball Challenges No. 4 UT Tyler in Home-Opening Loss, 79-91

Redlands Women's Basketball Challenges No. 4 UT Tyler in Home-Opening Loss, 79-91

In the inaugural game of the Redlands Tip-Off Classic, the University of Redlands women's basketball team took on the Patriots of the fourth-ranked University of Texas at Tyler on Friday night. Despite keeping the score within one point at halftime, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain their momentum in the third quarter and eventually fell by a final tally of 79-91.

Redlands started the game strong, as senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) registered the first points with a crafty lay-up. Junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) followed suit with two steals, one of which she converted into a bucket to equalize the score at 4-4.

Cheldelin's subsequent jumper initiated an 8-0 run for the Bulldogs that included back-to-back buckets by sophomore guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA). After Cheldelin bookended the scoring spurt, freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) went on to drain a deep three-pointer to give Redlands its biggest lead of the night at 15-8 with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter.

A back-and-forth battle ensued, with Redlands gaining well-timed treys from freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA).  Junior forward Megan Fortenberry (Riverside, CA) also offered quality minutes off the bench, scoring twice in a 60-second span. 

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs battled through a stretch of turnovers, which foiled their offensive rhythm.

Nonetheless, Redlands battled back before halftime, cutting the deficit to one point at 42-43.  Ecija fired off seven points, before Silver sealed the comeback with a pair of free-throws late in the second quarter.

However, the Patriots stymied the home team's efforts with a solid third-quarter showing that forced the Bulldogs into a double-digit deficit, which proved too much to overcome.

Ecija led the Maroon and Gray by knocking down a massive 16 points in her first game as a Bulldog.  Cheldelin supplied a 13-point, nine-rebound, and four-steal showing.  Lacey and Chen each chipped in 10 points.

The Bulldogs (0-1) face a quick turn-around as they host non-conference opponent, Bethesda University, in Saturday's game of the Tip-Off Classic in Currier Gym. Game is slated for 7 p.m.