Redlands Women's Basketball Suffers 61-63 Heartbreaker to Chapman

Photo credit: Mollie Craighead
Photo credit: Mollie Craighead

The University of Redlands women's basketball team traveled to Orange to take on conference foe, Chapman University, on Saturday afternoon. Amidst an action-packed game that included 10 ties and five lead-changes, the Bulldogs shot an incredible 44.2% but struggled with turnovers in a difficult 61-63 loss to the Panthers.

At the 5:06-mark in the first quarter, junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) raced the ball back down the court for a lay-up to make it a one-point game at 4-5. Two possessions later, Chen sunk both of her free-throws to give Redlands its first lead of the afternoon at 8-7 with 2:33 left in the first stanza.

With a minute to go, Chen made two more from the charity stripe to tie it up at 10 apiece. Following a quick Panther bucket, the teams headed to the sidelines at the end of the quarter with Chapman holding a slight 12-10 advantage.

The back-and-forth style of play continued into the second quarter, with the teams trading baskets throughout the frame. Junior forward Reyna Ta'amu (Lakewood, CA) and junior guard Caitlyn Dixon (Seattle, WA) stepped up big time for the Bulldogs by providing six points each, with Ta'amu adding five rebounds.

Sophomore guard Mandy Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) added to the Maroon and Gray offense with a crafty lay-up at the 2:30-mark in the second to equalize the score at 23-all. On the team's next possession, Ta'amu made her way through the lane to score another bucket and give the Bulldogs their second lead of the night.

Dixon kept things rolling as she hit a huge shot from beyond the arc off the hands of freshman guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) for Redlands' slight advantage at 28-25. However, a quick six-point spurt by the Panthers resulted in the Bulldogs' 28-31 deficit at the halftime break.

The teams continued to battle during the third quarter, with the Panthers leading 40-39 with 2:32 to go. However, a quick 8-2 run by the home team forced the Bulldogs into catch-up mode at 41-48. Following another Chen lay-up, Chapman answered with a three-pointer to stretch its lead to eight points. After freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA) sliced her to way to the basket for a last-second bucket, Redlands remained within striking distance at 47-53.

The Bulldogs fought to chip away at the six-point hole during the fourth frame, as Dixon knocked down a pair of huge three-pointers during a 90-second span at the midway point of the quarter. Ta'amu's ensuing jumper kept it a one-point game for Redlands, but the Panthers quickly stretched their lead back to six points.

Amazingly, neither team scored over the next few possessions, until M. Silver drove the lane for a Bulldog bucket with 1:22 left on the clock. On the ensuing play, Chapman turned the ball over, allowing Redlands to inbound the ball. After the missed shot, Ta'amu muscled her way under the basket to snag the offensive rebound and laid it up and in to make it 61-63.

Ta'amu hauled in another huge rebound on Chapman's subsequent missed shot to give Redlands a chance to win it. With one second left in the game, Redlands went for the win off of an Ecija trey-ball but unfortunately it bounced off the rim, sending Redlands home with a difficult 61-63 defeat.

Ta'amu had amazing game, registering a double-double with 14 points and an insane 16 rebounds. Dixon added 12 points on a 4-for-6 showing from downtown. Chen finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

The Bulldogs (4-8, 1-2 SCIAC) head to Pasadena for a conference showdown against Caltech on Wednesday, January 11, at 7 p.m.