The University of Redlands women's basketball team celebrated New Year's Eve a little early by opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition with a resounding 67-38 win over the visiting University of La Verne Leopards in Currier Gym on Saturday afternoon. After breaking an early tie with an 8-2 run to close out the first quarter, the Bulldogs successfully utilized their depth while holding the Leopards to a mere 19.2% shooting effort.
After La Verne scored the opening basket, Redlands responded with a four-point spurt that began with junior forward Reyna Ta'amu's (Lakewood, CA) drive to the basket for a lay-up.
As each team fought to find its offensive rhythm, the Bulldogs stepped up their defense by forcing multiple Leopard turnovers in the early part of the game.
With the score tied at six, senior forward Sydney Bennett (Agoura Hills, CA) initiated the 8-2 scoring spurt that allowed Redlands to grab a 14-8 lead through the end of the opening quarter. In addition to sophomore guard Mandy Silver's (Scotts Valley, CA) two successful free-throws, senior guard Jade Cheldelin (Portland, OR) and junior guard Angela Silver (Scotts Valley, CA) each knocked down a jumper to cap off the Bulldogs' solid start.
Redlands continued to play consistent and quality basketball throughout the second stanza, with junior guard Courtney Chen (La Canada, CA) slicing and dicing her way to the hoop for key lay-ups. Ta'amu made multiple inside shots of her own, while Bennett continued to convert buckets, resulting in an impressive 32-12 halftime lead for the Maroon and Gray.
During the third frame, Redlands remained in control, with Cheldelin leading the charge offensively by scoring seven of her team-high 13 points. In addition, A. Silver, freshman guard Mariana Ecija (San Diego, CA), and sophomore guard Brenna Dela Rosa (Waipahu, HI) added to the Bulldogs' scoring prowess that allowed the home team to extend its lead to 23 points at 54-31.
Highlighting the fourth quarter, A. Silver and Bennett scored nine of the team's 13 points with their excellent execution. Defensively, senior guard Selena Iriarte (Wilmington, CA) left her mark on the win with four rebounds in only five minutes of action.
With 14 players making contributions in the conference opener, Redlands cruised to the 29-point victory. Overall, the team shot 45% and out-rebounded the Leopards by a 54-27 margin.
Cheldelin and A. Silver each posted a double-double for the Bulldogs. Cheldelin led the team with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while A. Silver provided 11 points and 10 boards. Bennett also impressed off the bench with a 12-point, eight-rebound performance. Chen dished out five dimes.
Redlands (4-6, 1-0 SCIAC) welcomes the Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges to Currier Gym on Wednesday, January 4, for a 7 p.m. SCIAC showdown.