In a come-from-behind effort, the University of Redlands women's basketball team took down Pacific Lutheran University 68-65 in non-conference action at home on Saturday afternoon.
Although the Lutes cracked open a 9-4 lead early in the first quarter but first-year guard Alexis Machain (San Diego, CA) slashed to the hoop for a layup to tie the game at 9-9 with 3:17 left in the first. Unfortunately, Pacific Lutheran went on a 9-3 run to close the period for an 18-12 advantage after one.
Nonetheless, senior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) knocked down the first two buckets of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 16-18 less than two minutes in. Despite the Lutes going on another big run to build a double-digit lead, their momentum was halted by a tough jumper from Lacey at the midway point of the half. The basket sparked a 10-0 surge, led by seven consecutive points by first-year guard Marissa Urbano-Sedlund (San Diego, CA) to head into halftime facing only a two-point deficit at 26-28.
After the Lutes extended their lead to six to start the second half, the Bulldogs strung together six straight points to knot the game at 36-all with just over three minutes to go in the quarter. The Maroon and Gray locked in defensively by not allowing a basket for the remainder of the period. All-the-while, the Bulldogs stole momentum, and the lead, by making eight free throws to close out the quarter with a 43-36 advantage.
In the fourth, the Lutes came to within one point at the 6:45-mark, but Urbano-Sedlund fed sophomore guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (Torrance, CA) for the lay-in to push the lead to 47-44. A few minutes later, first-year forward Julia Balesteri (Pleasanton, CA) checked into the game and made an immediate impact with a layup off of her offensive board to give the Bulldogs a 56-52 lead. She corralled another offensive rebound on the Maroon and Gray's next possession and then knocked down a pair of free throws that helped Redlands to a 58-52 lead with just under two minutes to go.
For the duration of the contest, the Lutes were forced to send the Bulldogs to the charity stripe where they took advantage of their opportunities. Redlands went 7-8 from the line in the final 19 seconds, cementing a hard-fought, 68-65 victory.
For the game, Lacey led the team with 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting from the field and a 7-for-9 clip from the free-throw line. She also added a strong defensive effort with three steals and a block. Off the bench, Urbano-Sedlund chipped in nine points, while Balesteri notched seven points, 10 boards, four blocks, and two steals in 16 minutes of action. The Bulldogs' bench outscored the Lutes, 31-8 for the game.
Redlands (3-0) hopes to carry its momentum into next Saturday's home contest against No. 21 Whitman College at 5 p.m.