The University of Redlands women's basketball team went toe-to-toe against No. 21 Whitman College, but fell 76-79, in a nail-biter inside Currier Gym on Saturday night.
The Blue's got out to an early lead in the first quarter, but junior guard Alyssa Lee (Monterey Park, CA) connected on the Bulldogs' first three-pointer of the game to make it 9-10 with 4:11 left in the frame. Whitman attempted to create distance, but sophomore guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) and Lee each drained triples to end the quarter down, 17-22.
The three-point line continued to be effective for the Maroon and Gray, as first-year guard Marisa Urbano-Sedlund (San Diego, CA) knocked down a jumper and then a trey in her first minute of action to cut Redlands' deficit to 24-26 at the 7:51-mark in the second quarter.
Despite going down by five points, first-year guard Alexis Machain (San Diego, CA) and Downs connected from behind the arc to take the Bulldogs' first lead of the game at 37-36 with 1:22 left in the half. The Bulldogs went on a 5-0 run that featured another trey from Downs to head into the break with a 42-37 advantage.
Downs remained hot out of the locker room with another deep-ball in the opening minute. Just over a minute later, she hit another three-pointer to help the Bulldogs to their largest lead of the game at 50-44 with 8:11 on the clock in the third. For the remainder of the period, both teams traded blows, resulting in a 64-64 stalemate to set up a competitive fourth quarter.
The Blues struck first with the first three points, but Downs stepped behind the arc for her sixth three-pointer of the contest to knot the game at 67-67 with 7:07 left in the game. Just about three minutes later, senior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) took advantage of her opportunity at the foul-line by converting both, to give the Bulldogs a 71-70 edge at the 4:04-point.
Unfortunately, the Blues took the lead for good with a layup on the ensuing possession. Whitman went on a 7-0 run over the next couple minutes, but Downs halted its momentum with a triple to slim the deficit to just three points with 1:23 left to play. Although Lacey knocked down a pair of free throws in the final minute, the Blues escaped with a 79-76 victory.
Downs put together an impressive game with a career-high 31 points, including seven three-pointers, which is also her career-best. She also went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. Lacey joined her in double figures with 14 points and five rebounds. She was also effective from the foul-line with a 6-for-6 clip. Defensively, junior forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) matched a game-high three steals, while pulling in seven rebounds.
As a team, the Bulldogs shot 95% from the foul line with a 19-for-20 effort. They also forced 19 turnovers that led to 16 points on the other end. The Maroon and Gray bench did their part by outscoring the Blues, 25-14.
Redlands (3-1) returns to action next Friday with its first road contest of the season against Southern Virginia University (VA) at the Pat Deacon Tournament in Lexington, Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at Transylvania University.