U of R Women's Basketball Drops Heart-breaker to Pomona-Pitzer, 70-71

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Despite out-shooting the second-place Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges, the University of Redlands women's basketball team suffered a disappointing 70-71 loss during Wednesday night's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown in Claremont.  The Bulldogs also poured in more points in three of the four quarters than the home team, but a difficult second-quarter lull provided just enough of an edge for Pomona-Pitzer to steal the win.

The Maroon and Gray stormed out to a 14-7 lead less than six minutes into the action.  Sophomore forward Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) bookended the hot start, while first-year guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA) hit back-to-back threes that came off of assists from junior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) and first-year guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (Torrance, CA).

Although Pomona-Pitzer answered to tie it up at 18, the Bulldogs looked to Downs to sink her third trey-ball of the game for their 21-18 advantage through 10 minutes of action.

Unfortunately, Redlands' 60% shooting spree and perfect effort from beyond the arc diminished in the second quarter, just as the Sagehens' offense heated up.  Pomona-Pitzer came out firing and scored the first 11 points of the frame to take a 29-21 lead by the 6:48-mark.

Nonetheless, sophomore forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) initiated the Bulldogs' comeback that also included key plays by sophomore guard Claire Olmstead (Sherman, TX) on both ends of the court.  In addition, Downs, Dack, and Pagkalinawan hit big buckets late in the quarter to move the Maroon and Gray within striking distance at 31-34 by the time the teams headed into the locker room.

The teams traded scores over the first few minutes of the third quarter, with Lacey, Mosley, and Pagkalinawan carrying the load for the Bulldogs.  Although Pomona-Pitzer developed a three-possession lead, Redlands kept clawing to even the tally at 49 with 2:20 to go in the stanza.  Dack and Lacey collectively sccored eight points over an important two-minute stretch for the Maroon and Gray.

With 10 minutes to go, the Bulldogs faced a manageable deficit at 50-52. 

After playing tough defense and scoring buckets for a 59-54 advantage, Redlands forced the Sagehens to call a timeout at the 6:42-mark.  With the offense clicking, the Bulldogs stretched that lead to 64-56 about a minute later off a Pagkalinawan three-pointer and an Olmstead layup. 

However, Pomona-Pitzer's perimeter offense turned it up for four huge buckets to give the home team a 69-66 lead with 36 seconds remaining.  After Downs' two made free-throws, Redlands sent the Sagehens to the line, which made it a three-point game again.  Despite Lacey's late bucket and the Bulldogs' stellar defense to force a Sagehen turnover, the visitors' final shot missed the mark, which left the Maroon and Gray on the losing end of this thriller.

Overall, the Bulldogs' converted 29 shots at a 48.3% clip, while Pomona-Pitzer went 26-for-61 on 42.6% shooting.  In addition, Redlands earned a 5-for-9 showing from deep for a 55.6% effort, as the Sagehens converted 45% of their threes (9-for-20).   

Four of Redlands' five starters scored in double figures, with Downs leading the charge at 20 points off of 7-for-11 shooting. She also converted her first three shots from beyond the arc and ended the night with a 4-for-6 showing.  Lacey and Dack each provided 14 points, while Lacey also registered six assists and five rebounds.  Dack pulled in a team-high eight boards.  Pagkalinawan completed the Bulldogs' double-digit scorers with 13 points to go along with four assists. 

With tonight's results around the conference, Redlands (8-13, 5-7 SCIAC) slips into a tie for sixth place with five games remaining.  After a bye this weekend, the Bulldogs host Occidental College on Wednesday, February 6, at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.