Tonight's win sends Redlands into a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference standings.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a layup from sophomore forward Camille Mosley (Riverside, CA) off of a nice pass from first-year guard Alyssa Downs (South San Francisco, CA). After the Poets scored the next four points, junior guard Cassandra Lacey (Victorville, CA) stepped back for a midrange jumper to tie the game at 4-all.
As the action continued, Whittier gained an 8-6 lead by the 6:27-mark, but Redlands benefitted from tough defense over the next few possessions, which led to Downs' three-pointer for her team's 9-8 advantage. The Bulldogs maintained the momentum, as Mosley stole the ball and scored a jumper on the other end before sophomore guard Kellis Dack (Vancouver, WA) converted a bucket shortly thereafter for the Maroon and Gray's 13-8 advantage in the final minute of the first quarter.
Although the Poets closed the gap to two points to end the first, first-year guard Chyanne Pagkalinawan (Torrance, CA) knocked down a three-pointer and then found Lacey for a jumper to help extend the Bulldogs' lead to 18-11 early in the second.
By the 4:39-mark, Redlands gained its first double-digit lead of the game off of another deep-ball from Downs to make it 23-13. After Whittier scored a layup on the ensuing possession, Redlands answered with five consecutive points, including another trey from Pagkalinawan, to push the advantage to 28-15. The three-point attack continued, as Pagkalinawan fed Downs for a nothing-but-net bucket from downtown with 34 seconds left in the second quarter. Although the Poets knocked down a three of their own, the Maroon and Gray entered the break with a solid 31-20 lead.
Redlands picked up where it left off in the first half, as Pagkalinawan found Downs for her third triple of the game on the home team's first possession of the third quarter. After Whitter slimmed the lead to 10, Lacey hit a difficult and-one jumper and knocked down her free throw for Redlands' 37-24 advantage with 7:18 left on the clock.
Over the next couple of minutes, the Poets cut the deficit to single digits, but Pagkalinawan's three-pointer pushed the Bulldogs' lead back up to 12 with 3:28 remaining in the third.
A few plays later, Downs drove the lane and dropped a slick bounce pass to fellow first-year forward Hannah Jerrier (Canton, MA), who scored the lay-in to help give the Maroon and Gray a 44-33 lead. In the final minute, the Poets scored a layup and completed the three-point play to make it a three-possession game, as the teams headed into the final stanza.
After Mosley knocked down an early jumper on the baseline, Whitter scored four points to trim the deficit down to 40-46. Nonetheless, Redlands answered with three-pointers from Downs and Lacey to take a 52-42 advantage.
As the teams traded buckets over the next several plays, Lacey set up Jerrier for layups on back-to-back possessions for Redlands' 56-47 lead with 4:36 to go. The Poets called a timeout to regroup and came back with six-straight points to make it a two-point game at 54-56 with 2:34 remaining in regulation.
Despite Whittier's late-game effort, Redlands remained composed and earned a 58-54 lead when Dack drove the lane for a score on the next possession.
Trailing in the final minute, the Poets were forced to send the Bulldogs to the line, where the home team iced the game by making 6-of-7 free throws down the stretch to secure the important win.
Lacey paced the squad with 19 points and five assists while going 6-for-7 from the charity stripe. Downs did all of her damage from downtown with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the perimeter. She also added five assists. Pagkalinawan enjoyed one of the strongest games of her young career with 11 points and a career-high six assists.
As a team, the Bulldogs shot 50% from beyond the arc and held Whittier to just 26.7% on 4-of-15 shooting from three-point range. The Maroon and Gray moved the ball well and matched a season-high 18 assists on the night, with 44 points coming off the assists.
Redlands (8-11, 5-5 SCIAC) hits the road to face the conference leader, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, on Saturday, January 26, at 5 p.m.