THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Two days removed from a thrilling Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the Cal Lutheran women's basketball team returned to the hardwood inside of the Gilbert Arena where the Regals took down Redlands in another exciting, 87-86, showing to remain atop the league standings.
The tip-off went to the Bulldogs and at the end of the first three quarters UR held an advantage, leading 42-34 at the half. Chipping away, Jessica Salottolo made a dynamic play to save the ball from going out of bounds on a rebound and Grace Derksen finished with a three-pointer to pull the Regals within two possessions at 47-42 midway through the third and give the team a spark. Although Redlands remained in control, the Regals turned things on in the fourth frame.
Early in the final period, Tatiana Dunlap scored a bucket off a pass from Derksen to give Cal Lutheran a 68-67 advantage. The hosts would hold onto the lead until Courtney Chen knocked down a three-pointer to get the Bulldogs back on top at 76-75. Sofia Cruz drew a foul seconds later at 3:57 and promptly converted two free-throws to leapfrog the Regals back ahead, 77-76, for a lead the team would not relinquish until the final buzzer sounded.
Janelle Porter scored 10 of her career-high 22 points at the free-throw line with seven in the final four minutes of regulation. Her and-one with 19 ticks to go was the difference maker as the Violet and Gold finished with a strong defensive effort, forcing a pair of missed UR shots in the final seconds of the game.
Redlands (7-9, 4-3 SCIAC) shot the slightest bit better than Cal Lutheran (51.7 percent) at 51.8 percent and also held an advantage in three-point field goals 75 percent (9-for-12) and free-throws at 76 percent (19-for-25) while CLU was 37.5 percent (6-for-16) and 73.1 percent (19-for-26), respectively. UR also out rebounded the Regals 33-30, but the home squad had one less turnover and handed out more assists with 24.
Salottolo led all players with a season-best 25 points and handed out a game-high seven assists. Haley Hodgson collected a game-high 12 rebounds and recorded a pair of blocks. Salottolo and Porter each nabbed two steals in the win as well.
Five Bulldogs reached double figures, led by 20 from Jade Cheldelin while Reyna Ta'amu scored 17. Cheldelin also led the way with six rebounds, two steals and a block.
Cal Lutheran (11-6, 7-1) begins the second round of SCIAC play on the road Saturday, Jan. 28 at Chapman where the Regals will look to avenge an earlier season loss to the Panthers. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. prior to the men's game at 4:00 p.m. in the Hutton Center.
Box Score: CLU 87, UR 86
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