REDLANDS, Calif. — A back-and-forth battle for the first 38 minutes of the game, the Cal Lutheran Regals fell just short to the Redlands Bulldogs 79-75 in Wednesday night's conference matchup.
Offensively, three Regals posted double-digit nights. Freshman Haley Tyrell recorded her career-high 17 points followed by junior Natalie Ruhl's sixth double-digit night of the season with 12. Closely behind, senior Kayla Watterson added ten points of her own and eight rebounds, a season-high in both categories.
Though the Bulldogs took the early lead, Cal Lutheran took advantage of a big offensive night from Tyrell to stay neck-and neck throughout the first 20 minutes of play. The guard out of Henderson, Nev., shot 5-11 from the floor and 7-10 at the free throw line in just her second career start.
A season-high 91 team percentage from the free throw line in the first half and crucial threes from sophomore Jessi Westering and freshman Cameron Mallory moved Cal Lutheran to just one point 17-16 of Redlands after the first. The second quarter featured stronger play in the paint led by layups to further close the gap, until sophomore Kailee Yan finally broke through with two seconds on the clock with the layup to move the Regals ahead 37-36 entering the half.
However, the toe-to-toe battle only continued into the third quarter. While sophomore Jade Jordan put up the first points of the fresh period for the Regals with a deep three, the Bulldogs began to pull away behind a 14-5 scoring run.
But Cal Lutheran soon responded behind four consecutive field goals from Ruhl, who scored eight of her 12 points in the third quarter alone. Her scoring slide shifted the offensive momentum back into the Regals' favor and pushed Cal Lutheran ahead 56-55 heading into the final ten minutes of play.
On the other hand, while the Regals pushed their way to their largest lead of the night 64-59 with 5:45 left to play, the Bulldogs began to chip away at Cal Lutheran's lead. A 27-point night from Cassandra Lacey aided Redlands back into positive territory at the 3:31 minute mark.
The battle continued as each team rebutted shot for shot until Alyssa Downs sank a three with a 1:24 on the clock to push Redlands ahead 73-68. And although back-to-back layups and perfect shooting from the free throw line by Tyrell moved the Regals back within one possession 78-75 with seven seconds on the clock, the Regals could not find the buzzer-beater magic for the night after a free throw by the Bulldogs' Alyssa Lee sealed in the 79-75 score.
The loss moves Cal Lutheran to 6-8 overall on the year and 3-2 in conference play. The team now turns their attention to the Whittier Poets for their 2 p.m. matchup on Saturday, January 12, inside the Donald E. Graham Athletics Center.
Box Score: UR 79, CLU 75
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director