LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2011) – The Black and Orange moved into sole possession of first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings with their 61-55 victory over the University of Redlands tonight in Rush Gymnasium.
The first half had all the intensity of a playoff game, as both squads relied on half court execution and physical post play. Redlands forged ahead 16-10, with 14 of those points being scored in the paint, forcing an Oxy timeout. The Tigers adjusted and promptly went on a 9-2 run to take their first lead of the ballgame when Stephanie Babij drove from the elbow and scored between two Bulldog defenders. The lead then changed hands three more times before halftime, with Redlands holding a slim 29-28 lead at the break.
Although both teams made the proper adjustments at halftime, the second half still mirrored the first as both teams continued to pound the ball inside. With more at stake and every possession magnified, it took just a few minutes to see that the level of physical play had increased and as a result so did the amount official's whistles. The teams combined for 32 free throw attempts in the final stanza, which became a key stat in the outcome as Oxy doubled up the Bulldogs from the charity stripe (Oxy 12 – UR 6) by six and went on to win by that same margin.
That six point advantage along with the stellar inside play of Makenzie Brandon (game high 15 points and eight rebounds), Katelyn Rowe (nine points and six rebounds), Babij (eight points and seven rebounds), and Elizabeth Messick (five points and five rebounds) powered the three time defending SCIAC champions past Redlands for the victory.
The Bulldogs (8-6, 2-1) were led by Courtney Carroll who scored a game high 15 points, while Victoria Fakalata (13 points) and Christina Rios (10 points) also posted double digit scoring nights.
Though the game was focused in the paint, when Oxy (8-6, 3-0) needed to kick the ball out to the wing they found the hot hand of Stephanie Scamman (11 points) while Laura Mohler did a great job of facilitating the offense with a game and season high seven assists from the perimeter.
The Tigers now travel to Whittier College on Thursday, January 20th, to take on the second place Poets who sit in a three way tie with the Bulldogs and University of La Verne at 2-1 in the SCIAC. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm.