Red Storm win against BYU-H rekindles women’s fire

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After the jaw clenching win against Brigham Young University–Hawaii, and the seven point loss against Hawaii Pacific University, the Dixie State University women’s basketball team played Point Loma University for the last regular game of the season. 

DSU beat BYU-H 80-49 on Feb. 23 with senior guard Erica Hayes, junior forward Johnna Brown, and senior center Becca Thomas all scoring double figures.

“I thought our game against BYU-Hawaii was probably our most complete game we have played since I have started,” head coach Derek Dawes said. “We had a lot of tips and steals and made some easy baskets.”

The Storm lost the next game on Feb. 25 against HPU, which is ranked No. 2 in the Pacific West Conference. Erica Hayes led the team with 17 points.

Recently returning from a four-game series, the Red Storm have a good idea of where they stand in the conference.

“We played well for the most part,” Dawes said. “The Holy Names game we had kind of let up, but we responded well. Three-and-one up there is not bad at all. We will take it.”

The Red Storm clinched a spot in the conference tournament that will be held March 7-9.

Dawes said he doesn’t know which seed the Red Storm will be in the tournament.

“Our conference is really good,” Dawes said. “And [it has] a lot of really good teams, but we can win that college tournament. To go out with a bang would mean to win [the college tournament] and go on to the NCAA tournament.”

He said they will have to have the stars align, but they can do it.

In order to get the Storm on the right track to the NCAA tourney, they need to win their next game against Point Loma.

“We want to win out,” said center Mandy Munns, a senior social science major from Brigham City.

She said the games against BYU-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, and Point Loma are big for the team.

“We need those three wins so we can hopefully end up in the tournament with a better seed,” Munns said.

Dixie State beat PLU earlier in December, 80-63.

“We had a few defensive breakdowns,” Munns said. “But offensively we played really well. That was one of our better games. We played with energy.”

To guarantee their success on March 3, they will have to keep up with their feat in the past few games.

“They [have] attacked the ball and went for layups really well.” Dawes said. “I have seen that in practice too.”

Dawes said rebounding is just as much mental as it is physical. He said that is one part of the game where the women have improved.

Along with the mental side of things, the women have not let trials affect their game.

“They handle adversity pretty well,” Dawes said. “They had some challenges with changes, and things like that, but I am proud of them. I am proud of the way they have kind of put their personal things aside. I’m just proud of the way they have developed their competitive natures and really just want to win.”

With the Storm winning five out of six games in the past month, the women have progressed in more ways than one.

“I think their intensity has picked up a lot,” Dawes said. “They have that desire to win, where losing is a horrible, horrible thing and they want to avoid that at all costs.”