UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | January 26, 2023

Women take 4th seed, say goodbye to senior players

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After winning the last regulation game in the final seconds, Dixie State University will move on to the Pacific West Conference women’s basketball tournament as fourth seed.

Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, Calif., will be hosting the tournament this year. The Red Storm have their first game of the tournament on March 7, where they will be Playing University Of Hawaii at Hilo.

The teams that will participate in this tournament are Hawaii Pacific University, Grand Canyon University, Academy of Art University, Dixie State University, UH-Hilo and Brigham Young University – Hawaii.

“There [are] a lot of really good teams [in the tournament],” head coach Derek Dawes said. “The tournament is going to be hard, but we can win. We will have to be lucky, but we can do it.”

He said everything they have been working for ends next week, so he hopes the women realize if they don’t take care of business, they go home. He said they just have to have the right attitude and play to their ability, and they will be fine.

The Storm will not make any changes to their game other than taking it easy in practice.

“We will try hard not to spend too much time on our feet so we can get the most amount of rest,” Dawes said.

He said if things go right for them, they will play a total of three games in three days.

“I am excited for the energy,” said senior center Becca Thomas, a communication major from Riverside, Calif. “It is kind of like a March Madness. I am excited to see our team give it their all.”

Thomas said she is not really nervous about the tournament. She said she has a lot of faith in her team, and she feels like it is starting to pull it together. All it needs to workon is its defense, which is most important, and it’s shooting percentage.

For their last regulation game of the season, Dixie beat Point Loma by 67-65 with a last minute buzzer beater by senior forward Johnna Brown. This game helped determine their seed in the tournament and had a total of five lead changes and 11 ties.

“[PLU] shoot[s] the lights out of the ball,” Dawes said. “They are incredible 3-point shooters and they set a lot of on-ball screens, and they come off of those screens ready to go. They are better outside the arc than they are inside. Those games can get away from you real quick if you let them.”

Dixie State improved to 12-6 in the PacWest and 14-12 overall.

As the season is coming to a close, Dixie will lose five seniors: guard Chanel Maxey, Thomas, guard Erica Hayes, and center Mandy Munns.

“We really appreciate the contributions that they have made to our university, our team and to the athletic department,” Dawes said. “We will miss seeing them around. I have nothing but good things to say. They should just be so proud of themselves and their families. They represent the university, their team, themselves and their families well.” 

Guard Chanel Maxey

“Chanel Maxey is a constant team player,” Dawes said. “You will look at the stat sheet and nothing will jump out. But she plays so hard.”

He said he always puts her on the opponent’s best player and she shuts them down.

Center Becca Thomas

“Becca is a player that battled really hard and has a great outside shot,” Dawes said. “She has a great personality.”

He said he likes the optimism she brings to things as well as her good attitude.

Center Mandy Munns 

“Mandy is a transfer,” Dawes said. “She has gotten some PacWest accolades and has been named in the fantastic 15 a few times.”

He said she developed a strong inside presence that Dixie needed.

Guard Erica Hayes

“Erica Hayes is another one that just carries us; she battles,” Dawes said.

He said she comes up with a big basket when we change to third person need it.

Forward Johnna Brown

“Johnna Brown is one that has just carried us on [her] shoulders throughout the year,” Dawes said. “Her competitive drive is unmatched.”