Basketball takes the Bay Area by ‘Storm’

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Dixie State University basketball went on a four-game road trip last week.

The men’s team was trying to build on a four-game win streak while the women would try to end a six-game skid.

Men’s basketball  

The DSU men headed west to California, hoping to keep the Storm rolling against four conference foes.

First, the Storm faced off against No. 17 Azusa Pacific University exactly a week after Dixie beat APU 97-91 in an overtime thriller in Burns Arena.

DSU started the game hot, securing an early 12-point lead. Dixie State held that lead for the majority of the game until APU guard Troy Leaf led the Cougars to a late-game comeback scoring 10 straight points.  

Dixie couldn’t answer back and suffered its first ever loss to APU. Senior center Zach Robbins dumped in 20 points, and junior forward Mark Ogden Jr. added 15 points and 11 rebounds.

After the loss, head coach Jon Judkins emphasized moving on.

“It was a tough loss.” Judkins said. “We just have to move forward. We are still in the position to compete for a conference championship. We’re just taking it one game at a time.”

Following the loss to APU, Dixie matched up with Dominican University of California in San Rafael, California, on Thursday.

Senior guard DeQuan Thompson sat early on due to an illness. He entered the game after just five minutes on the bench and immediately sparked a quick run for the Storm. Thompson instantly hit a mid-range jumper, which gave him his 1,000th career point. Thompson became just the fifth member of “1,000 point club.”
DSU got the 86-83 victory over DUC.   

The third game would be another meeting with Academy of Art.

Senior guard Mason Sawyer had 12 points, and Thompson added 13 in the 77-60 win.     

Ogden Jr., a business administration major from Spring Valley, California said he believes the Storm’s great play as of late contributes to the team’s togetherness.

“Our team chemistry is clicking,” Ogden said. “It’s leading to great execution on the court.”

Women’s Basketball

The DSU women, looking to get out of their mid-season slump, also started a four-game road swing against Azusa Pacific on Jan. 24.

Meeting for the second time in a week, the Cougars are a familiar foe, but that didn’t seem to aid the Storm as the Cougars dominated from wire to wire. DSU junior guard Chermayne Moore scored 13 points in the 90-60 loss to APU.

Moore’s hot shooting would carry on to the next game against Dominican University of California. Moore and senior guard Kaylah Miller made it rain in the Bay Area on Thursday, each of them hitting seven shots from distance.

The Penguins, though, were able to weather the Storms’ early 3-point barrage and led 42-24 at the half.

Dixie suffered its fifth straight loss 89-78. DSU head coach Jenny Thigpin said she believes the problems are simple.

“We are turning the ball over too much, simple as that.” Thigpin said. “We are making the same mistakes over and over again, and it’s just something we need to focus on improving.”

The next game was much of the same, as DSU turnovers plagued the team from start to finish against Academy of Art. The Knights scored 36 points off of 31 Dixie State turnovers, which proved to be too much for the Storm to overcome.

On the final game of the road trip, the tide would finally turn for the Storm. Dixie State shot nearly 50 percent from the field on its way to its first win in the last seven games. Mann attributes the improved play to team chemistry. 

“We played team ball.” Mann said. “We have the potential to do that every game. We just have to tap into it more often.”

Both DSU teams will head back to Burns Arena to play Notre Dame de Namur University on Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.