After a 69-59 victory over Notre Dame de Namur University, the Dixie State University women’s basketball team fell short against Point Loma Nazarene University 82-75.
Sitting at 2-10 on the season and 2-4 in the Pacific West Conference, DSU faced two home games against conference opponents with hopes of returning to .500 in conference play. The first game pitted the Red Storm against the NDNU Argonauts.
NDNU jumped out to an early lead and maintained the advantage throughout most of the first half. DSU rallied back, however, and took a 22-20 lead with two minutes left in the half. Despite shooting just 29 percent from the field, the Red Storm took a 29-22 lead into halftime.
DSU’s defense played a major role in the game as it implemented a full-court press, which helped it force 23 turnovers. The Red Storm scored 25 points off those turnovers as they took a 17-point lead, the largest of the game for either team, late in the second half.
“We believe that our defense starts our offense,” DSU head coach Jenny Thigpin said. “This is the type of system that we want to run, and we are starting to see some product out of it by getting those turnovers and steals.”
The Argonauts would make one last push and trim the lead to single digits, but DSU remained poised down the stretch as it secured the victory 69-59.
Senior center Taylor Mann led the way for the Red Storm with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Sandria Bolden chipped in 13 while senior guards Leslie Tademy and Chermayne Moore added 12 and 11 points against the Argonauts, respectively.
DSU hoped to maintain the momentum against the PLNU Sea Lions. The Sea Lions were on fire in the first half as they shot 50 percent from the field and connected on four of their nine 3-point shots. The Red Storm dominated the rebound battle and held the lead for most of the first half before entering halftime trailing 37-36.
“We do give up a lot of open looks with our full-court pressure,” Thigpin said. “By double-teaming the ball, we are gambling a little, and, against a good shooting team like this, we can’t give up those easy looks.”
The hot shooting continued for the Sea Lions in the second half, and DSU found itself trailing 71-57 with just six minutes left in the game. The Red Storm quickly turned things around and went on a 16-5 run over the next five minutes, bringing the deficit to 76-73. PLNU, however, would hold on to secure the victory 82-75.
“We couldn’t buy a basket,” said Thigpin said. “We got great looks, but they just didn’t fall for us tonight. At the end of the day we need to be able to knock down shots.”
Mann had a monster game as she put in 27 points and snatched 24 rebounds-two rebounds shy of tying her own DSU record of 26.
“My teammates did a really good job of getting me the ball tonight,” Mann said. “I knew that we needed to get a win to move us up in the conference, and I just wanted to do whatever it took to help us do that.”
DSU now falls to 3-5 in the PacWest and will travel to Hawaii for a three-game road trip as it takes on the University of Hawaii at Hilo Thursday, Chaminade University Saturday, and then BYU-Hawaii Tuesday.