Women’s basketball struggles early in season

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It has not been an ideal inception to the 2016 season for new head coach J.D. Gustin and the Dixie State University women’s basketball team.

DSU played games Nov 18, Nov. 19 and Nov. 21, losing all three. The games maintained a relative competitiveness in scoring, but the Trailblazers were not able to pull out a victory.

“Our coaches told us we need to get better [and] the only way is up,” said junior guard Matti Ventling, a biology major from Las Vegas. “We need to work hard in practice, work on our momentum and everything else will fall in place.”

DSU played Sonoma State University in Chico, California. The Trailblazers took a 6-4 lead in the first quarter, but never sniffed the lead again following a 25-8 run to close out the first half.

The second half was not much better as DSU got outscored and beat 82-58. Junior forward Lisa VanCampen lead the way for DSU, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

DSU again hoped to collect its first win of the season Nov. 19 against California  State University Chico. After battling tough with the Wildcats through two quarters, CSU pulled away with long balls and free throws as DSU dropped its fourth game of the season 65-55.

DSU had a balanced scoring attack, with three players in double digits in scoring.

The Trailblazers traveled back home to play California State University East Bay Nov. 21.

A back-and-forth first quarter saw DSU within two points, but an 8-0 run in the latter end of the second period had the Pioneers up six at the break.

DSU got down by 14 early in the fourth quarter but came back after a couple of 3-pointers by redshirt sophomore Tramina Jordan. That was not enough though as the Pioneers pulled away late to win 68-52.

“We need to rebound better,” Ventling said “They had too many second chances and went on too many runs.”    

Following the loss, the Trailblazers came up short against Westminster College Friday.

“We are working with the coaches to get better every day and build up the confidence we need to win,” said junior forward Lisa VanCampen, a biology major from Morgan. “We are bringing everything we have to practice and will continue to improve [from here].”

Down by as many as 11 in the first quarter, DSU fought back to an eight-point deficit at the half.

Thanks to VanCampen’s career-high 18 points and a 15-6 run, DSU cut the lead to one early in the fourth quarter. The Griffins responded with a crippling 12-2 run that put the game out of reach and sealed a sixth consecutive loss to open the season.

“Compared to other games, I think we were working a lot harder,” said VanCampen. “[WC] shot a lot better and pulled out a win but we definitely got better.”

At 0-6, DSU opens up Pacific West Conference play Saturday against Concordia University in the Burns arena beginning at 5 p.m.