DSU women drop conference opener

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The bumpy ride continues for Dixie State University’s women’s basketball team.

The Trailblazers suffered their seventh loss of the season Saturday against Concordia University Irvine, 89-78.  Despite shooting 44 percent from 3-point range, DSU commited 24 turnovers throughout the game which hindered it from picking up its first win of the season.

DSU started off strong in the first quarter led by the hot shooting of redshirt sophomore Tramina Jordan. Jordan buried four 3-pointers to help the Trailblazers to an early 14-8 lead. The bulk of DSU’s offense came from behind the arc as they shot 5-11 from deep.

“We had a great practice all week,” said Jordan, a general studies major from Las Vegas. “I think that’s what made me and my teammates more confident when putting up shots.”

The Eagles capitalized on DSU’s turnovers to aid them as they went on a 13-0 run to steal the lead back. CUI finished the period with the lead, 21-17.

It was the Eagles that had the hot hand in the second quarter making four buckets from beyond the arc. DSU hung tight throughout the quarter despite trailing by 12 points midway through the period. The Trailblazers entered halftime trailing 47-42.

DSU connected on eight if its 15 3-point attempts in the first half, good for a 53.33 shooting percentage. The defensive pressure from CUI forced the Trailblazers into nine turnovers. DSU has been plagued by turnovers all season as it is averaging 20.5 turnovers per game through the first six contests prior to Saturday.

“We shot [the ball] a lot better than we have been” said junior forward Lisa VanCampen, a biology major from Morgan. “We are shooting with more confidence, which is something positive we can take from tonight.”

DSU came as close as three points in the third quarter. CUI went on an 11-2 run to finish the quarter with the lead 73-61.

The Eagles continued to extend their lead early in the fourth quarter. The defensive pressure flustered DSU’s offense, which managed only four points through the first four minutes of action.

After CUI took its largest lead of the game of 18, DSU stormed back with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 10 with four and a half minutes to play. The Eagles, however, wrapped their talons around the win, 89-78, handing the Trailblazers their seventh loss of the season.

Head coach J.D. Gustin declined to comment following the game and referred all questions to his assistant coaches.

“There were a lot of positive moments we can build on, “assistant coach Brennon Schweikart said. “I thought we handled their defense rather well. We got the shots that we wanted.”

DSU’s offense was led by junior guard Matti Ventling who recorded 18 points, three assists and two steals. Jordan chipped in 16 points and seven assists, followed by junior center Ashlee Burge who had 14. Junior forward Lisa VanCampen and junior forward Shelby Kassuba each added ten in the loss. Kassuba also recorded 13 rebounds.

“I know our team showed that we can compete,” Schweikart  said. “We are going to come out during conference play, and I think we are going to surprise a lot of teams. It’s all about confidence.”

DSU falls to 0-7 on the year and 0-1 in the PacWest. It will aim to get its first win of the season Thursday against California Baptist University in Riverside California.