Dixie State University’s basketball is going full-court its season begins this week.
The men and women began as their season non-conference games. The men’s was held yesterday. The women’s will be held today. These games are at home in Burns Area.
Men’s basketball started their season against Montana State University-Billings at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The men, prior to this game, had only one exhibition game.
“I was not too happy with starting our games as late as we did,” head coach Jon Judkins said. “Most team’s we are playing [this season] have already played two or three games.”
The NCAA made a new rule this season that the opening weekend was to be Nov. 14-15. Judkins said that is the first weekend the teams could play a game that counts, but the Storm couldn’t find a game that weekend, so they decided to schedule a game for Tuesday.
We could have played some exhibition games or scrimmages before [Montanta State-Billings], like UNLV, but we couldn’t get anybody to play us,” Judkins said.
Dixie State has 11 new players who will get to test their skills yet again on Nov. 25.
Most of these athletes are transfers from other schools. Judkins said this season will be different because of all of the people the team lost last year. The team lost five seniors last year, as well as a few going on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint.
“I really like [the new players],” Judkins said. “I think the new guys are coming in with a lot of energy and bringing a lot of experience; I like what I see.”
This year, the team has had injuries on players who contributed a big portion of time on the court last year.
Junior guard Robbie Nielson broke his collar bone and has been out for two months.
Judkins said Nielson is finally back practicing and doing drills but has seen no contact on the court.
The Storm also lost senior guard Jordan Rex for the year with an ACL tear.
“We are going to have to count on these new guys to come in right away and take up some slack that those guys are going to leave,” Judkins said. “But I like how hard they are working, and they’ve done a good job.”
The women recently started off their season with three exhibition games so far against Claremont Mckenna College, with a 65-52 loss; University of Redlands, with their first win, 80-62; and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, with another loss of 100-67.
During the Storm’s most recent game against UNLV, Chermayne Moore led the team with 24 points followed by senior guard Kaylah Miller. The Storm, however, could not keep the momentum going as they slipped deeper in a deficit to lose the game.
“We are definitely a running team; we like to push the ball in transition,” interim head coach Jenny Thigpin said. “At that point I’d like to kind of pick up the pace, and pressure the ball full court, so we would also like to become a passing team.”
Thigpin is the women’s interim head coach in place of head coach Catherria Turner, who was let go two weeks ago, until the athletics department decides otherwise.
Coach Turner brought Thigpin in to Dixie State to coach as an assistant last year.
“We coached [in the same] conference prior to Dixie state,” Thigpin said. “I was at Fresno Pacific and she was at Holy Names.
Thigpin said now that she’s in command she has no intention of changing the coaching style set by Turner. She said the women hope to keep the winning mentality alive throughout the season.
The Storm will match up against Alaska Fairbanks tonight at 7 p.m. to look for their first conference win of the season.