Dixie State University women’s basketball set sail for the Hawaiian Islands in search of some success in the Pacific West Conference.
DSU suffered a 68-63 loss to the University of Hawaii at Hilo Thursday but bounced back against Chaminade University Saturday.
The Storm scored 22 first quarter points to get out in front of UHH before surrendering an 11-point fourth quarter lead in the loss.
The DSU lead was an outcome of the strong first-half showing as the Storm shot 44 percent while holding the Vulcans to 31 percent from the field en route to a 15-point lead.
UHH flipped the script in the final two quarters, locking down defensively and only allowing 25 DSU second half points and outscoring the Storm 26-10 in the last nine minutes of the game.
Senior center Taylor Mann notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guard Tomorie Sangster had a career-high 12 points to match senior guard Chermayne Moore as the only Storm player in double-figures.
“We made some crucial turnovers and it hurt to drop that game,” said Mann, a senior English major from Castle Dale. “We knew we had to turn around and get a win against Chaminade.”
DSU then moved on the Laie, Hawaii, to face CU, a pivotal game for the Storm to keep their postseason hopes alive.
The series between the two teams has largely been dominated by Dixie State University as it leads 17-1 in meetings since 2007, the only Silverswords win coming in Burns Arena last season.
After the collapse Thursday against UH-Hilo, head coach Jenny Thigpin said she emphasized “finishing” to her team this time around.
“We need to be able to execute down the stretch,” Thigpin said. “We almost gave this one away too, but we were able to close it out, and we’re at least seeing some improvement.”
Both teams struggled mightily from the field, combining for under 35 percent, but the Storm’s proficiency from the charity stripe gave them the edge in the wire-to-wire 61-56 win.
“We always try to hold our opponents to under 60 points,” Thigpin said. “We give ourselves an opportunity to win if we do that, even if we’re struggling on the offensive end.”
DSU converted on 10 of its 14 free throws in the game to help stay in front of comeback-minded Chaminade, who cut the lead to two with under a minute to play.
Mann carried the Storm once again, scoring 18 points on 7-14 shooting and grabbing 18 rebounds to notch her PacWest leading 12th double-double of the season.
The win advanced the Storm to a 4-6 conference record to keep pace with eighth-place Chaminade. The top six teams make the PacWest tournament.
DSU will face BYU-Hawaii Tuesday before returning to Burns Arena for a matchup with Hawaii Pacific University Saturday at 5 p.m.