The Dixie State University women’s basketball team showed progress Saturday, but could not find a way to translate improvement into victory.
The Trailblazers played the University of Hawaii at Hilo Saturday. Despite maintaining the lead through much of the contest, DSU fell to the Vulcans 60-57.
“We are improving in a lot of ways, especially defensively,” said junior forward Lisa VanCampen, a biology major from Morgan. “We just need to bring the same intensity all four quarters and we will win games [like this one].”
The Trailblazers came out on fire to start the game, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. A Vulcan run tied the game at 10 apiece. Junior guard Matti Ventling’s second triple of the quarter had DSU back on top, but another UHH run gave them a 20-17 lead after the first quarter.
The Trailblazers then blitzed the Vulcans with a 13-0 run that included a barrage of triples from Ventling and junior guard Gabrielle Cabanero. After trading buckets for the remainder of the quarter, the Trailblazers lead 37-27 at the half.
After pushing its lead to 12, DSU was on the wrong side of a 9-0 UHH run. After three quarters, the Trailblazers held a 47-41 lead.
UHH retook the lead midway through the fourth quarter by outscoring DSU 11-4 to begin the period. Junior forward Shelby Kassuba scored six consecutive points herself as DSU built a 57-52 lead with under three minutes to play.
A 7-0 run by the Vulcans put UHH up 59-57 with just 27 seconds left. A DSU turnover squandered the chance to tie the game in the waning seconds and DSU suffered its narrowest loss all season, 60-57.
“We did not come out as strong in the second half as we did in the first half,” said junior forward Ashlee Burge, a business administration major from Riverton. “We could have been smarter in the second half, but we are learning from it. If we can play these last few games like we did in the first half, we have a chance to string together some wins.”
It was a tail of two halves offensively for the Trailblazers. After scoring 20 points in the second quarter alone, DSU only managed 20 the rest of the game. DSU also went 0-7 on second-half 3-point attempts.
“[Despite challenges shooting the ball], the team battled the whole game,” assistant coach Nichole Yazzie said. “We want to take that momentum and bring it with us [moving forward].”
DSU’s bench came up huge with 27 total point’s Kassuba finished with a team-high 13 points.
At 2-11 in Pacific West Conference play, DSU takes on Brigham Young University-Hawaii Thursday at 5 p.m. in Burns Arena.