It was not smooth sailing for the Dixie State University women’s basketball as they dropped all three games in Hawaii over President’s Day weekend.
The Trailblazers encountered University of Hawaii-Hilo Thursday, Brigham Young University-Hawaii Saturday and Hawaii Pacific University Monday. All three resulted in early deficits and ended with double-digit losses.
“This [road trip] really taught us a lot about ourselves,” assistant coach Brennan Schweikart said. “We continued to compete, but we did not have our best showing.”
Against UHH, the Trailblazers found themselves down 47-18 midway through the third quarter. DSU began its comeback attempt with 10-2 run to close the period.
DSU continued to storm back with a 17-6 stretch midway through the fourth. A big 3-pointer from junior guard Matti Ventling cut the deficit to just 10 points with over two and a half minutes to play.
A jumper by junior forward Shelby Kassuba trimmed the Vulcans lead to 60-52. Time ran out on the miracle comeback though for the Trailblazers as UHH prevailed 64-52.
“We came out very flat and that is what hurt us,” said junior forward Lisa VanCampen, a biology major from Morgan. “We learned that we will not stop fighting regardless of the score.”
The Trailblazers then took on BYU-H in the final matchup between Pacific West Conference foes as the Seasiders will be dropping collegiate athletics after this season.
The first half was a much better showing for DSU. After building a 9-4 lead to open the game, the Trailblazers traded baskets with the Seasiders. Ventling’s second triple of the quarter gave DSU a 22-21 lead heading into the second quarter.
BYU-H built a 7-point lead late in the first half, but a triple by junior guard Gabrielle Cabanero tied the game 37-37 at the half.
An 11-0 Seasider run in the third quarter helped build an insurmountable lead for BYU-H. A Ventling home run trimmed the deficit to 48-44 but every time DSU made a move, the Seasiders were there to counter.
The Trailblazers were never able to recover the lead and ultimately fell 82-71. Freshman guard Ali Franks tallied a career-high 19 points and Ventling scored 13 of her own to pace the Trailblazers.
The final game if the trip was at HPU. Much like the UHH game, the Trailblazers faced a massive deficit in the first half.
After shooting 17 percent over the course of the first half, DSU stared into a 38-14 debacle.
Despite 18 points and a 3-3 performance from the 3-point line by redshirt sophomore guard Tramina Jordan and 13 points from Franks, the Trailblazers were never able to get within striking distance.
DSU shot 52 percent in the second half, but in the end suffered a 70-56 loss to the Sharks.
“We just started really flat [against HPU] and you could tell they had all the momentum early,” said Franks, an exercise science major from Redding, California. “By the time we got the momentum back, it was too late.”
With one game left to go on what has been the definition of an up and down season for the Trailblazers, Franks reflected on the season.
“It has been an interesting season,” Franks said. “We have a very young team, so some of our [shortcomings] should be attributed to that. We want to finish strong next week and attack next season with more effort and energy.”
At 4-15 in PacWest play, DSU finishes its season at home against Holy Names University at 5 p.m.