SAINT GEORGE, Utah – Kaylah Miller (San Diego, CA/La Jolla Country Day) finished with a career-high seventeen points and connected on two huge three-pointers near the end of regulation to help force overtime as Dixie State completed an 80-75 come from behind win over Cal Poly Pomona Monday night in the Burns Arena.
Trailing 51-66 with 4:48 left, the Red Storm would end regulation on a 17-3 run. Miller hit two pivotal three pointers, her first would cut the Bronco lead to four with 1:37 remaining. After two free throws by J.J Judge, Miller would answer again cutting the lead to two at 66-68 with 1:00 minute left.
A CPP turnover with 26 seconds left in regulation, gave the ball back to the Red Storm. Johnna Brown (Las Vegas, NV/Centennial ) took the ball on the out-of-bounds play and drove to the basket and drew a foul. She would make only one of the two free throws, cutting the Bronco lead to 68-67.
After a Red Storm foul with 19 seconds left, a free throw from Rachel Hatch put the CPP lead at 69-67 going into DSC's final possession. Brown again took the inbounds pass and isolated her defender down the court, and as she drove the lane, the defenders crashed on her as she entered the key. But she found a wide open Kristen Marie Liana for a layup that would push the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the two teams traded baskets before a key three-point play from Brown gave the Red Storm a 78-75 advantage at the 1:21 mark in overtime. The DSC defense held the Broncos scoreless in their final two possesions in the final minute to eliminate any chance of a comeback.
"Tonight was a great comback effort win. Miller hit some huge shots down the stretch, but tonight was a great teaching moment," coach Angie Kristensen said. "You cant just turn it on and expect to win games. It's about 40 minutes of basketball."
Trailing 24-23, CPP put together an 11-0 run between the 7:48 and 3:21 marks. Ashley Boggs played a key role in the team's dominant play during that stretch as the Petaluma native collected six points, three rebounds and two blocks.
The visiting CPP squad took a 39-31 lead into the half after the Red Storm managed to knock down a last-second jumper before the buzzer sounded.
"Give credit to Pomoma because they came in and just took it right at us," Kristensen said. "They are well coached and play hard."
From that shot, Dixie State seemingly carried a bit of momentum into the second half. Through the first nine minutes of that second period, the Red Storm outscored the Broncos 17-10 and pulled to within 49-48 with 11:20 to play.
"I was disappointed with the way we came out tonight. We played so hard in our exhibitions and that was why we were in each of those games," Kristensen said. "We were fortunate to get to overtime and I knew if we could get there Johnna would take the game over. We will take this win and learn from it."
Brown finished the game with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Mandy Munns (Brigham City, UT/Box Elder) had 14 points and seven rebounds.
An achilles heel tonight for the Red Storm was their inability to convert their free-throw attempts. DSC shot just 61.7 percent (21-34). But it did include a perfect 7 for 7 in the overtime period. Dixie State shot 39.7 percent from the field.
Despite converting the 27 Red Storm turnovers into 27 points, the Broncos struggled shooting the ball down the stretch and finshed the night going 35.5 percent from the field.
This was the first season opener at home for the Red Storm in the DII era. Dixie State will start the Dixie State Tip-Off Classic this weekend. The Red Storm will play at 6:00 p.m. on Friday against Montana State-Billings and on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. against Simon Fraser. Other games on the weekend include Colorado Mesa/Simon Fraser on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and Colorado Mesa/Montana State-Billings on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Jeff Cluff is the Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State College Atheltics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.