Chris Oertell, Western Oregon Athletics
Dixie State guard Morgan Myers (left) goes for a layup on Saturday in DSU's 81-70 loss to Western Oregon.

The Dixie State women’s basketball team dropped its 2017-18 season opener on Saturday, falling 81-70 to Western Oregon inside the New P.E. Building in Monmouth, Oregon.

Dixie State (0-1) stayed within one point for most of the early part of the first quarter as Matti Ventling made her first 3-pointer of the season and Morgan Myers converted her first collegiate field goal to pull DSU within 8-7 at the 5:24 mark of the first frame. But Western Oregon built a double-digit lead during the final five minutes of the frame, taking advantage of cold DSU shooting. The Trailblazers converted just 6-of-20 attempts from the field in the first quarter and trailed 23-14 heading to the second.

The Trailblazers responded in the second quarter, opening the frame on a 15-3 run to take a 29-26 lead at the midway point of the period. Maile Richardson scored five points during the run, while four other DSU players chipped in during the stretch. The teams traded leads during the final five minutes before halftime until Ventling canned a trey with 10 seconds left to give DSU a 34-33 lead at the break.

Dixie State opened a game-high lead at 42-38 early in the third quarter after Ashlee Burge made a free throw and scored in the paint on the next DSU possession. The Wolves countered with a 10-3 run to retake the lead at 48-45 at the 3:46 mark. The teams went back and forth through the final three minutes of the period, and WOU took a 54-49 lead into the fourth quarter.

Both squads mirrored the other through the first half of the fourth period as each team converted a 3-pointer, followed by a layup on each end, before WOU stretched the lead to 10 points at 64-54 at the 4:47 mark. DSU responded with an 11-5 run out of the media timeout, capped by an Ali Franks 3-pointer to cut the lead to 69-65 at the 2:09 mark, but didn't get any closer. WOU countered with a 12-5 run to clinch the 81-70 victory.

Dixie State shot 37 percent (26-of-69) from the field, 33 percent (9-of-27) from beyond the arc and 52 percent (9-of-17) from the free-throw line. Richardson led three Trailblazers in double figures, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds on 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point range in her DSU debut. Ventling added 11 points and five rebounds, while Franks chipped in 10 points. Myers enjoyed a solid collegiate debut, scoring four points on 2-of-2 shooting to go with six rebounds and two assists in just eight minutes of play.

The Trailblazers will remain in Monmouth to take on Saint Martin’s on Sunday at noon Pacific Time.

Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at keric.seegmiller@dixie.edu.