The Dixie State women’s basketball team earned its first victory of the season on Sunday, holding off Saint Martin’s for an 81-74 win inside the New P.E. Building in Monmouth, Oregon.

Dixie State used a big first half to set the tone for the victory, shooting 48 percent (15-of-31) from the field and 44 percent (7-of-16) from 3-point range through the first two quarters. Additionally, the win marked DSU’s first non-conference win since November 22, 2014, in a 67-62 triumph over Cal State San Marcos inside the Burns Arena.

The Trailblazers (1-1) used a 10-0 run early in the first quarter to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 12-4 advantage, a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game. Ali Franks chipped in five points during the run, including her first of four 3-pointers. Saint Martin’s trimmed the lead to 12-8 a few minutes later, but Franks added five more points and another trey to help push the lead back to 19-12 at the end of the first quarter.

The game went back and forth in the second period until SMU pulled to within three points at 22-19 at the 6:53 mark. Dixie State countered with a 22-5 run the next four minutes to build its largest lead of the game at 44-24. Morgan Myers sparked the run with a triple after Ashlee Burge snagged two offensive rebounds on the same DSU possession. Myers added a pair free throws later in the run, and DSU canned three more 3-pointers, including two by Keslee Stevenson, to build the 20-point advantage. The Saints scored the final two baskets of the half to trim the lead to 44-28 at the break.

Saint Martin’s picked up where it left off in the third quarter and cut the lead to 44-38 with 7:51 remaining. In all, SMU used a 14-0 run spanning a three-minute stretch to claw its way back into the game early in the third frame. DSU pushed the lead back to double digits at 48-38 with a Kristin Baldwin free throw, followed by a Taylor Moeaki 3-pointer. The teams traded baskets the remainder of the frame, and the Trailblazers took a 60-52 lead into the final quarter.

The game continued to seesaw in the fourth quarter as the Saints pulled to within 60-57 less than two minutes into the period. Dixie State quickly responded and pushed the lead back to 65-57 when Mariah Martin ripped the net with a 3-pointer and Moeaki knocked down a jumper. This time, the eight-point margin proved insurmountable, as SMU could not close the gap to less than six points through the seven minutes, and DSU clinched the 81-74 victory.

“The tempo of the game was key for us today,” head coach JD Gustin said. “We played at the pace we wanted to play at and built a 20-point lead at halftime. Saint Martin’s was ready to go in the second half, but I was proud of how we responded. We made plays down the stretch, and it was a fun game to be a part of. This was a great way to start the season.”

Dixie State shot 43 percent (27-of-62) from the field, 41 percent (12-of-29) from 3-point range and 53 percent (15-of-28) from the free-throw line. Franks led four DSU players in double figures and finished with 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting from outside. Moeaki recorded 12 points to go with six assists, while Martin chipped in 11 points and Tramina Jordan added 10 points.

The Trailblazers now head to Logan, Utah, for an exhibition matchup with Utah State on Tuesday at noon.

Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].