Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics
Dixie State guard Mariah Martin drives to the basket Saturday in DSU's 77-73 comeback win over Academy of Art. Martin finished with a career-high 21 points.

The Dixie State women’s basketball team opened Pacific West Conference play Saturday, rallying for a 77-73 win at Burns Arena.

Dixie State (5-3, 1-0 PacWest) faced an eight-point deficit at 55-47 with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter, but responded with a 19-2 run over the next five minutes to retake the lead at 66-57 with 9:45 remaining in regulation. Keslee Stevenson accounted for nine points during the stretch, including a pair of triples at each end of the run, while Mariah Martin added six points and Ashlee Burge chipped in four points.

Academy of Art countered with a 9-2 run, while the Trailblazers went over six minutes without a field goal, to pull within two points at 68-66 with 4:43 remaining. The teams traded baskets over the next four minutes until Martin converted a layup with 57 seconds remaining to give DSU a 74-70 advantage.

The Urban Knights made one final push with a 3-pointer with 33 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 74-73, but DSU scored on the ensuing possession to push the lead back to 76-73 when Tramina Jordan tried to pass to Ali Franks in a press-break situation. Unable to catch the pass, Franks tipped the pass ahead to a wide-open Kristin Baldwin, who finished the play with a layup. Stevenson sealed the 77-73 win 10 seconds later with a free throw.

The Trailblazers earned the victory despite a slow start and erased an early 7-0 deficit with a 14-5 run to take their first lead of the game 14-12 in the first quarter. Morgan Myers keyed the run with back-to-back 3-pointers, while Baldwin and Franks each added a basket during the stretch. Academy of Art answered with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to regain the lead 21-16. Both teams exchanged baskets over the final three minutes of the period, and the Urban Knights maintained their five-point advantage at 27-22.

Dixie State opened the second frame with a 10-0 run over the first two minutes to lead 32-29. Martin opened the run with a layup, followed by a Jordan 3-pointer. Baldwin added a layup, then Martin capped the run with three free throws after she was fouled on a 3-point attempt. The game went back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the second period as the teams traded baskets en route to a 41-41 halftime tie. Academy of Art opened the third quarter on a 14-5 run before DSU rallied for the win.

The Trailblazers shot 38 percent (24 of 63) from the field, 28 percent (7 of 25) from 3-point range, and 71 percent (22 of 31) from the free-throw line. Martin led four DSU players in double figures, scoring a career-high 21 points to go with six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Martin also converted 10 of 11 free-throw attempts en route to the first 20-point scoring performance of the season for DSU. Baldwin finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Stevenson chipped in a career-high 10 points and Jordan added another 10 points and five rebounds. Myers recorded a career-high eight points, while Burge finished with seven points and five rebounds.

Dixie State will host No. 17 Azusa Pacific next Saturday at 1:30 p.m. inside the Burns Arena.

Keric Seegmiller is assistant coordinator of media relations at Dixie State University and the voice of Trailblazer athletics. Contact him at [email protected].