Dixie State women’s basketball edged Fresno Pacific for an 88-86 victory inside the Burns Arena on Friday in a Pacific West Conference thriller.
Morgan Myers grabbed an offensive rebound and scored the winning basket with 13 seconds remaining, and the Trailblazers (10-10, 6-7 PacWest) forced a 3-point miss on the defensive end to capture the victory in a seesaw game that saw 18 lead changes and 13 ties.
Ashlee Burge led six DSU players in double figures with a season-high 17 points to go with five rebounds and four assists. Burge was also a perfect 7-of-7 from the field and converted 3-of-4 attempts from the free-throw line. Keslee Stevenson added 15 points on 5-of-11 3-point shooting, including two critical triples late in the second half. Mariah Martin finished with 12 points and five assists in her first appearance since Jan. 3, while Kristin Baldwin chipped 11 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks for her seventh double-double of the season. Taylor Moeaki also finished with 11 points and five assists, while Maile Richardson added 10 points.
Both teams came out firing as Fresno Pacific shot 58 percent (7-of-12) and Dixie State shot 52 percent (10-of-19) in the opening frame. The Trailblazers built a 13-8 lead midway through the quarter, but the Sunbirds responded with a 7-2 run to tie the game at 15-15. DSU countered with an 11-6 run in the next three minutes to take a 26-21 lead late in the quarter.
The game went back and forth through the first five minutes of the second quarter until Dixie State used a 13-2 run to take a 42-33 advantage at the 3:28 mark. Stevenson sparked the run with a 3-pointer, while Moeaki and Martin added four points each during the stretch. The Sunbirds answered with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 45-41 at halftime.
The first five minutes of the third quarter were a virtual carbon copy of the second quarter, as the lead seesawed back and forth until FPU forward Cassie Pisik hit a jumper to tie the game at 54-54 with 3:39 remaining. The basket sparked a 10-0 run for the Sunbirds to build a 62-54 at the 1:57 mark. Unfazed, DSU countered with a 9-2 run to trim the lead to 64-63 heading into the final period. Moeaki scored the first five points of the run, followed by a pair of Myers free throws and a Burge layup to cap the stretch.
The Trailblazers continued the run in the fourth quarter as Burge added back-to-back layups to push the run total to 13-2 in a three-minute stretch and power DSU to a 67-64 lead. The Sunbirds answered with a 9-3 run to take a 73-70 lead at the 5:03 mark. The teams traded baskets in the next three and half minutes until Stevenson buried back-to-back triples to give Dixie State an 83-82 lead with 1:18 remaining. The teams again traded baskets until FPU converted a pair of free throws to tie the game at 86-86 with 21 seconds remaining. After a DSU timeout, Myers scored the winning basket, and the Trailblazers held on the ensuing FPU possession to clinch the victory.
Dixie State shot 41 percent (31-of-75) from the field, 25 percent (7-of-28) from 3-point range and 79 percent (19-of-24) from the free-throw line. The Trailblazers got big contributions from the bench in the win, matching a season-high 47 points off the bench.
The Trailblazers now head back on the road to Hawaii to battle Chaminade on Thursday and Hawai’i Pacific next Saturday.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].