The Dixie State women’s basketball team took the Pacific West Conference leader Hawai’i Pacific to the wire in Honolulu on Saturday but eventually fell, 76-73, inside the gym at Moanalua High School.

The Trailblazers (10-12, 6-9 PacWest) found themselves in an early 12-6 hole in the first frame, but they closed the quarter on a 10-5 run to trim the HPU lead to 17-16. Maile Richardson sparked the run with a layup, while Tramina Jordan and Matti Ventling each buried a 3-pointer before the first quarter came to an end.

The teams traded baskets through the first three minutes of the second quarter until a Keslee Stevenson trey, followed by a Mariah Martin layup, propelled DSU to a 25-24 lead. Stevenson canned another triple on the next Trailblazer possession to give the visitors a game-high lead of 28-24 at the 5:34 mark. The Sharks quickly regained the lead, closing the half on a 13-5 run to take a 37-33 lead at halftime.

Dixie State pulled even two different times in the third quarter, first at 37-37 and later at 44-44. But, similar to the second quarter, HPU closed the frame on a 12-5 run to build a 56-49 lead heading into the final period.

The Trailblazers opened the final frame with a 9-2 run, including four points from Taylor Moeaki and a Morgan Myers 3-pointer, to tie the game at 58-58 at the 7:14 mark. After another back and forth stretch, HPU seemed poised to put the game away and used a 9-2 run to build a 74-66 lead with 1:42 remaining. But, DSU wouldn’t go down easy, responding with a 7-0 run to pull to within 74-73. However, HPU pushed the lead back to 76-73 with a pair of free throws, and a DSU half-court heave at the buzzer fell short.

Dixie State shot a season-best 48 percent (29-of-60) from the field, 30 percent (7-of-23) from the 3-point range and 66 percent (8-of-12) from the free-throw line. Richardson led two DSU players in double figures with a career-high 16 points and seven rebounds on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field. Stevenson added 11 points with three 3-pointers.

The Trailblazers open a three-game homestand at the Burns Arena next Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

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