On the heels of the most monumental announcement in Dixie State Athletics history, the Trailblazer women’s basketball team claimed a 62-55 victory over MSU Denver on Friday inside the Burns Arena.
Less than two hours after DSU’s announcement of accepting an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference and move to Division I status, the Trailblazers (7-5, 3-5 RMAC) did their part to add to the day’s significance with an important victory in front of the second-largest crowd (1,754) in DSU’s women’s basketball history.
“This was a huge win for us,” head coach JD Gustin said. “We’ve been talking about how important this game was for us since Monday. Our players gutted this win out. In my opinion, this might be the biggest win we’ve had here since I’ve been the coach. I just can’t be more proud of our team.”
MSU Denver opened an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter, but DSU responded with a 7-1 run to take an 11-9 lead at the 3:47 mark. Ali Franks sparked the run with a triple, while Mariah Martin added a jumper. MSUD quickly regained the lead at 14-13, but the home squad answered again with jumpers from Lisa VanCampen and Franks to build a 17-14 lead after one quarter.
The Roadrunners tied the game with a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second quarter, but the Trailblazers countered with a 10-2 run to take a 27-19 lead at the 6:49 mark. Madi Loftus and Rashel Blazzard each buried a triple during the stretch, while VanCampen and Franks each added a layup. MSU Denver bounced back with a 9-0 run to retake a 28-27 lead at the 3:10 mark. The teams then traded baskets to tie the game at 30-30 heading to halftime.
Neither team managed to build a lead larger than two points through the first eight minutes of the third quarter as the two sides matched each basket. The Trailblazers broke the trend with a Loftus layup late in the frame to take a 47-43 advantage into the final period.
Dixie State did not relinquish the lead in the fourth quarter and answered each MSUD basket to stay in front. The Roadrunners pulled to within three points on two separate occasions early in the frame, but both times DSU answered with a 3-pointer. Later, the visitors trimmed the lead to 57-55 but would not score again, as the Trailblazers iced the game with two layups and a free throw for the 62-55 victory.1 comment on this story
The Trailblazers shot 41 percent (24-of-58) from the field, 27 percent (8-of-29) from 3-point range and 35 percent (6-of-17) from the free-throw line. Franks led two DSU players in double figures with a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds, while VanCampen notched her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Blazzard finished with nine points and a career-high six assists. Loftus and Morgan Myers each chipped in eight points.
Dixie State plays host to Chadron State on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., inside the Burns Arena.