ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State women’s basketball team hosted Westminster University for its season home opener Tuesday night. The visiting Griffins used an 8-point run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to retake a lead they would not relinquish to win 61-55.
The Red Storm forced the Griffins into 24 turnovers, including 15 steals from their full-court press. Aliya Davis and Leslie Tademy recorded four steals apiece. But Westminster shot a good percentage from the floor (44 percent) from many shots around the basket.
“We have got to be better in our rotations when the opposing team beats our press,” said DSU head coach Jenny Thigpin. “Our initial rotation was there, but we missed assignments on our second and third rotations. That led to easy baskets for them.”
Westminster outscored the Red Storm 28-18 in the paint.
The shooting percentages were equal for both teams in the first half (8 for 26). The Red Storm led at half on a 3-point shot from Davis, 23-22.
In the second half, Tramina Jordan’s layup gave Dixie State a three-point lead before the Red Storm hit a long drought. Over the next four minutes, the Griffins blanked Dixie State 11-0.
“We were getting good shots,” said Dixie State guard Chermayne Moore. “They were just not falling.”
Davis would hit another 3 to end the drought and pull to within five, 33-28. After another jumper by Davis pulled the Storm to within three, the Griffins went on an 8-2 run. The lead was nine, 41-32, with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter.
The Storm would close the last minute with six straight points. Davis hit a layup and Dixie State post Ashlee Burge drew two shooting fouls and hit all four free throws to send the Storm into the fourth only down by three, 41-38.
The Storm tied the game on another connection from distance by Davis and then took the lead 43-42 on a power post move by Taylor Mann. But Westminster went on the 8-0 run to grab the lead for good.
The Red Storm would get close. At one point, they only trailed by two, 50-48, after Tademy’s three-point play with just over five minutes remaining. But Westminster quickly put distance between them with a 9-2 run. Dixie rallied at the end to pull the final margin to six points.
“Chermayne Moore and Tramina Jordan played very well for us tonight,” said Thigpin. “Their hard-nose defense set the tone for us.”
Davis led DSU with 16 points. The junior guard shot at a 43-percent clip from distance. Mann recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Red Storm fall to 0-3 on the young season. The team will hit the road again this weekend when they travel to Grand Junction, Colo., to play in the Colorado Mesa Tournament. They will play Western State-Colorado on Friday at 1 p.m. They will face the host school Colorado Mesa at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Stats: Westminster 61, DSU 55
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