ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State women’s basketball team used a dominant performance in the paint to secure its second consecutive victory on Tuesday, defeating Antelope Valley 71-59 inside the Burns Arena.
The Trailblazers outrebounded the Pioneers by a 55-39 count and recorded five blocks, while Maile Richardson (13 points, 12 rebounds) and Kristin Baldwin (10 points, 14 rebounds) each finished with a double-double for the first DSU double-doubles of the season.
“Coming in, we knew that Antelope Valley was a very good rebounding team,” head coach J.D. Gustin said. “We emphasized blocking out this week in practice. Maile and Kristin both had great numbers but as a team everyone blocked out and kept them off the boards.”
Dixie State jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the first quarter, as Keslee Stevenson buried two 3-pointers to cap an 8-0 DSU run just over a minute after she entered the game. Antelope Valley countered with a 7-0 spurt to tie the game at 12-12 with a little more than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Taylor Moeaki canned a trey to put the Trailblazers back on top on the ensuing DSU possession. UAV then added a free throw to trim the lead to 15-13 after one quarter of play.
Starting the game defensively the Blazers gave most of the Antelope Valley shooters plenty of room and kept one of their posts in the lane. “They have killed other teams this year with the drive,” Gustin said. “We knew that their outside shooting was limited so we designed our defense to take away their driving to the basket.”
The Trailblazers cooled off from outside in the second quarter, but responded by pounding the ball inside. Richardson, Baldwin, and Ashlee Burge combined for 10 of DSU’s 16 points in the second frame, while Moeaki drained two jumpers to help the home team to a 31-23 halftime lead.
Antelope Valley turned to the 3-point shot in the third quarter, converting four treys en route to 20 points in the frame. But Dixie State matched each UAV shot and maintained a 49-43 lead heading to the final period. Mariah Martin scored five points during the quarter, while Richardson added four points.
The Trailblazers pushed the lead to double digits in the fourth quarter as seven different DSU players scored during the frame. Dixie State also took advantage of free throw attempts in the final period, converting 14-of-20 (.700) freebies to clinch the 71-59 victory.
“It is nice to get a few wins before conference starts,” Gustin said. “We are still learning. We still have a long way to go. We rely heavily on freshman players. But the girls are adjusting to each other quickly and playing as a team.”
Dixie State finished the contest at 42 percent (24-of-57) from the field, 21 percent (4-of-19) from 3-point range, and 73 percent (19-of-26) from the free throw line. Richardson and Baldwin led the way with the first DSU double-doubles of the season, while Moeaki added 11 points and four rebounds.
The Trailblazers move to 3-2 on the season and close their four-game homestand on Friday vs. Westminster. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
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