Seasiders "Claw" their way past Vulcans

Seasiders "Claw" their way past Vulcans

HILO, Hawaii – Celeste Claw led all scorers as BYU-Hawaii women's basketball defeated the University of Hawaii at Hilo 65-59 on Saturday in the Hilo Civic Center.

Claw nearly tallied her first double-double as a Seasider with 21 points shooting and eight rebounds on 57.1 percent shooting. Brydgette Tatupu-Leopodo added 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Whitney Fieldsted struggled in the first half, but came through in the clutch with six of her seven points in the final six minutes of regulation and the overtime period and grabbed eight rebounds. Mata Tonga lead all players with 11 rebounds.

With this victory, BYU-Hawaii (4-4, 2-1 PacWest) ties their win total from the entire 2014-15 campaign. The Seasiders shot 50 percent from behind the arc and outrebounded the Vulcans (2-6, 1-3 PacWest) by 11.

A jumper by Fieldsted with 1:28 in regulation tied the game 58-58 and BYU-Hawaii's defense held Hilo without a field goal in the final minute to send the game into overtime. Fieldsted again connected on a jumper fed by Celeste Claw with 3:18 remaining in the extra period to give the Seasiders a 60-58 lead and the momentum they needed to hold the lead for the rest of the game.

Despite an early Hilo lead, a shot from behind the arc by Claw at cut the Vulcans lead to one with fourteen minutes remaining in the first half. A jumper from Tatupu-Leopoldo sparked an 11-point run, six of which came from Claw to give BYU-Hawaii their first lead at 25-17 with 8:33 on the clock.

Hilo battled back getting within two points with 1:17 left in the half, but a 3-pointer from Tatupu-Leopoldo in the last 30 seconds sent BYU-Hawaii into the break leading 35-30.

Tatupu-Leopoldo lead all players in the first half with 11 points. Claw was perfect from the field to score nine, while also grabbing three rebounds.

The Vulcans were once again able to retake the lead from the Seasiders making it a 40-38 game with 17 minutes remaining, but minutes later a jumper from Claw closed the lead to one. BYU-Hawaii continued on the attack and a 3-pointer from Claw regained the lead 47-46 with 10:15 left to play.

The Vulcans responded with back-to-back baskets to take a 50-47 lead, but a jumper by Fieldsted and a 3-pointer by Devyn Kauhi gave the Seasiders a two point lead with 5:48 left. The lead continued to change hands until Fieldsted's jumper tied the score at 58-58. Claw scored five of the Seasiders' seven points in the overtime period to close out the win.

BYU-Hawaii faces Madonna on New Year's Eve at 5:00 pm HST at the Canon Activity Center. Live stats will be available online.

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