Tatupu-Leopoldo catches fire against the Crusaders

Tatupu-Leopoldo catches fire against the Crusaders

LAIE, Hawaii – Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo was on fire in the second half as BYU-Hawaii women's basketball pulled away for a 92-77 victory over Madonna on Wednesday in the Cannon Activities Center.

"We knew they were a good team coming in and we knew we had to play well" women's basketball head coach Craig Stanger said. "It was a good confidence boost for us going into conference play and the girls did a good job stepping up and getting the points that were needed."

Tatupu-Leopoldo led all players with 32 points and grabbed three rebounds to go with five assists. Celeste Claw recorded her second double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 assists and added 3 rebounds and one steal. Whitney Fieldsted also recorded a double-double, her third of the season, with 10 points and 13 rebounds on the night.

The Seasiders (5-4, 2-1 PacWest) shot 53.8 percent from the field, while holding Madonna (7-6, 6-1 WHAC) to 43.3 percent shooting. BYU-Hawaii also finished with a 45.5 percent shooting night from behind the arc.

Trailing 34-32 with five minutes remaining in the first half, Tatupu-Leopoldo took control of a back-and-forth contest scoring nine points in a 10-2 run to end the half. In all she scored 15-consecutive points for the Seasiders and put them up 48-36 after back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half. BYU-Hawaii kept Madonna at bay on their way to its fifth victory of the season.

After the game started with the teams trading buckets to a 10-10 tie, a jumper from Claw helped establish the first solid lead for either team as the Seasiders built a 20-15 at 13:37 with makes from Megan Goodman and Mata Tonga. The Crusaders battled back and eventually retook the lead with a shot from the charity line and a jumper making it a 27-25 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.

The lead traded hands several times in the next three minutes but at 4:00 Claw fed the ball to Tatupu-Leopoldo who took one step past the defender and calmly sank a jumper to spark a solo 9-point run.

The Seasiders took a 42-36 lead into the break on a 42-36 lead by 17 points from Tatupu-Leopoldo and 10 from Claw.

After Tatupu-Leopoldo's 3-pointers opened the second half, the Crusaders had a hard time trying to shut down the Seasider offense as they went on an 11-3 run to start the second half.

By the 12:34 mark, the Seasiders built a comfortable lead with shots from Tatupu-Leopoldo, Fieldsted, and Marquessa Glisson to make it a 60-45 game.

Claw broke full-court pressure to find a cutting Goodman on the base line on three-consecutive possesions to make it a 71-59 with seven minutes to play.

After the Crusaders got back within eight, a layup by Claw was followed by a steal by Glisson who found a running Fieldsted wide open for the layup.

A floater from Claw found the bottom of the net and she followed it with two free throws to put the game out of reach and give BYU-Hawaii its largest lead of the night at 92-75 with 51 seconds remaining.  

The Seasiders returns to action in the New Year as they face Hawaii Pacific University on Friday at 5 p.m. HST in the Canon Activities Center. Live stats and video stream will be available online.

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