SAN FRANCISCO – Senior guard Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo sealed a school-record seventh-consecutive victory for BYU-Hawaii women's basketball at the free-throw line to defeat Academy of Art 72-68 on Saturday night in Kezar Pavilion.
Tatupu-Leopoldo came alive in the second half to score 15 of her 19 points including the crucial free throws. Junior guard Megan Goodman set a new career-high with 12 points going 4 of 5 from behind the arc. Junior point guard Celeste Claw added 13 points and senior forward Whitney Fieldsted chipped in 11 for the Seasiders (12-5, 9-2 PacWest). Sophomore forward Mata Tonga had another strong night with a game-high 12 rebounds to go with seven points.
The last team to record seven straight wins was the inaugural 2006-07 squad that won seven straight from Jan. 11-Feb. 3, 2007. As a team, BYU-Hawaii outrebounded Academy of Art (11-8, 6-5 PacWest) by five, while the Seasider bench outscored the Urban Knights 19-4.
Clinging to a one-point lead, Tatupu-Leopoldo led the crucial 6-0 run with a pair of layups to build a 67-60 lead with three minutes left in the game. The Urban Knights closed the lead back to two with a quick 4-0 run and took possession with a chance to tie with 35 seconds remaining. Tatupu-Leopoldo came through again down the stretch stealing the ball from Academy of Art's Caron Brown with 12 seconds left and made the ensuing two free throws to seal the victory.
Academy of Art built an early 12-3 lead behind their strong defense and good transition game. The Seasiders found their groove with 12 minutes remaining in the half beginning with an Emily Nelson jumper to spark a 13-0 run and BYU-Hawaii's defense held Academy of Art without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes. Claw's 3-pointer capped the run and gave BYU-Hawaii the 23-20 lead with four minutes remaining.
The Urban Knights were able to retake the lead on a late 8-0 run, but Goodman came through in the clutch and sank a 3-pointer for the last bucket of the half to send the Seasiders into break trailing 29-28.
Two 3-pointers from Goodman and Tatupu-Leopoldo ignited a 13-2 run early in the second half. Claw highlighted the run with a steal and make from beyond the arc and Goodman added another 3-pointer to take a 41-33 lead with 16:36 left on the clock.
The Urban Knights were able to come within one point of the Seasiders lead several times, but a shot BYU-Hawaii kept them at bay over the next four minutes. Continued pressure from the Academy of Art offense helped them regain a 50-46 lead with 12:20 remaining.
Fieldsted scored four points and Marquessa Gilson connected on a 3-point jumper to give the Seasiders the lead for good at 61-58 with 4:31 on the clock.
BYU-Hawaii will return home next week for a matchup with Azusa Pacific on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. HST in the Cannon Activities Center. Live stats and video will be available online.