LAIE, Hawaii – Jiashan Cui had a career night to lead BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to a 76-71 victory over Alaska Fairbanks on Wednesday at the Cannon Activities Center.
Cui finished with a career-high 25 points to lead all players and made all 13 of her shots from behind the charity line. Celeste Claw added 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds on the night.
As a team, the Seasiders (1-0) held the Nanooks (1-2) to 27.3 percent from the field and 14.3 percent from behind the arc. BYU-Hawaii shot 41 percent from the field and 31 percent from the 3-point line.
The Nanooks doubled the Seasiders' early 10-5 with 3:21 left in the first quarter, but Claw hit a big 3-pointer and then added a 3-point play to give the Seasiders their first lead of the game at 15-12 headed into the second quarter.
Five points from a jump shot and a 3-pointer by Claw made it an 18-16 game in favor of BYU-Hawaii. Taylor Jackson was able to contribute another jumper after weaving through the defense and getting the ball from Cui, and then added a layup with 5:13 left that started an 8-0 run featuring five points from Cui to make it a 27-19 game.
A big shot by Claw from behind the arc was followed by four made free throws by Claw and Cui to extend the BYU-Hawaii lead to 12 and make the game 36-24 with 1:14 remaining in the half. Alaska Fairbanks was able to capitalize on its free throws to get cut the lead to single-digits at 38-30 going into the break.
Celeste Claw led all players in the first half with 16 points shooting 3-4 from behind the arc as well as added two steals.
After a free throw from the Nanooks, a 3-point shot from Valerie Nawahine gave the Seasiders the double-digit lead and Claw followed with a jump shot and a free throw to extend the lead to 13 two minutes into the third quarter.
Alaska Fairbanks sank four consecutive makes from the charity stripe to cut the lead to 48-44 halfway through the quarter, but the Seasiders managed to stay ahead with points from Nawahine and Tyvette White. Kaillee Skjold made two free throws to end the third and send the game into the final quarter with BYU-Hawaii ahead 53-48.
With the clock showing 9:03 in the final quarter, Kjirsten Nelson hit two jump shots to spark a 6-0 run that included a shot by Kauhi to once again give BYU-Hawaii the double-digit lead. The Nanooks continued to battle and tied the game at 61-61 with five minutes remaining. Cui answered immediately with a shot behind the arc to keep the Seasiders ahead.
The Seasiders then went on an 8-1 run highlighted by a 3-pointer from Cui and a jumper from Emily Nelson to make it a 72-66 game. The final seconds of the game featured a flurry of fouls, but BYU-Hawaii was able to hit its free throws down the stretch to take the 76-71 victory.
BYU-Hawaii faces Arizona Christian on Friday at 7 pm HST in the Cannon Activity Center. Live stats and video will be available online.