LAIE, Hawaii – Emily Nelson led BYU-Hawaii women's basketball in come-from-behind 77-70 victory against Arizona Christian on Monday night in the Cannon Activity Center.
Nelson recorded career highs in the form of a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Jiashan Cui and Valerie Nawahine each added 17 points for the Seasiders (3-0). Madison Austin led all-players with 19 points to go with six rebounds for Arizona Christian (4-3).
Trailing to begin the fourth quarter, E. Nelson led BYU-Hawaii to seven unanswered points with four points in the paint to cut the lead to one. Cui scored four straight for the Seasiders to regain the lead at 63-62 and the Seasiders were able to hold on over the final four minutes of the game.
Arizona Christian was able to jump to an early 10-6 lead in the first quarter, but BYU-Hawaii slowly fought back to a 14-14 tie with the clock showing 3:04 left in the period. The teams continued to trade baskets until, the Firestorm ended the quarter on a 5-0 run on a layup from Jada Willingham and a 3-pointer from Makayla Enders to take a 22-17 lead.
The second quarter was very defensive minded with Arizona Christian clinging to a one-point advantage after five minutes of play. At 3:15, the Seasiders found themselves behind by one possession as back-to-back jumpers from Devyn Kauhi made it a 30-29 game. Kjirsten Nelson drained to free throws with five seconds left in the half to give BYU-Hawaii the 35-34 lead at the break.
Arizona Christian was able to retake the lead with its first possession of the quarter, but the Seasiders kept the game close as a steal and layup by Claw made it a 39-38 game. Austin led the Firestorm on a 10-0 run with six points to take the largest lead of the game at nine points. The teams traded baskets the rest of the way as Arizona Christian took a 54-46 lead into the final quarter.
After Cui's layup gave BYU-Hawaii the lead, both teams traded points the next few minutes as each shot changed the lead until a shot from behind the arc by Nawahine sparked a 6-0 run that made it 71-66 in favor of the Seasiders with 1:46 left in the final quarter. BYU-Hawaii managed to keep the Arizona Christian at bay from the charity stripe in the final minute and took the 77-70 victory.
BYU-Hawaii faces University of Maryland at 10 a.m. HST at the McKinley High School gymnasium. Live stats will be available online.