FRESNO, Calif. – Valerie Nawahine led BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to a 67-56 victory over Fresno Pacific on Thursday at the FPU Events Center.
Nawahine finished with a game-high 15 points to go with four assists and three rebounds for the Seasiders (5-5, 2-3 PacWest). Celeste Claw added 12 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Tyvette White ended with 12 points and eight rebounds. Hannah Ramirez led the Sunbirds (2-10, 0-6 PacWest) with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii shot 35.9 percent from the field and held Fresno Pacific to 25.8 percent shooting. The Seasiders' bench was the difference in the game outscoring the Sunbirds' reserves 32-24.
The first quarter was a defensive battle, but BYU-Hawaii had the edge after a jumper by Claw ignited an 8-2 run to take the 11-7 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter. White ended the first with a layup and then began the second with a jumper and an assist during an 8-2 run which gave BYU-Hawaii an 18-11 lead.
The Sunbirds answered the Seasiders with a 9-2 run off shots from four different players to tie the game at 20 halfway through the period. Claw sank a 3-pointer and Kjirsten Nelson added four points during a 9-1 run to send BYU-Hawaii into the break with a 31-23 lead.
Jiashan Cui and Nawahine each hit jumpers to bookend a Mata Tonga layup, giving the Seasiders their first double-digit lead of the game at 42-28 halfway through the third quarter. Ramirez led the Sunbirds back into the game with a 7-point run, but a 3-pointer from Claw kept BYU-Hawaii ahead by 10 with three minutes remaining.
After Fresno Pacific again closed the gap to seven, Devyn Kauhi and White combined for five quick points to make it 50-38 with 1:25 on the third quarter clock. Megan Lee made a shot behind the arc to cap a 9-point run by the Sunbirds which stretched from the end of the third to the start of the fourth quarter, to close the Seasiders' lead to 50-47.
Nawahine made a 3-pointer to push the lead back to six, but Abrina Salas answered with a 3 of her own to keep Fresno Pacific within striking distance with two minutes left in the game. BYU-Hawaii closed out the game from the free-throw line to take the victory.
The Seasiders return to the court on Saturday against Holy Names at 5 p.m. PST in Oakland, California. Lives stats and video will be available online.