LAIE, Hawaii – Jiashan Cui and Valerie Nawahine's strong fourth-quarter propelled BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to an 82–71 victory over Fresno Pacific in the Cannon Activities Center on Thursday night.
"This was a very important game for us," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "We hope this win will help us get some momentum to get back into the conference tournament chase."
Celeste Claw led all players with 19 points and five assists. Cui added 17 points, all in the second half, and Nawahine contributed 16 while each shot 4-4 from the free-throw line. Tyvette White recorded 12 points, while Mata Tonga had 11 rebounds.
Hannah Ramirez led Fresno Pacific (2-12, 0-8 PacWest) with a double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds. Daeja Gilmer and Megan Lee each contributed 14 points.
BYU-Hawaii (6-6, 3-4 PacWest) shot 55.6 percent from behind the arc, holding Fresno Pacific to 30.4 percent. The Seasiders also took care of the basketball tying their season-low of 13 turnovers.
After trailing for the first 36 minutes of the game, Nawahine gave BYU-Hawaii its first lead of the game at 67-65 with a 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining in the game. The 15-point run began when Cui hit a shot behind the arc with five minutes left in the game and ended when a free throw by Claw gave the Seasiders a 74-65 advantage with one minute left.
Fresno Pacific took the lead in an early defensive battle, but a 3-pointer by Claw put the Seasiders within one at 14-13 with three minutes left in the first quarter. The Sunbirds kept strong hold of the lead with a 6-0 run to end the quarter ahead 23-15.
A 3-pointer by Kaysha Fox gave Fresno Pacific a double-digit advantage, but BYU-Hawaii answered back with consecutive layups by Claw and Taryn Skahill to make it 28-22 with 7:06 remaining in the half. After the Sunbirds extended the lead back to nine, a 5-1 run for the Seasiders closed it to 32-27 with 5:28 remaining. They continued to trade baskets the remainder of the half and Devyn Kauhi hit a 3-pointer to end the first half scoring with BYU-Hawaii trailing 41-37.
Cui kept the Seasiders close in the third with a 3-pointer to make it a 45-40 game with 6:52 left in the period. The Sunbirds retaliated with a 7-2 run to push their lead to 52-42 with four minutes on the clock.
The Seasiders cut the lead back to single digits with a 7-point run featuring a 3-pointer from Cui, making it 52-49 with 2:08 left in the third quarter. Cui made a jump shot and Claw drew a foul to score two additional points, but Sunbird Taylor Martin's jumper ended the quarter with them ahead 58-53.
BYU-Hawaii came within 1-point of Fresno Pacific in the first minute of the last quarter, but Lee and Ramirez pulled the Sunbirds ahead to 64-57 with seven minutes in the game.
The Seasiders host Dominican on Saturday at 5 p.m. HST. Live stats and video will be available online.