LAIE, Hawaii – Kjirsten Nelson led BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to their largest win against Dixie State in a 92-79 game on Tuesday night in the Cannon Activities Center.
Nelson set her career-high and led all players with 24 points to go with five rebounds. Valerie Nawahine finished with 17 points and Celeste Claw recorded 15 points and seven assists. Mata Tonga led the Seasiders (7-9, 4-7 PacWest) with nine rebounds.
Taylor Mann led the Red Storm (4-13, 4-7 PacWest) with a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii shot 43.7 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from behind the arc, holding Dixie State to 41.3 and 22.7, respectively. The Seasiders ended with 26 assists, 11 steals and outrebounded the Red Storm 44-38.
A 3-point jumper by Claw in the first seconds of the game gave BYU-Hawaii the momentum to score 13-unanswered points that included a 3-pointer by Nawahine and tip-in by Natallia Cravens, making it 13-0 with 6:35 in the first period.
Dixie State answered with a 12-0 run highlighted by two 3-point shots to cut the Seasiders' lead to 16-14 with 2:33 on the cloc BYU-Hawaii stayed ahead with seven points from Nelson and Devyn Kauhi and a jump shot from the Red Storm ended the quarter with the Seasiders leading 23-16.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Nawahine with seven minutes in the second half extended BYU-Hawaii's lead back to double digits at 32-21. Dixie State answered again with a 7-2 run to close the game to 34-28 halfway through the second.
With three minutes in the period, Nelson went on a 7-point streak of her own to broaden the Seasider lead to 41-28 and BYU-Hawaii headed into the locker room ahead 45-36.
The Red Storm came out strong from the half and cut the lead to one at 51-50 after a 14-2 run that included six points by Ashlee Burge. BYU-Hawaii answered with six consecutive points of its own to gain some breathing room with the 57-50 advantage with four minutes remaining in the period.
Nelson contributed five points to a 7-1 Seasider run to rebuild their double-digit edge at 64-53 with two minutes in the third quarter.
The teams traded points in the fourth quarter, but a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer from Nawahine extended BYU-Hawaii's lead to 83-67 with four minutes in the game. The Red Storm finished with an 8-1 run before Kendall Smiler made a buzzer-beating 3-point shot.
The Seasiders hit the road to play at Point Loma on Saturday at 2 p.m. PST. Live stats and video will be available online.