Seasiders win on strong finish

Seasiders win on strong finish

IRVINE, Calif. – Celeste Claw led BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to an 84-72 victory over Concordia University Irvine on Monday night at CU Arena.

"It was a great team win," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "We got out to a terrific start and that was crucial in the end. Several girls battled foul trouble and we struggled to deal with the [Eagles] athleticism and good post play. In the end we defended well and got the stops we needed them in the fourth to get over the top."

Claw led BYU-Hawaii (8-10, 5-8 PacWest) with 20 points to go with six assists and four steals. Tyvette White came off the bench to chip in career-highs of 18 points and six rebounds.

Concordia's (2-17, 1-13) Brittany Stafford led all players with 26 points and added nine rebounds. Ashley Earles recorded 13 points for the Eagles and added three assists.

BYU-Hawaii shot 54.7 percent from the field and 53.5 percent from behind the arc, while holding Concordia to 39.3 and 30.8, respectively.

The Seasiders started strong using back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Claw, Valerie Nawahine and Jiashan Cui to start a 14-1 run over the first three minutes of the game. The Eagles responded with six straight to cut the lead in half just two minutes later.

BYU-Hawaii continued its hot shooting and Claw sank a shot from behind the arc to give the Seasiders their largest lead of the quarter at 31-16. BYU-Hawaii hit 91.7 percent of its shots to take a 31-19 lead after the first quarter with Claw, Cui and Nawahine being perfect from the field.

Zoe Goss scored seven points to jump start a 14-point run for the Eagles that cut the Seasider lead to one with 5:51 left before halftime. Nawahine then sparked the dormant BYU-Hawaii offense with a 3 and the Seasiders used a 12-2 run to regain their double-digit lead at 43-32 with three minutes remaining. Gaby Johnson led the Eagles response with five points during a quarter ending 9-2 run to send them into the break trailing BYU-Hawaii 45-41.

Concordia maintained the momentum out of the locker room with an 11-0 run led by Stafford's five points to take a 52-45 lead. Cui hit a pair of free throws and Kjirsten Nelson made a layup to cut the Eagles' lead to three with six minutes remaining in the third.

K. Nelson and Emily Nelson continued strong post play with back-to-back layups and Claw capped an 8-2 run with a layup with four seconds left in the period to send BYU-Hawaii into the final quarter trailing 58-57.

The Seasiders used the momentum to open the fourth on a 7-2 run with Claw's 3-pointer giving BYU-Hawaii the 64-60 advantage with eight minutes left on the clock. The teams traded points for the next five minutes and Stafford tied the game at 70 for the Eagles with a layup.

K. Nelson broke the tie with a layup and White scored four straight to give BYU-Hawaii some breathing room and force Concordia to foul. The Seasiders connected on their free throws to end the game on a 14-2 run.

BYU-Hawaii returns to action on Wednesday against California Baptist at 5 p.m. PST at Van Dyne Gymnasium. Live stats and video will be available online.

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