LAIE, Hawaii – Safia Sheikh led BYU-Hawaii women's basketball as it held off a late rally by Central Washington to win 44-41 Friday at the Cannon Activities Center.
"We had a much better defensive effort tonight," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "I thought we responded really well. I liked how we started to play together a little bit more, take care of the ball and make better decisions on defense. In the end it was our defense that won the game because we didn't score very many points down the stretch."
Kortney Grattic was the top-scorer for Central Washington (3-1) with 15 points and Taylor Baird finished with 13 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii shot 31.8 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from behind the arc, holding the Wildcats to 25.5 and 20, respectively. Central Washington had 11 steals to the Seasiders' five.
The Wildcats built a 15-7 lead after a 9-3 run featuring a free throw and layup from Jasmin Edwards. In the next 30 seconds, the Seasiders recorded five consecutive points to close the gap to 15-12 with 2:30 left in the first quarter.
Taryn Skahill sparked a 17-0 run highlighted by a 3-point jumper from S. Sheikh and four points and four rebounds by Tonga to give BYU-Hawaii its first double-digit lead of the game at 29-18 with 33 seconds remaining in the half.
S. Sheikh's 3-pointer rounded out a 7-point Seasider run to widen the gap to 38-23 with six minutes remaining in the third period, but Central Washington answered back with a 6-0 streak to bring the score to 38-29 with 1:06 on the clock.
Sadie Mensing added four points to a 7-0 run that allowed the Wildcats to narrow the deficit to 40-36 with 7:25 in the game. Grattic sunk a three before making two free throws to make it a 1-point game in the final minute of play.
The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead inbounding the ball from in front of their own bench, but the inbound pass sailed high and out of bounds to give the ball back to the Seasiders. Tyvette White took the inbound and sunk two free-throws with one second on the clock and the desperation heave at the buzzer fell short.
BYU-Hawaii returns to the court tomorrow at 7 p.m. HST to play Missouri Western St. Live stats and video will be available online.