LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii was unable to hold a late double-digit lead to lose 79-72 to Hawaii Hilo in overtime Saturday at the Cannon Activities Center.
"I thought we played well for about 38 minutes, but turnovers came back to bite us in the closing minutes," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "I credit Hilo for never giving up and really putting the pressure on us at the end of regulation."
Kristin Baldwin led the Seasiders (6-8, 3-5 PacWest) with 22 points and a game-high 15 rebounds and three blocks. Marian Sheikh added 18 points, four assists and four rebounds, while her twin Safia Sheikh had 16 points and three assists on the night.
Kim Schmelz scored a game-high 28 points for the Vulcans (3-8, 3-5 PacWest) to go with five rebounds. Vanessa Mancera added 15 points on 4 for 5 shooting from behind the arc.
M. Sheikh got BYU-Hawaii off to a strong start with five points during an 11-4 run over the first four minutes, but Mancera hit a 3-pointer from the corner to jump start Hilo on a 7-point run to tie the game. The teams traded points and Baldwin made a pair of free-throws to close the scoring in the first period and give the Seasiders the 18-15 lead.
Mancera's second 3-pointer of the game gave the Vulcans their first lead of the game at 20-18 and Schmelz added a jumper moments later to end the 7-point run. Baldwin led the answer for BYU-Hawaii with a 3-point play followed by a layup to regain the lead. Maia Jean Watene added a 3-pointer and Taryn Skahill ended the 10-0 run with a layup as the Seasiders made it 28-22 with 3:25 left in the half. The teams traded buckets and BYU-Hawaii entered the locker room with a 31-26 lead.
The teams traded points coming out of the break until Asia Smith connected on two mid-range jumpers during a 6-point run to give Hilo the 39-37 lead with four minutes remaining in the third. S. Sheikh responded for the Seasiders with four points to regain the 42-39 lead and a Mancera jumper closed the gap to one heading to the final quarter.
The game remained tight for the first half of the final period until Baldwin sparked a 10-0 run with a rebound and putback to give the Seasiders their first double-digit lead. BYU-Hawaii extended the margin to 12 with two minutes remaining, but the Vulcans stormed back. Schmelz converted a 4-point play to cut it to six and a turnover on the inbounds resulted in two free throws for Sydney Mercer. Tyvette White hit 1 of 2 free throws to extend the Seasider advantage back to five, but Schmelz quickly drew a foul and hit both to cut the lead to three.
The Vulcans forced another turnover and Schmelz went 1 for 2 on the ensuing free throws. After an offensive foul gave the ball back to Hilo, Alexa Jacobs drove down the lane to lay it in and tie the game at 63 with 18 seconds remaining. BYU-Hawaii was unable to get off a shot in the closing seconds and the game went to overtime.
Schmelz hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring, but BYU-Hawaii was able battle back and retake the 71-70 lead after a layup by Watene and two free throws from Baldwin. Mancera found an open spot in the right corner as the Seasider defense collapsed in the lane and she hit a 3-pointer to give Hawaii Hilo the 74-72 lead for good with 31 seconds remaining.
BYU-Hawaii will return to the court on Thursday to take on Chaminade at 5 p.m. HST in Honolulu. Live stats will be available online.