LAIE, Hawaii – Valerie Nawahine's big second half powered BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to a 79-63 victory over Arizona Christian on Friday night in the Cannon Activities Center.
Nawahine led the Seasiders recording a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Celeste Claw (15), Kjirsten Nelson (13), Jiashan Cui (12) and Tyvette White (10) all scored in double-figures for the Seasiders (2-0). As a team, the Seasiders shot 42.4 percent from the field, holding Arizona Christian (4-1) to 35.5 percent.
After a close first half, a big 3-pointer from Nawahine tied the game at 37-37 and sparked an 8-0 run that included a layup from K. Nelson. Another shot from behind the arc by Nawahine gave BYU-Hawaii the lead for good.
The Seasiders and Firestorm battled to a 7-7 tie until a shot from behind the arc by K. Nelson gave BYU-Hawaii the slight lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter. Arizona Christian was able to take the lead at 3:30 with the scoreboard showing 11-10. Claw sparked a 6-0 run with four points and White added a jumper to send BYU-Hawaii to the second quarter with a 16-11 lead.
Despite a 3-pointer from Cui, Arizona Christian was able to mount a 9-4 run to retake a brief lead of 20-19. Claw answered immediately with a shot from behind the arc to regain the lead for the Seasiders. Shots by K. Nelson, Nawahine and Cui kept the Firestorm at bay for most of the quarter. A late run capped by a buzzer-beater from Jada Willingham gave Arizona Christian the 34-32 lead at the half.
At 44-41, Claw made back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a layup by Cui to give the Seasiders the double-digit lead with 43 seconds left in the quarter. A final buzzer-beating shot by White ended the quarter 54-45 in favor of BYU-Hawaii.
Mata Tonga began the final quarter with a jumper to ignite a 6-2 run to give the Seasiders the 60-48 lead with 8:41 on the clock. BYU-Hawaii maintained the double-digit lead the remainder of the game.
The Seasiders faces Arizona Christian again on Monday at 5 p.m. HST. Live stats and video will be available online.