LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii women's basketball dropped a hard-fought game 89-74 to Cal Baptist on Saturday at the Cannon Activities Center.
"We're never too truly excited with a loss," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "They're a good team and they do a very good job of exploiting your weaknesses when you make mistakes. I'm encouraged by our efforts. We're doing a lot of things well; we just need to continue to clean up our defensive focus and be a little more consistent defensively to be competitive with anyone in the conference."
Cassidy Mihalko led all players with 26 points to go with seven rebounds for the Lancers (17-1, 9-1 PacWest). Kamille Diaz had eight assists before she caught fire in the fourth quarter to score 12 of her 21 points.
Cal Baptist shot 49.3 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from behind the arc, while BYU-Hawaii shot 42.0 percent and 33.3 percent, respectively. The Lancers also held a 47-32 advantage on the boards.
BYU-Hawaii grabbed an early 9-5 lead with balanced inside-out scoring. Mihalko led the answering run with four points during a 6-point run, which give Cal Baptist the 11-9 lead with 6:29 left in the quarter. The teams continued to trade baskets the remainder of the first with the Lancers taking a 24-20 lead into the second.
Cal Baptist capped off its 9-0 run with the first four points of the second to increase its lead to 28-20. Mihalko gave the Lancers the first double-digit lead of the game at 33-22 with a fast-break layup with six minutes remaining in the half. Both teams continued the see-saw scoring for the remainder of the half as Cal Baptist took a 47-34 lead into the break on a Courtney Nelson 3-pointer.
The Lancers scored the first five points of the second half during a 9-3 run to take a 19-point advantage at the midway point of the third period. Emily Nelson scored back-to-back baskets for the Seasiders during a 10-3 run to cut the lead back to 59-47 with two minutes left in the third. Kjirsten Nelson then hit a shot with the foul to lead BYU-Hawaii to the final five points of the quarter and cut the lead to 62-52 heading to the fourth.
The Lancers hit three 3-pointers, two from Diaz, to push their lead back to 16 with 7:30 left in the game. Diaz continued her hot shooting with a shot behind the arc to give Cal Baptist the 81-61 lead with five minutes remaining. Cravens began a 10-point run with a layup and free-throw and Jiashan Cui scored five points to cut the let to 85-71 with 1:14 left on the clock, but it was too late to mount the comeback.
BYU-Hawaii returns to the court on Tuesday to take on Dixie State at 5 p.m. HST in the Cannon Activities Center. Live stats and video will be available online.