HILO, Hawaii – Valerie Nawahine had a big game offensively to lead BYU-Hawaii women's basketball to a 66-47 victory at Hawaii Hilo on Thursday night.
"Excellent team effort defensively," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "Our defense kept [Hilo] off balance most of the night and offensively we answered thier challenge with good execution."
Nawahine led all players with 25 points and five assists, shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) from the field. Celeste Claw added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Seasiders (10-12, 7-10 PacWest).
Kim Schmelz led the Vulcans (9-13, 9-8 PacWest) with 13 points and Felicia Kolb added 10 rebounds.
BYU-Hawaii shot 50 percent from the field, holding Hilo to 26.3 percent. The Seasiders also recorded 46.2 percent of 3-point shots, while the Vulcans connected on only 27.3 percent.
The teams traded points in the first quarter until Emily Nelson's layup sparked a nine-point run to give the Seasiders a 17-7 advantage with 1:56 remaining. Schmelz answered with a jump shot for the Vulcans, but two free throws from Tyvette White held BYU-Hawaii's 10-point edge at the end of the quarter.
A jumper from Kjirsten Nelson and 3-pointer by Nawahine extended their lead to 28-14 with four minutes into the second period. Hilo responded with a 9-2 run, closing the gap to 30-23 with four minutes to go.
Claw and Nawahine each hit 3-pointers down the stretch to give BYU-Hawaii the 36-26 lead at the break.
Lauren Hong highlighted an 8-2 run by the Vulcans with a 3-pointer to close the gap to single digits at 38-34 with five minutes remaining.
Nawahine hit another 3-point jumper with 3:38 remaining in the third to ignite a 16-0 run with Claw adding seven points to widen the Seasiders' lead to 56-36 three minutes into the final quarter.
Mercer scored four points during a six-point runto make it 56-42 in BYU-Hawaii's favor with 6:21 to go. The Seasiders answered back with an 8-0 run to take their largest lead at 64-42 with 3:35 left.
BYU-Hawaii returns to Oahu to play at Chaminade on Saturday at 5 p.m. HST. Live stats will be available online.