Seasiders unable to close out Cougars

Safia Sheikh sinks a contested jumper against Azusa Pacific.
Safia Sheikh sinks a contested jumper against Azusa Pacific.

LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii women's basketball was unable to close out Azusa Pacific in the fourth quarter falling 56-47 Saturday afternoon in the Cannon Activities Center.

"I felt we competed much better today [compared to Thursday]," BYU-Hawaii head coach Craig Stanger said. "We took much better care of the ball and that enabled us to be in the game inspite of our poor shooting."

Safia Sheikh led all players with 18 points while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and going 6 for 7 from the free-throw line. Marian Sheikh finished with nine points and BYU-Hawaii's (6-7, 3-4 PacWest) only 3-pointer of the game. Taryn Skahill, Kristin Baldwin and Mata Tonga each contributed six points and Baldwin added a game-high 13 rebounds.

Tara Casey carried Azusa Pacific (7-8, 5-2 PacWest) to victory shooting 50 percent from the field to end with 14 points. Samantha Huddleston added nine points to go with eight rebounds and Zoe March contributed six assists and three steals for the game.

The Seasiders shot 28.6 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line to the Cougars' 32.8 and 90, respectively. BYU-Hawaii outrebounded Azusa Pacific 44-38.

With the Seasiders holding a slim lead heading to the final quarter, Mirja Beckmann sparked a 12-point run featuring 3-point jumpers from Rachel Bozlee and Huddleston to give the Cougars control of the game 48-40 with 6:33 in the game. Casey's fourth three of the game pushed Azusa Pacific ahead 12 points and despite their efforts, the Seasiders were unable to close the gap.

Casey began the game with a 3-pointer followed by March hitting a pair of free throws to push the Cougars ahead 9-4 in the first three minutes. The teams alternated baskets while Azusa Pacific held a small lead, but Skahill's third jump shot closed the gap to 15-12 with 26 seconds on the clock.

The Cougars built a 20-14 lead in the first minute of the second quarter when Casey hit another three before consecutive shots by S. Sheikh brought the Seasiders within two with 8:26 to go. S. Sheikh combined with Tonga to close the deficit to 24-23 with 5:40 remaining, but Azusa Pacific answered with threes from Casey and Abigail Goodsell. BYU-Hawaii recorded four more points to go into the break trailing 30-27.

S. Sheikh scored three the old fashioned way to tie the game at 30 before Baldwin and Tonga made back-to-back shots, giving the Seasiders their first lead of the game at 34-32 with 7:17 in the third period. BYU-Hawaii was able to hold their lead as S. Sheikh recorded four unanswered points and Jessica Horrocks hit a jumper to end the quarter 40-36.

BYU-Hawaii will return to action next Saturday against Hawaii Hilo at 5 p.m. HST. Live stats and video will be available online. 

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