(Photo by Torrey Vail)
MORAGA, Calif. — Despite a game-high 18 points from junior guard Cassie Broadhead, BYU women’s basketball fell to Saint Mary’s 64-58 at the McKeon Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars and Gaels are now tied for second place in the West Coast Conference standings.
"We didn't start the game well," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We didn't set the tone we wanted to. When we started to press, it paid off. We got them to speed up. I thought we did a good job fighting back, but we had some opportunities down the stretch that we didn't capitalize on."
Along with Broadhead’s 18 points, she recorded four assists and three rebounds. Kristine Nielson added 13 points, while Makenzi Pulsipher recorded seven points. The senior guard duo converted two 3-point field goals apiece. Senior forward Kalani Purcell chipped in nine points, as well as a game-high nine rebounds.
Nielson put the Cougars (17-10, 11-5 WCC) on the board at the 7:52 mark, after Saint Mary’s (16-11, 11-5 WCC) opened the game on a 7-0 run. Nielson then closed the gap to two, 7-5, giving her BYU’s first five points.
Pulsipher hit a trey to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 8-7. A Purcell layup put BYU up 14-10 with 2:12 to go in the first quarter. Saint Mary’s took the 15-14 lead into the second quarter.
Teams traded baskets to start the second quarter. Broadhead closed the gap to two, 22-20, as she finished a reverse layup on the left side of the basket.
The Gaels then pulled ahead by seven, 30-23, with 3:06 to go in the half. BYU trailed Saint Mary’s by five, 30-25, at halftime.
Saint Mary’s opened the half on a 6-0 run, extending its lead to 11, 36-25. After the Gaels extended their lead to 17, BYU threw on full-court pressure fueling baskets by Broadhead and Purcell to put the Cougars back within 10, 43-33.
BYU opened the fourth quarter with a jumper by Nielson to cut the Gael lead to eight, 49-41. With 5:19 on the clock, Purcell converted a layup to make the score 57-50.
Purcell committed her fifth foul with 4:37 to go, fouling out as the Gaels led 58-50. Broadhead hit a step-back 3-pointer with 2:39 left to bring BYU within seven, 60-53.
A left-hand layup by Wayment put the Cougars within five, 60-55, with 1:58 on the clock. Nielson then converted her second 3-point field goal cutting the SMC lead to four, 62-58.
With 6.3 seconds on the clock, the Cougars had a chance to make it a one-point game, but a Brenna Chase 3-pointer was blocked. BYU had to foul sending Saint Mary’s to the free throw line just before time expired.
BYU will return to the Marriott Center to take on Portland on Thursday. Teams will tip off at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to media and live stats can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
After a 64-58 loss at Saint Mary’s, BYU is now (17-10, 11-5) on the year. The Cougars remain tied with the Gaels for second place in the WCC standings.
Through the first 20 minutes of action, BYU had pulled down 20 rebounds to SMC’s 14. For the game, the Gaels finished with just one more board than the Cougars, 34 to 33.
The Cougars had the advantage in steals with six to the Gaels four at the break. BYU finished the game with a total of 14 steals to SMC’s six.
BYU shot 35.5 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc, going 3 of 9 in the first half of play. The Cougars finished shooting 37.7 percent from the field, 33.3 percent shooting from 3-point range and 71.4 percent shooting from the charity stripe.
The Cougars scored 26 of their 58 points in the paint compared with 14 points for the Gaels.
Kalani Purcell had a first-half high six rebounds to go along with two points, two blocks and two steals. Before fouling out with 4:37 left in the game, she had contributed nine points, nine rebounds, two assists, a team-best three blocks and two steals.
Kristine Nielson scored eight points in the first half and grabbed five rebounds. She finished the contest with 13 points, five boards and two steals. The points are her 11th game this year with double digits in points.
Cassie Broadhead had four points, two points and two assists through the first two quarters of action. She finished the game with her 26th game scoring in double digits with game-high total points. She also had three rebounds and two steals.
Makenzi Pulsipher had a game-high five steals along with four rebounds and seven points.
Amanda Wayment came off the bench and scored eight points along with five rebounds and two assists.