LAIE, Hawai’i — Behind double-figure performances from Lexi Eaton Rydalch, Kalani Purcell and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher, BYU women’s basketball came out with a 85–40 win over BYU-Hawai’i in the Tom Weston Classic, Wednesday.
“I thought we did a great job defensively tonight, especially in the first half,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “It’s good for our team to have some confidence. We got a lot of good minutes from our bench and that’s definitely an added plus.”
Rydalch ended the game with a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and four assists. She finished the contest shooting 10 for 15 from the field and 3 of 5 from behind the arc. Rydalch had her best shooting percentage performance of the year, shooting 66.7 percent from the field.
Junior transfer Purcell shot 4 for 6 from the field, scoring 12 points in the game. She also added seven rebounds and two assists, and went 3 for 4 from the foul line. Pulsipher also added 11 points, four rebounds, four steals and a game-high six assists.
Shooting 50.0 percent for the game, the Cougars had their best shooting performance of the season, with all BYU players who saw action scoring.
BYU went on an early, aggressive 12-0 run behind eight quick points from Rydalch, forcing the Seasiders to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, BYU-Hawai’i began to play a 2-3 zone to try to put a stop to the BYU run. On the next play, Pulsipher got fouled on a 3-pointer and went to the line making 2 of 3 free throws. Rydalch then hit her second 3-point field goal to put the Cougars up 19-5. BYU continued to extend its lead as Purcell hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, converting her first 3-pointer of the season, putting the Cougars atop 26-8.
The Cougars went 3 for 7 from the 3-point line through the first ten minutes of action, with Rydalch scoring 11 points, and shooting 2 for 3 from behind the arc. Purcell added nine points.
Freshman Jasmine Moody scored the Cougars’ first points of the second period at the 8:11 mark on a free throw. Moody started the game in place of the injured Micaelee Orton for her second career collegiate start. With 6:22 to go in the first half, BYU stretched their lead to 27, 35-8, on a fast break layup by Rydalch to give her 15 points for the game. The Seasiders scored their first points of the second period at the 3:31 mark on a floater by Celeste Claw.
Continuing to push the ball up the floor, Pulsipher found Amanda Wayment in the key for her third assist and Wayment’s first bucket of the game. The basket put the Cougars up 47-10 going into halftime.
Holding the Seasiders to just ten points in the first half was the Cougars best defensive half outing of the season. Going into the break, Rydalch led all scorers with 17 first half points, while Purcell added 12. BYU shot 51.4 percent from the field to the Seasiders 15.4 percent, and dished out 11 assists to BYU-Hawai’i’s three.
Teams traded buckets through the first three minutes of the third period. The Cougars went up 51-12 on a pair of free throws from Moody, while the Seasiders fired back on the next two plays on a leaning jumper by Valerie Nawahine, and two consecutive free throws from Kjirsten Nelson to make the score 51-16.
The Cougars continued to push the ball up the court with Wayment finding Pulsipher on the baseline for a 15-foot jumper. Rydalch then extended the lead to 41, 59-18, converting her third 3-point basket of the game. BYU scored 21 points to BYU-Hawai’i’s 17 in the third.
MaCayla Hanks opened the fourth period with two early buckets giving her six points for the game, putting BYU up 72-29. Hanks finished the contest with a career-high nine points and five rebounds. Kristine Fuller Nielson matched her career-high of seven points at the 5:30 mark on a jumper from the middle of the key. The Cougars continued to move the ball side to side, waiting patiently for open shots as Cassie Broadhead found Hanks on the block to give the Cougars the 85-40 advantage. Broadhead finished the game with a game-high five steals.
BYU scored 24 points off turnovers to the Seasiders two, and scored a season-high 40 points in the paint. The BYU bench outscored the BYU-Hawai’i bench 23 to 11.
The Cougars next game will be Thursday, Dec. 3, as they will take on the University of Hawai’i in their second game of the Tom Weston Classic. Teams will tip-off at 6 p.m. HT (9 p.m. MST). Links to live stats and streaming can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
For the second time this year, the Cougar women scored 80-plus points with the 85 total points in the win over the Seasiders.
After the first period, BYU enjoyed a 22-point advantage, up 30 to 8 over BYU-Hawaii. At halftime, the Cougars had a 37-point lead, 47-17 over the Seasiders.
BYU-Provo shot 51 percent from the field in the first half and 40 percent behind the arc. They finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc. At the free throw line, the Cougars shot 64 percent.
The Cougars had a big advantage in their inside play, picking up 40 points in the paint compared with just 12 for the Seasiders.
BYU-Provo got 19 points from BYU-Hawaii turnovers in the first half of action. The Seasiders didn't have any Provo from the five Cougar mistakes made through the first 20 minutes of play. At the end of the game, BYU-Provo had tallied 24 points off of the 26 BYU-Hawaii turnovers. The Seasiders only recorded two points from the 11 Cougar mistakes.
For the third time on the year, the Cougar women finished the game with three players scoring in double figures. In the game vs. the Seasiders had 25 points from Lexi Eaton Rydalch, 12 from Kalani Purcell and 11 from Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch
Lexi Eaton Rydalch led all scorers with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists at the break. She recorded her seventh straight double figure outing in points from a total of 25 points. The 25 points are her fourth 20-plus game and the second straight. Rydalch pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists in the win while shooting 10 of 15 from the field and 2 for 2 from the free throw line.
Kalani Purcell also recorded double digits in points in the first half with 12 points while also contributing two steals and three rebounds. She finished with a team-best seven rebounds along with two assists. The total points are Purcell’s third game with double digits in points and the second straight.
Cassie Broadhead tied for team bests in steals with three in the first half. She also pulled down four rebounds. She would finish with a game-high five steals while adding one more rebounds for a total of five in the win.
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher tied for team bests in steals (3) and in assists (3) through the first two periods. She finished with a game-best six assists to go along with 11 points, four rebounds and four steals. The points are the fifth contest that Pulsipher has scored 10-plus points.
PROVO, Utah— With a 3-3 record, the Cougar women’s basketball team continues its nonconference portion of the 2015-16 schedule, taking its third road trip to date. BYU will compete in the Tom Weston Classic in Laie, Hawaii, on the BYU-Hawaii Campus, Dec. 2-5.
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, they will take on BYU-Hawaii (3-2) at 7 p.m. HT. On Thursday, Dec. 3, they will battle the University of Hawaii at 6 p.m. HT and on Saturday, Dec. 5, they will take on No. 9 Texas A&M (5-1) at 2 p.m. HT. All games will be played in the Cannon Activities Center.
This will be the seventh time that BYU has participated in the Tom Weston Classic, formerly the Hukilau Invitational. The first tournament was held in 2008. It was not held during the 2012-13 and the 2013-14 season. It became the Tom Weston Invitational last year. The Cougars enter the tournament with an 11-1 invitational record. Their only loss was last year on Nov. 29 when BYU lost to Oregon State 71-61.
BYU has two players that are scoring in double figures. All-American senior guard Lexi Eaton Rydalch (21.8) and junior Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher (11.2). All-American Kalani Purcell, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson Community College and Hamilton, New Zealand, leads the way in the rebound category (12.8). She also contributes 9.7 points a game.
The Cougars are scoring 63.7 points per game, shooting 38 percent from the field, 70 percent from the free throw line and 38 percent from 3-point range.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 15th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton Rydalch, 21.8 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #32 K. Purcell, 12.8 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #3 K. Maeda, 3.8 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Morrison Pulsipher, 2.0 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #32, K. Purcell, .50 bpg
BYU-Hawaii has compiled a 3-2 record with wins over Alaska Fairbanks and Arizona Christian, twice.
The Seasiders return two starters and several key bench players from the 2014-15 squad that finished with the second best record in the program’s history, 15-11.
Valarie Nawahine is one of four players for the Seasiders scoring in double digits with 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Jiashan Cui follows with 12.4 points while Celeste Claw contributes 11.6 points. Rounding out the scoring is Kjirsten Nelson who tallies 10.8 points. The team’s leading rebounder is Emily Nelson who pulls down 8.8 rebounds per game.
As a team, BYU-Hawaii is scoring 66.8 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field, 75 percent from the free throw line and 30 percent from behind the arc.
• Head coach: Craig Stanger, third season
• Team’s leading scorer: #23 V. Nawahine, 13.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #25 E. Nelson, 8.8 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #03 C. Claw, 7.8 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #03 C. Claw, 1.8 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #25 E. Nelson, .80 bpg
BYU Provo leads the series 3-0. All games with the Seasiders have been in the Tom Weston Classic. BYU Provo defeated BYU-Hawaii last 73-52 on Nov. 27, 2014.
The University of Hawaii enters the Tom Weston Classic with a 4-3 record. They were picked to finish first in the Big West.
Sarah Toeaina leads the Rainbow Wahine with 10.5 points per game. Teammate Megan Huff is their leading rebounder, pulling down 6.7 boards a game. She also contributes 9.5 points.
Hawaii is scoring 62.5 points per game while shooting 39 percent from the field, 21 percent behind the arc and 70 percent from the free throw line.
In the series history with the Rainbow Wahine, Hawaii has a 7-4 edge over the Cougars. The two last met on Dec. 5, 2009 in this same tournament with BYU picking up the 81-44 win.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M
The Aggies have a 5-1 mark to date and are ninth in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Texas A&M returns eight letterwinners including four starters from a team that last year went 23-10, finished tied for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference and competed in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Aggies have three players scoring in double digits with 18.3 points each from Courtney Walker and Courtney Williams. Teammate Jordan Jones is chipping in 10.8 points a game. Khaalia Hillsman is the team’s leading rebounder as she grabs 6.7 boards per contest.
Texas A&M is averaging 80.7 points a game, shooting 47 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the arc and 66 percent at the charity stripe.
Saturday’s meeting between Texas A&M and BYU is the first ever for the two teams.
After the three games the Cougar women play in Laie, the team returns to action in the state of Utah. BYU takes a quick trip to Ogden to battle in-state foe Weber State on Thursday, Dec. 10, in a 7 p.m. tip. Then on Saturday, Dec. 12, BYU plays its final nonconference game hosting in-state rival Utah at 2 p.m.