PROVO, Utah – Led by double-digit scoring from three players, BYU women’s basketball defeated Saint Mary’s 65-59 at home on Thursday afternoon.
“It was a great win for us," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We were kind of rusty tonight; it was a bit of an ugly game. I thought when we had to make some stops, we did. We didn't do that at San Diego, and I think that's the key in this league."
BYU (9-4, 1-1 West Coast Conference) barely outrebounded Saint Mary’s (10-4, 1-2 WCC) in the game, 40-39. The strong rebounding effort was led by Kalani Purcell’s 11 boards and Amanda Wayment’s eight. The Cougars forced 18 turnovers in the win, scoring 24 points off of those turnovers.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch led all scorers with 22 points. She also had six rebounds and eight assists in the contest. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher had 15 points, including three treys. Coming off the bench, Cassie Broadhead had 10 points to contribute to the win.
Purcell opened up the game with a 3-pointer, but the Gaels responded with a 6-0 run. A trey from Rydalch tied up the game 6-6 at the 7:08 mark, ending Saint Mary’s streak. Neither team was able to go on a run for the rest of the quarter. Broadhead scored two jump shots, including BYU’s last bucket of the quarter to make it 17-19 after the first 10 minutes.
The second quarter saw the Cougars begin to pull away. Back-to-back jump shots from Rydalch tied the game up at 26-26 and a 3-pointer from Pulsipher took the 29-26 lead with 4:10 left to play until the half. Despite a technical foul against BYU, the defense held Saint Mary’s, stopping any run of theirs.
BYU closed out the half on a 6-0 run, including a pair of buckets from Rydalch. The Cougars led 37-30 going into the break. The two teams were tied in rebounds (20 each) and points in the paint (12 each) at halftime.
Rydalch got things going to start the third quarter, drilling a shot from beyond the arc to make it 40-32. BYU went on an 8-0 run to go up 48-37. Broadhead capped off the run with a tough layup at the 3:25 mark. Saint Mary’s closed in on the lead with a 6-0 run to end the quarter, making it 50-44.
The Gaels’ momentum carried over into the fourth quarter. They went on a 5-0 run to get within two points, 53-51. At the 5:39 mark, Pulsipher drove the ball to score, making it 55-51. BYU’s defense held tough, forcing back-to-back turnovers with under five minutes to play.
Saint Mary’s fought hard, clawing back in with a pair of 3-pointers; however, free throws held the comeback at bay, sealing the 65-59 win for BYU.
BYU is at home against Pacific on Saturday at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Live stats will be available on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
Post Game Notes
The Cougars swiped the ball from the Gaels five times in the first half. They ended the game with nine steals compared to Saint Mary’s two.
BYU and Saint Mary’s battled behind the arch throughout the game. The two teams combined to take 36 3-point shots. The Cougars made six 3’s while the Gales made eight.
At the end of the first half, both teams had 20 rebounds. BYU won the rebound competition at the end of the game, snatching 40 boards to Saint Mary’s 39.
The Cougars had 24 points off of turnovers, compared to Saint Mary’s 10. They also had 18 points from the bench while the Gaels had 15.
This is the seventh time this year and the first time in WCC play that three players for BYU have reached double digits. Rydalch had 22 points, Pulsipher had 15 and Broadhead had 10.
BYU shot 40 percent from the floor and 30 percent from behind the arch. They also went 9-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Purcell picked up nine points and 11 rebounds and also hit her first 3-pointer of conference play. She played every minute of the game, which is the second time she has done that this season.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch
Rydalch ended the game leading all scorers with 22 points. She also tied her career high with eight assists. She had 13 points and six assists at the end of the first half. Rydalch is now 6th all time for BYU with 173 3-pointers and is 22 points away from tying for 4th place all time in points (Erin Thorn- 2,061).
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher
Pulsipher had 15 points in the game, with nine points, all 3-pointers, in the first half. She also contributed four rebounds and two steals.
Broadhead added her first points of the game off the bench in the first period. She had four points in the first half and ended the game with 10, her third time in double digits in her career.
Wayment gave the Cougars their first lead of the game off the bench with 2:35 to play in the first period. She finished the game with six points and eight rebounds.
Orton came off the bench and recorded her first and only points of the game in the second period. She also had two rebounds and a block.