PROVO, Utah—Kalani Purcell’s seventh double-double of the season led a fourth period comeback as the BYU women’s basketball team defeated Gonzaga 58-54 Thursday evening in the Marriott Center.
"This is one of the best wins we've had in a long time," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Not because we beat Gonzaga, but because we were down seven points with three minutes in the game and we didn't give up. I think that shows a lot of team character and what they believe in. As a coach, that's what you want. You want a team that fights to the end, no matter what."
Lexi Eaton Rydalch led all scorers with 18 points and two assists. Purcell added 17 points and 16 rebounds in the winning effort for the Cougars, and Kylie Maeda had seven points and three assists. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher added six points and two steals and Cassie Broadhead had four points, all coming in the fourth period, from the free throw line, off the bench.
Pulsipher’s jumper opened the fourth period for the Cougars, bringing the score to 42-37 for Gonzaga (13-5, 5-1 WCC). Two strong defensive stands allowed Rydalch to add a jumper from the corner and two free throws to bring BYU (13-4, 5-1 WCC) within one, with seven minutes to play. Back-to-back steals and an 8-0 run over a minute took Gonzaga’s lead out to nine with five minutes to play.
Rydalch hit a three from the top of the arch and a layup to bring the score to 50-48 for Gonzaga with 3:25 left in the game. Amanda Wayment’s layup and Purcell’s jumper gave the Cougars their second lead of the night, 52-51, with 1:15 to play in the game. Pulsipher’s two free throws with 30 seconds to play gave BYU a 54-51 lead. Broadhead hit four free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to extend the Cougars lead and seal the win, 58-54.
Gonzaga scored the first six points of the game, but a jumper from Rydalch put the Cougars on the board with six minutes to play in the first period. Maeda added a 3-pointer to bring the score to 8-6 for Gonzaga. Rydalch’s right-side jumper tied the game at 8-8. The two teams stayed tied for four minutes before a Zhane Templeton 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 10-8 lead. Purcell’s layup brought the Cougars within three points and the Bulldogs ended the first period up 15-12.
Rydalch opened the second period with a jumper to keep the Cougars within three, and a Purcell layup brought BYU within one with eight minutes to play in the half. Gonzaga and BYU traded baskets for the next four minutes until the Bulldogs took a 24-18 lead off of a 3-pointer. Kristine Fuller Nielson ended BYU’s three-minute scoring drought with a layup, but Gonzaga would hit two straight jumpers to extend its lead to 28-20 at the end of the half.
Purcell opened the third period with an early layup and Jasmine Moody scored her first points of the game off a layup to make it a 30-24 game. Purcell added another layup and two points from the charity stripe to bring the Cougars within five with six minutes to play in the third period. Rydalch’s layup at 5:20 made the score 33-30 for the Bulldogs, and Purcell’s jumper with three minutes to play brought BYU within two points, 35-33. Three-pointers from Templeton and Chelsea Waters extended the Bulldogs’ lead to eight, and after going back and forth with free throws, Gonzaga ended the third period up 42-35.
The Cougars stay at home for their next matchup on Saturday against Portland at 2:00 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on BYUtv and BYU Radio- Sirius XM 143.
BYU went into the half down eight points, 28-20, to Gonzaga. The Cougars shot 38.1 percent from the field to the Bulldogs 48.1 percent. BYU dished out six assists to Gonzaga’s nine in the first two periods of action. The Bulldogs ended the game with 17 while the Cougars had 12.
The Cougars finished the game shooting 41.3 percent to the Bulldogs 43.4. BYU turned the ball over 13 times to Gonzaga’s 17. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Cougars 34 to 28 while both teams recorded seven steals for the game. BYU went 18 for 22 from the free throw line, and Gonzaga shot 3 for 7 from the line. The Cougars outscored the Zags 23 to 12 in the fourth period.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 13-4 on the year, are 5-1 in conference play and maintain a perfect 6-0 mark at home. BYU has now won the last two games against Gonzaga.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch began the game scoring five of the Cougars first eight points. She went into halftime with a game-high seven points. Rydalch finished the contest with a game-high 18 points, shooting 7 for 15 from the field.
Kalani Purcell scored four points and brought down four rebounds in the first period, and finished the first half with six points and six rebounds. Purcell ended the contest with 17 points and a game-high 16 rebounds to record her seventh double-double of the year. The points tie for BYU career highs.
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher finished the contest with six points, going 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Pulsipher dished out a team-high three assists.
Kylie Maeda scored seven points against the Bulldogs and dished out a team-high three assists. With her three assists, Maeda is now tied for 13th on BYU's all-time assist leader list. She's tied with current assistant coach Melinda Bendall.
Amanda Wayment had a team-high two assists and three steals after 20 minute of play. Wayment finished the contest with a game-high three steals. She also added two points, two rebounds and two assists.
Cassie Broadhead came off the bench, making all four critical free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to seal the Cougar victory. She also had one steal