Three Cougars in double digits lift BYU over Portland in WCC action
PROVO, Utah – Junior Kalani Purcell recorded her eighth double-double of the season to help BYU defeat Portland 78-66 in a West Coast Conference game at home on Saturday afternoon.
“We had a great week and this was a hard game to play this afternnon,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I’m really happy that this team is getting better.”
With 5:09 remaining in the game, Purcell hit a jumper to break into double digits. Purcell also pulled down 14 rebounds in addition to eight assists and a career-high six steals.
“Kalani had a great week,” Judkins said. “ I think what she did this week proves what kind of player she is for this team and in this league. She is a tough matchup for anybody.”
Senior Lexi Eaton Rydalch led all scorers with 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists while junior Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher recorded a 17-point performance. Freshman Jasmine Moody also contributed with nine rebounds on the afternoon.
The Cougars (14-4, 6-1 WCC) grabbed an early lead when Pulsipher stole the ball and scored on a breakaway layup for her first basket of the afternoon. The Cougars kept the momentum going with two more baskets and held a 6-2 lead with 6:30 remaining in the first quarter before Portland (2-15, 0-7 WCC) fought back to tie the score at seven.
With BYU trailing 12-10, Rydalch cut through the lane and sank a shot off the glass to tie the score. On the following possession, Purcell had a steal and found Rydalch on the fast break to take back the lead for the Cougars. With 2:18 left in the period, Pulsipher nailed a three to put the Cougars ahead 18-13. In the final minute of play, Amanda Wayment layed the ball in from the block and drew the foul, adding a free throw to give BYU a 21-17 lead at the end of the first period.
In the second period, Cassie Broadhead started the scoring for the Cougars with a 3-pointer to extend BYU’s lead to seven. Portland answered with a 3-point basket before Kristine Fuller Nielson sank another shot from 3-point range and Rydalch knocked down a jumper to put BYU ahead 29-20 halfway through the period.
BYU’s offense continued to attack after Nielson knocked down a free throw with 4:14 remaining in the second period, capping off a 14-0 run for the Cougars and extending the BYU lead to 39-20.
After a 9-0 Portland run, Purcell knocked down a free throw and Pulsipher hit a 3-pointer from the corner to extend the Cougar lead to 15. Pulsipher added another 3-pointer and Rydalch hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to give BYU a 48-30 lead at the half.
BYU shot 17 of 34 from the field and 5 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half. The Cougars also controlled the game defensively with six steals and 13 forced turnovers.
BYU opened the third period with a 7-3 run after a layup from Rydalch and a 3-pointer by Purcell. With the shot clock winding down and the Cougars leading 57-39, Nielsen had a layup from the block to extend the lead to 20 before a timeout at the 4:44 mark.
With 1:30 remaining in the third period, Rydalch found Pulsipher with a behind the back pass on the breakaway for BYU’s final basket of the period and the Cougars finished with a 61-48 lead.
The Cougars opened the final period with a 6-4 run after steals by Rydalch and Purcell created fast break opportunities. The Pilots cut the lead down to 11 before Purcell had a steal and found Rydalch for the score to keep the Cougars up 72-59 with 4:08 remaining in the game. In the final minute of play, Rydalch added a breakaway layup to help BYU to a 78-66 victory.
The Cougars will face Loyola Marymount at home on Thursday, Jan. 21. Tip-off will be at 6 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcast on BYUtv and BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143. Links to live stats and streaming can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
BYU went 17 for 34 from the field in the first half to shoot 50.0 percent through 20 minutes of action. Portland shot 37.9 percent, going 11 for 29 from the field. The Cougars dished out 12 assists to the Pilots eight in the first half, and BYU brought down 25 rebounds to Portland’s 17.
BYU led Portland in points off of turnovers, 20 to 4, taking the 48-30 lead into halftime. The Cougars’ 48 first half points are the second most scored in a half this season.
For the eighth time on the year, three Cougars finished the game in double figures: Rydalch (23), Pulsipher (17) and Purcell (14). BYU finished the contest shooting 46.7 percent from the field while Portland shot 43.3 percent. The Cougars had 21 assists while the Pilots dished out 18. BYU outrebounded Portland 43 to 31 improving its record to 10 games outrebounding its opponents. They've won nine out of the 10.
At the end of the game, the Cougars had 31 points off of turnovers to the Pilots 17, and BYU had 16 second chance points while Portland had six.
Kalani Purcell had five points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in the first half. Purcell finished the game with a double-double, her eighth of the season and second straight. She scored 14 points and grabbed a game-best 11 rebounds. She also had game highs in assists with eight and a career- and game-high six steals.
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher scored the first four of the Cougars six points. She went 3 for 3 in the first period, going 1 for 1 from behind the arc scoring a total of seven points. Pulsipher hit two more 3-point field goals in the second period to score a game-high 13 points going into the half. Pulsipher finished the game with 17 points, going 7 for 15 from the field. She also recorded two rebounds and two steals.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch went into halftime with 12 points. She added five rebounds and three assists as teams went into the break. Rydalch ended the contest with a game-high 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. The 20-plus points are the 13th time she's had over 20 points in a game. She's been the scoring leader in 15 of BYU's 18 games.
Jasmine Moody brought down nine rebounds in the contest, a new career-high. She also had five points and one assist.
Kristine Fuller Nielson added eight points in the outing. Nielson also had two rebounds, one assist and one steal.
With three assists, Kylie Maeda is 13th all-time in assists and needs 28 to tie for 12th place with Cindy Battistone.
Sophomore guard Nani Falatea had a career-high 27 points and six 3-pointers but the BYU women’s basketball team…