PROVO, Utah – Senior Kalani Purcell’s double-double led BYU women’s basketball in a 77-59 exhibition win over Westminster on Wednesday at the Marriott Center.
"I was really pleased with our bigs this evening," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "This year we have a lot of size and I think it is going to help. It was good to see a lot of the different players get some time on the court as well. Overall, I was happy with the way that we performed and I thought we played really well this evening."
Purcell recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals while seniors Cassie Broadhead and Kristine Nielson each tallied 11 points. Freshman Brenna Chase came off the bench to score eight points, four rebounds and four steals as the Cougars shot 56 percent from the field while holding the Griffins to 35 percent during the victory.
Broadhead opened up the game for the Cougars with a basket from under the post. A pair of Makenzi Pulsipher free throws increased the lead 6-2 before Westminster answered with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one.
Broadhead hit a shot from the arc followed by a pair of Purcell free throws to extend BYU’s advantage 10-5. Pulsipher landed a 3-pointer with 5:40 left on the clock to push the Cougars ahead by eight. The Griffins took the next two baskets before Pulsipher banked another three.
Sophomore MaCayla Hanks entered the game and hit her first shot of the night to increase BYU’s lead to 17-9 with less than four minutes to go. A layup by Purcell capped off a 10-0 run as the Cougars fueled their 23-9 lead. Despite BYU’s defensive pressure, the Griffins were able to put in a 3-pointer before the first quarter ended in BYU’s favor 23-12.
Nielson scored the Cougars’ first basket of the second quarter as BYU continued to build offensive momentum. Sophomore Haley Rydalch added to the drive with a jump shot to help BYU lead 29-17 with seven minutes to go.
Jasmine Moody and Chase scored on the next two possessions to increase the Cougars’ lead 33-19. The Griffins tried to fight back, but BYU continued to top them as a Broadhead layup pushed the Cougars ahead 39-24 with 2:51 to go in the first half. Pulsipher scored a layup to extended BYU’s lead, 41-24, and close the first half.
Westminster kicked off the second half on a Sydnee Taylor jumper before Moody’s shot inside the paint generated BYU’s first 20-point lead of the game, 46-26. The Griffins took the next four points before Purcell answered with back-to-back layups to bring the score to 50-30 with seven minutes left in the third quarter.
BYU continued to maintain its margin as Chase scored a layup to put the Cougars up 55-36 with 2:56 to go. She scored again moments later to add to BYU’s 59-38 lead before the Griffins launched a 3-pointer in the last second of the third period.
The Cougars were scoreless during the first two minutes of the fourth quarter until Amanda Wayment jumped in with a shot to again spark BYU’s offensive drive. Freshmen Shalae Salmon and Liz Eaton made their first two baskets of the night to extend the Cougars’ advantage, 67-45. Westminster tried to stop the Cougars with the next two shots, but BYU's offense was too much to handle.
With 3:12 left in the game, Salmon threw in a layup to extend the Cougars’ lead 72-53. The Griffins’ Denise Gonzales fought back by logging Westminster’s final four points, but it wasn’t enough as the Cougars won 77-59.
In its final exhibiton game, BYU takes on Colorado Mesa University on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center. Admission is free, and the game will be broadcast on BYUtv.
BYU begins its season on Friday, Nov. 11, at Utah Valley University before its home opener against No. 18 Oklahoma on Saturday, Nov. 19.
BYU led Westminster 41-24 at the end of the first half after going 17 for 29 from the field to shoot 58.6 percent through 20 minutes of action. Westminster shot 31.0 percent, going 9 for 29 from the field. The Cougars had seven assists, five steals and six turnovers. BYU tallied 20 rebounds to Westminster’s 12 rebounds.
The Cougars finished the game shooting 55.9 percent from the field while the Griffins shot 35.5 percent. BYU had 20 assists while Westminster dished out 14. The Cougars outrebounded the Griffins 44 to 28 and led them in blocks 5-0.
Every player on the BYU women’s basketball team saw time on the court in the Cougars’ first exhibition game against Westminster.
Kalani Purcell had six points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first half. Purcell finished the game with a double-double 11 points and 10 rebounds. She also had a game-high four steals.
Cassie Broadhead made her first career start as she added eight points, two rebounds and two assists in the first half. She finished the game with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Makenzi Pulsipher went into halftime leading the Cougars with nine points. She closed out the game with three assists, three turnovers and one steal.
Kristine Nielson brought in 11 points in her first career start. She added four assists and forced four turnovers in the contest.
Brenna Chase scored eight points and had four rebounds in her first collegiate game.