WAILUKU, Hawaii – In a hard fought battle at the War Memorial Sports Complex, BYU women’s basketball topped UNLV 63-54 in the Maui Wahine Classic Friday night.
"This was a great come-back for us and a big win," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Our zone was a big factor in the victory. Shalae had one of her best games of the year. Her size and presence made a big difference in the game. Kalani had another great game for us."
Kalani Purcell ended the game with a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals. She finished the contest shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Kristine Nielson shot 6-of-13 from the field, scoring 14 points in the game. She also added four rebounds and one assists, and shot 2-of-7 from the arc. Makenzi Pulsipher also added 13 points, seven rebounds and one steal.
Cassie Broadhead was the fourth Cougar in double digits as she put 11 points on the board along with seven rebounds, five assists and one steal. Shalae Salmon also chipped in eight points and five rebounds during the game.
The Cougars finished shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 60.9 percent from the charity stripe. BYU had 15 assists to UNLV’s 7 assists.
UNLV took an early lead in the first period on a 5-1 run. At the 5:12 mark a jumper from Nielson and three-pointer from Pulsipher put the Cougars within one of the Rebels, 8-7. BYU struggled as UNLV pulled further ahead on a 10-2 run. Pulsipher fired a shot for two, but UNLV’s Tiara Tucker sunk a three-pointer to bring their lead up by 10 points. The Cougars finished the first period, 21-13, as Broadhead sunk both of her free-throws in the last few seconds.
After the Rebels opened the scoring in the second period, the Cougars took control of the ball to go on an 8-0 run to bring them within two of the Rebels. Salmon scored six of those eight points as she went 3-for-3 from the field during the run. UNLV’s Paris Strawther hit two before Purcell and Nielson each put it in two, tying the Rebels, 25-25. But a free throw from UNLV put the Rebels back up 26-25 as the first half ended.
Pulsipher led the Cougars going into the half with seven points and four rebounds.
Both teams finished the half shooting 38.5 percent from the field. BYU led UNLV in points off turnovers and points from the bench with nine and six, respectively.
The Cougars rallied back in the second half as Pulsipher opened the second half with a jumper giving the team its first lead of the night, 27-26. The teams traded points in layups until a UNLV three-pointer helped the Rebels take control of the lead again, 31-29. At the 2:48 mark, a Salmon jumper helped the Cougars on another 8-0 run. BYU held UNLV scoreless in the last few minutes of the third period to maintain their 39-35 lead.
In the last period, the Rebels fought back to get within one point of the Cougars after Nielson converted her second three-pointer of the night and Purcell put up five from a pair of jumpers and a free throw. UNLV tied it up at 47-47, but Broadhead was fouled as she sank her shot and made it a three-point play with a free throw. Purcell extended the lead to 52-47 with her layup. The teams traded points back and forth until the there were just 38 second remaining in the game when the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead and secure their victory, 63-54.
BYU continues playing in the Maui Wahinie Classic on Saturday, Dec. 3, as they take on Oregon State. Teams will tip-off at about 6:30 p.m. HST (9:30 p.m. MST). Links to live stats can be found on the BYU women’s schedule page.
BYU defeated UNLV 63-54 in Maui on Friday, improving its record to 4-2 on the year. The win snapped the Rebels five-game win streak and they fell to 5-1 on the season.
BYU had pulled down 18 rebounds in the first half while UNLV had grabbed 21. For the game, the Rebels had the edge pulling down 41 to the Cougars 39.
As a team, the Cougars had dished out seven assists at halftime. At the end of the game, BYU had a total of 15 assists while the Rebels finished with seven assists.
UNLV had the advantage in the steals category in the first half with six to the Cougars one. For the game, the Rebels had 12 and BYU had four.
For the first time this year, the Cougars had four players scoring in double figures. Purcell (16), Nielson (14), Pulsipher (13) and Broadhead (11).
Shalae Salmon came off the bench to score six points in the first half of action. She finished with season bests in points and in rebounds with eight and five, respectively. She shot 4-of-6 from the field.
Makenzi Pulsipher led the BYU team in the first half with seven points and four rebounds. She recorded her sixth-straight game with double digit scoring with 13 total points. Pulsipher also pulled down seven rebounds and had one steal.
Through the first 20 minutes of play, Cassie Broadhead had dished out five assists. She ended the game with five assists while tallying 11 points for her fifth game with double figures in points.
Kalani Purcell picked up her third game scoring in double digits with a game-high 16. She pulled down seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists.
Kristine Nielson finished the game with 14 points for her third straight contest tallying double figures in points. She also had four rebounds and one assist.