LOGAN, Utah — In its third-straight game against an in-state opponent, BYU women’s basketball handed Utah State its third loss of the season, beating the Aggies 60-40 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday afternoon.
"This was a good win for us this afternoon even though we missed some shots in the first half," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Cassie (Broadhead) continues to play solid for us. Makenzi (Pulsipher) had a better game and so did Kristine (Nielson), especially in the second half. Our zone hurt them because we were active and effective and didn’t let them get any good looks at the basket. Our bench also gave us a big lift."
With the 20-point victory, the Cougars (6-4, 0-0 West Coast Conference) gave the Aggies (7-3, 0-0 Mountain West) their worst loss of the season. BYU has now won 28 straight against Utah State, with a 35-3 record overall. Holding the Aggies to 40 points proved to be the Cougars' best defensive outing of the season. Forty points was the least amount of points that BYU had given up all year, as well as the least Utah State has scored this season.
Three Cougars finished the game in double figures. Junior guard Cassie Broadhead led all scorers with 20 points, while Makenzi Pulsipher added 14 points and Kristine Nielson chipped in 12. Broadhead went 6 of 7 from the charity stripe and shot 55 percent from the field
Both the Aggies and the Cougars struggled to put points on the board early—together the two teams started 0 for 10 from the field.
BYU began the first period on a 5-0 run. At the 7:23 mark, Broadhead scored the first two points of the game, sinking a pair of free throws to give BYU the 2-0 lead. Pulsipher then scored the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game, followed by a fast break layup to put BYU up 10-4.
Out of a media timeout, Broadhead hit a deep trey to give BYU the 13-4 lead, which was immediately followed by an Aggie timeout with four minutes to go in the first period of play. Utah State closed the gap to three, 15-12, as the Aggies went on an 8-2 run to finish out the first quarter.
In a low-scoring second period, BYU outscored Utah State 12 to 10. With 4:21 to go in the first half, Jasmine Moody gave the Cougars the 19-16 advantage. Broadhead then extended the Cougars’ lead to six, 22-16, as she got fouled on the scored basket and converted the three-point play. Utah State again cut into the BYU lead, making the score 22-20 on a Deja Mason layup.
Fueled by five-straight points from Broadhead, the Cougars took the 27-22 lead into halftime. Broadhead led all scorers with 15 points at the break, going 2 of 2 from behind the arc.
The Aggies opened up the second half on a 5-2 run to make the score 29-27. BYU then went on a 6-0 run of its own to regain the eight-point lead, 35-27. Pulsipher extended the Cougars’ lead to ten, 37-27, as she finished in the lane with 5:26 to go in the third. The senior guard’s layup gave her 12 points for the game.
Converting her first 3-point field goal of the game, Nielson helped the Cougars increase their lead to 15, 42-27. The third period proved to go in BYU’s favor as the Cougars outscored the Aggies 17 to 9.
At the 8:31 mark of the fourth period, MaCayla Hanks scored her second basket of the game to put the Cougars up 13, 46-33. Hanks' six points were a new career high. Kalani Purcell scored her first points of the game with 6:28 to go in the fourth period to give BYU the 50-33 lead. The Cougars finished out the last period outscoring the Aggies 10 to 7.
BYU returns home on Thursday, hosting No. 11 Washington in the Marriott Center at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv with radio options on BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143.
With the win, BYU head coach Jeff Judkins keeps his record perfect against Utah State in his 16 seasons. The Cougars have won 28-straight games against the in-state foe since a loss back in 1978.
BYU is 3-1 this season against in-state teams with wins over Utah Valley, Weber State and Utah State. The lone loss came on the road at Utah last Saturday.
The Cougar defense held the home team to 22 first-half points, tied for the lowest halftime score for an opponent this year with Tulsa. Utah State finished with 40 total points, the lowest of any opponent this season. It was also the lowest that the Aggies have scored all season. The Cougars last held a team to 40 back on Dec. 2, 2015, in an 85-40 win over BYU-Hawai'i.
The Cougars never gave up the lead in the entire game. The largest lead in the first half for BYU came in the first quarter, 13-4 with 4:09 on the clock. In the third quarter, the Cougars went on a 13-0 run to make it 42-27 for a 15-point lead. The final 60-40 win is the biggest margin of victory (20 points) for BYU on the year.
Utah State had eight blocks in the first half, four in each quarter, to BYU’s zero. At the end of the game, the Cougars were out-blocked 14 to 3. The Aggies also controlled the boards at halftime with 24 rebounds, four more than the Cougars. The margin at the end of the game was closer, however, with Utah State grabbing just one more rebound than BYU, 43-42.
Both BYU and Utah State struggled offensively in the game. Neither team was able to score until the 7:23 mark in the first quarter when Cassie Broadhead hit a pair of free throws. The Cougars had two field goals in the second quarter, but still had the 27-22 advantage heading into the half. BYU shot 33 percent, the lowest shooting performance of the season. Utah State shot 29 percent in the loss, one of three opponents this season that shot under 30 percent.
Cassie Broadhead had 15 of BYU’s 27 first-half points in the game, shooting 100 percent from beyond the arc (2 for 2) and the charity stripe (5 of 5). Her 15 points are the most she has scored in the first half all season. She finished with 20 points to lead the team along with five rebounds and three assists. The junior point guard has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, reaching 20 or more three times.
Makenzi Pulsipher notched seven points in the first half and 14 in the game. She led the team in steals with four while grabbing four rebounds. This is her eighth game in double figures this season.
MaCayla Hanks played a big role off of the bench, notching career highs in points (six), rebounds (seven), steals (two), blocks (one) and minutes played (12).
Kristine Nielson added 12 points in the win for her fifth game scoring over 10 points.
Kalani Purcell led the team in rebounds with eight despite being in foul trouble for the majority of the game. She also dished out the most assists with five to go with her six points.