SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Despite four Cougars scoring in double figures for the third time this season, BYU women’s basketball fell to Santa Clara, 64-63, in its first game of West Coast Conference play on Thursday at the Leavey Center.
"We had too many turnovers in this game," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "We didn't make the big plays when we needed to. Cassie (Broadhead) had a good game attacking the basket, and Shalae (Salmon) had a good game as a freshman."
The Cougars (6-6, 0-1) finished the contest shooting a season-best 60 percent from the 3-point line and 46.7 percent from the field. BYU also shot an impressive 94 percent from the foul line. The Cougars outrebounded Santa Clara (5-6, 1-0) 36 to 25.
Cassie Broadhead led all scorers with 21 points, going 5-of-9 from the field and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. The junior also had a game-high six assists. Kalani Purcell added 15 points and a game- and season-high 15 rebounds, recording her fifth double-double of the season.
Knocking down the elbow pull-up, Broadhead gave BYU the four-point 59-55 lead with 6:58 to go in the fourth quarter—the junior’s jumper gave her 19 points for the game to lead all scorers.
Broadhead increased the Cougars’ lead to six, 61-55, after a successful trip to the free-throw line. The Broncos then scored five-straight points to cut the BYU lead to one, making the score 61-60 with 4:50 to play.
Santa Clara took the lead, 64-63, on a pair of free throws from Lori Parkinson with 1:53 to go. With 28 seconds to play, BYU missed the layup to take the lead, keeping the score at 64-63 in Santa Clara’s favor. Salmon then fouled Morgan McGwire on the out of bounds play, sending her to the charity stripe where she missed both free throws.
After a Cougar timeout with six seconds to go in the game, BYU inbounded the ball to Purcell who missed the contested 12-footer to give the Cougars the lead.
BYU began the first quarter on a 6-2 run, backed by three scores from three different players—Pulsipher, Salmon and Kristine Nielson. The Broncos then cut the Cougar lead to two, 10-8, as Emily Wolph sank a pair of free throws.
At the 2:25 mark, Broadhead converted the fast break layup to give BYU a five-point lead, 13-8. On the next possession, Pulsipher pulled up from 15-feet to increase the Cougar lead to seven, 15-8.
BYU took the 17-12 lead into the second quarter of play, shooting 5-of-10 from the field in the first 10 minutes.
Pulsipher hit three-straight treys to give BYU the 26-15 lead in the early minutes of the second quarter. Santa Clara cut the Cougar lead to six, 26-20, on a Kyla Martin layup with 6:43 to go in the half.
With less than four minutes to go, Purcell and Broadhead hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to extend the Cougar lead to 12, 36-24. BYU went 5-of-7 from behind the arc in the first half alone.
The Broncos then went on a 10-0 run to bring Santa Clara within two, 36-34, with under a minute to go in the half. The Cougar women took the 38-34 lead into halftime, with Pulsipher scoring a game-high 13 points.
On a Purcell layup at the 8:27 mark in the third, BYU garnered the 42-38 lead. With 3:19 to go in the period, a Beth Carlson layup gave Santa Clara its first lead of the game, 45-44.
With less than two minutes to go in the third, Purcell knocked down her second 3-pointer of the game to beat the shot clock, giving BYU the 51-48 advantage. The Cougars entered the fourth quarter with the 53-51 lead.
With the loss against Santa Clara, BYU moves to 13-2 all-time against the Broncos.
The Cougar women return to the Marriott Center Saturday to continue conference play against LMU. With a 2 p.m. MST tip-off, the game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to live stats can also be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.
The Cougars had the advantage in the rebound category after the first half of play, pulling down 20 boards to the Broncos nine. BYU finished with 36 total rebounds compared to 25 for SCU.
In the first 20 minutes of the game, the Broncos had dished out nine assists while the visiting Cougars had eight. For the game, BYU finished with 14 total assists while Santa Clara dished out a game-best 17 assists.
SCU got the advantage in the steals category with 12 to BYU’s seven in the game.
The Cougars recorded their best free-throw percentage of the season, shooting 93.8 percent from the line. BYU also shot a season best 60.0 percent from behind the arc.
Cassie Broadhead recorded her 11th double digit outing in points with a game-high 21 points. It’s the fifth time she’s recorded 20-plus points in a game. Broadhead dished out a game-high six assists and was perfect at the free-throw line, going 10-for-10.
Kalani Purcell nearly had a double-double from eight points and 10 rebounds in the first half of action. She would pick up her fifth double-double of the season from 15 points and a game-best 15 rebounds. The boards are season highs for Purcell. She also had two assists, two steals and played all 40 minutes.
Makenzi Pulsipher led all scorers through the first half of action with 13 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from behind 3-point range. She finished the game with 13 points and two assists.
Freshman Shalae Salmon picked up career highs in points with 10, recording her first game in double-digit scoring. She shot 5-of-7 from the field, grabbed three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal in the game.