Norma Bertoch | Posted: 4 Mar 2017 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Cougar women to play Saint Mary’s in WCC Semifinals

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LAS VEGAS— After an impressive come from behind 75-66 win over San Diego in the quarterfinals of the 2017 West Coast Conference Championships, No. 2 seed BYU women’s basketball (20-10) advanced to the semifinals of the league tournament.

BYU vs. Saint Mary's Game Notes

The Cougars will play No. 3 seed Saint Mary’s (19-11) on Monday, March 6, at 2 p.m. PST at Orleans Arena. BYU and the Gaels finished tied for second place in the WCC regular season race. Because the Cougars had a tiebreaker over SMC with a win over Gonzaga, BYU entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, and the Gaels are the No. 3 seed.

Three players are scoring in double figures for the Cougars with a team- and league-best 18.4 points a game from junior guard Cassie Broadhead. Senior guard Makenzi Pulsipher is next in scoring, contributing 13.1 points to the Cougars' offensive threat. The third BYU player to put up double digits in points is senior All-American Kalani Purcell. She’s averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and a team-and league-high 10.6 boards per game.

BYU finished league play ranked first in scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists, steals, turnover margin and in assist/turnover ratio. The Cougars finished second in free throw percentage, rebounding defense, blocked shots and defensive rebounds.

Overall, the Cougars are scoring 68.1 points per game, while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, 33.9 percent from behind the arc and 72.5 percent from the charity stripe. BYU pulls down 36.5 rebounds a contest.

• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78), 16th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #20 C. Broadhead, 18.4 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #32 K. Purcell, 10.6 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 K. Purcell, 4.9 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Pulsipher, 2.5 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #32 K. Purcell, 1.3 bpg

Saint Mary’s advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 WCC Women’s Basketball Championships after a 60-57 win over Santa Clara on Thursday night.

The Gaels are 19-11 on the year and return seven letterwinners and four starters from last year’s team that compiled a 24-8, 14-4 record.

Similar to the Cougars, Saint Mary’s has three players scoring in double figures, led by 13.6 points from Stella Beck. Megan McKay is next, contributing 10.8 points a game. Sydney Raggio rounds out the double digit scoring, chipping in 10.2 points per contest. In the rebounds category, McKay tops the leaderboard, grabbing a team-best 7.9 boards a game.

Saint Mary’s is scoring 70.9 points per game while shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 33.6 percent from 3-point range and 72.6 percent from the free-throw line. The Gaels grab 42.0 rebounds a game.

• Head coach: Paul Thomas (Wayne State College, ‘88), 11th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 S. Beck, 13.6 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #25 M. McKay, 7.9 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #21 S. Beck, 3.1 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #21 S. Beck, 1.6 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #10 C. Turner/#12 S. Raggio .83 bpg

The series between these two WCC foes is tied at 7-7. In this year’s race, each team won on its home court. The first meeting was in Provo on Jan. 5, when the Cougars recorded the 70-65 win. In the second matchup in Moraga on Feb. 18, the Gaels picked up the 64-58 victory.

Monday’s game between the two will be the first time the teams have met in the semifinals of the league tournament since BYU joined the league in the 2011-12 season. In 2015, the two played in the quarterfinals, with the Cougars advancing with a one-point, 65-64 win on a last-second basket by Lexi Eaton Rydalch.

A win over the Gaels would send BYU to the WCC championship game to be played on Tuesday, March 7, at 1 p.m. PST at Orleans Arena.