Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher had a career-high 27 points to lead the Cougars to a 78-62 victory over UVU in BYU's season opener Friday at the Marriott Center
“I thought the team played really well tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I liked Makenzi shooting the ball like she can and I thought that Kylie played a really good defensive game tonight.”
Pulsipher shot 6-of-10 from 3-point range, 8-of-14 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Lex Eaton Rydalch also had a strong offensive performance with 19 points and four assists while shooting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. As a team, the Cougars (1-0) had 23 assists on 26 made baskets.
At the start of the game the Wolverines (0-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks in part to back-to-back turnovers on the first two opening Cougar offensive possessions.
Pulsipher opened the scoring for BYU with a 3-pointer with 7:30 left in the first quarter, her first of six 3-pointers in the game.
Less than a minute later Rydalch hit two free throws to give the Cougars a 5-4 lead, and Micalee Orton hit a baseline jumper on the next possession to extend the lead to three, 7-4.
After relatively slow starts, both offenses came alive after a timeout when Rydalch hit a 3-pointer with 4:05 left in the first quarter. UVU’s Quynee Huggins answered with a 3-pointer to tie the score at 10-10 before Pulsipher hit another 3-pointer to make the score 13-10 in favor of BYU.
UVU finished the first quarter with a 6-5 run to take a 16-15 lead. BYU shot 3-of-6 from 3-point range despite five turnovers in the opening 10 minutes. Both teams shot 40 percent from the field.
In the second quarter, Rydalch scored eight points to help the Cougar offense retake the lead. The Cougars went on a 13-2 run in the opening 5:15. The run began when Kylie Maeda hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. On the next possession, Cassie Broadhead hit a pair of free throws for her first two points of the game. Rydalch scored on the next three-straight possessions to give the Cougars a 28-18 lead.
On the defensive end, Pulsipher drew a charge with 5:20 remaining as part of a Cougar defensive effort that forced seven Wolverine turnovers in the second quarter alone. Pulsipher scored six points in the last five minutes to give BYU a 36-25 halftime lead.
BYU finished the half shooting a perfect 14-for-14 from the free-throw line. Rydalch led BYU with 13 points while Pulsipher had 12. Maeda led the team with three assists. Amanda Wayment helped the Cougars down low with five rebounds in the first half and finished with a career-high seven boards.
Mariah Seals led UVU in the first half scoring with nine points and three assists.
In the second half, Pulsipher picked up right where she left off hitting another 3-pointer on the first BYU possession of the second half. Micaelee Orton scored back-to-back layups on the following two possessions and Pulsipher nailed another 3-pointer to cap off a 10-2 run during a three-minute stretch that extended the lead to 17, 46-29.
With 2:26 left in the third quarter Pulsipher sank her fourth 3-pointer of the quarter with a shot from the top of the arc, breaking her previous career record of 25 points. The basket made the score 59-36 in favor of BYU.
Broadhead added a free throw before taking a charge on the next UVU possession, helping the Cougars hold the Wolverines to only 17 points in the third quarter.
The Cougars finished the quarter with a 20 point lead, 62-42, outscoring UVU, 26-15. BYU shot .800 from 3-point range in the third quarter while still staying a near perfect 16-of-18 from the free-throw line.
In the fourth quarter, Jasmine Moody opened the scoring when she caught a pass from Broadhead in the low post and banked it off the glass for her first bucket of the afternoon. BYU went on an 8-6 run with baskets from Kalani Purcell, Moody and Kristine Fuller Nielson before Rydalch added her second 3-pointer of the game from the right of the circle with 5:49 left in the game to make it 73-51 for the Cougars.
With 3:53 remaining in the game, Pulsipher made her final point when she stole the ball in the backcourt and was fouled on the shot attempt. Pulsipher knocked down the first free throw to finish the afternoon with 27 points.
For the game, BYU shot 85 percent from the free-throw line and was 9-of-20 from 3-point range, making five 3-pointers off eight attempts in the second half.
The Cougars play their next game on Thursday, Nov. 19, against Oklahoma at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Oklahoma. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast live on BYU Radio, on Sirius XM 143 and on the Internet at BYUradio. Live stats will be available on the BYU women's basketball schedule page.