Kalani Purcell scored a career-high 16 points as she helped BYU women’s basketball to a 63–51 win over Penn State on Saturday afternoon in the consolation game of the Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic.
"I thought it was a great team effort," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "I think this win gives us a lot of confidence moving forward. Kalani had one of her best overall games, and I thought Amanda (Wayment) and Jasmine (Moody) played well defending their bigs."
Along with her career-high 16 points, Purcell brought down 15 rebounds to record her second double-double of the season. Lexi Eaton Rydalch finished the contest with a game-high 24 points and added four rebounds, three assists and one steal.
BYU outrebounded Penn State, 46 to 32 in the contest, bringing down 19 offensive rebounds. The Cougars also led the Nittany Lions in the assist category, 13 to 10.
Freshman Jasmine Moody recorded her first career start against the Nittany Lions, starting in place of Micaelee Orton, who missed her second-straight game due to injury. Moody brought down four rebounds and scored two points in her first collegiate start.
Rydalch continued her impressive shooting from behind the arc, starting the game with a 3-pointer to give the Cougars the early 3-2 lead. Assisted by Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher, Rydalch hit another 3-pointer at the 6:02 mark to put BYU up 9-4. With 2:28 to go in the period, junior Purcell converted her second three-point play of the game, putting BYU up 16-9.
The Cougars played aggressive defense in the first period, holding Penn State to just 11 total points. BYU went on a 9-2 run to finish the first 10 minutes of play, going into the second period up 22-11. Shooting 5-for-7, Rydalch scored 12 of the Cougars' 22 first period points, while Purcell added eight points and four rebounds.
BYU opened the quarter with a Rydalch jumper to put the Cougars in front, 24-11. The Nittany Lions pulled within eight, 28-20, on a layup by Peyton Whitted. On the next play, Kylie Maeda pushed the ball up the court into the hands of Rydalch to convert a deep 3-pointer before the Penn State defense could get set to extend the score to 31-20.
Pulsipher finished off the half making a pair of free throws for her first points of the game. BYU went into the half up 35-24, despite eight first half turnovers. Rydalch and Purcell made 11 of BYU’s 12 first half field goals, scoring 29 of the first 35 points for the Coguars. Rydalch finished the first 20 minutes of action with 19 points. Purcell chipped in 10 in addition to five rebounds.
BYU made three 3-pointers to the Nittany Lions one through the first half of play and had six fast break points to Penn State’s zero. The Cougars also went into the half leading for almost 19 minutes of the first 20 minutes.
Penn State started the second half on a 4-0 run, cutting the Cougar lead to seven, 35-28. Purcell put BYU back up by 10, 38-28, after she converted another three-point play. Pulsipher then extended the Cougar lead to a 13-point advantage, 41-28, as she hit her first field goal of the contest.
BYU kept its lead throughout the remainder of the third period, going into the fourth period ahead 47-38. Moody picked up her fifth foul at the 2:19 mark to foul out of the game. Fourteen fouls were called in the third period alone.
Rydalch cooled off in the second half, scoring her first points of the second half at the 7:38 mark of the fourth period. Rydalch twisted her ankle on the play and came out. She did return to the game several minutes later.
With 4:06 to go in the game, Amanda Wayment hit her first field goal of the game to put the Cougars up 53-43. BYU then missed a series of shots, while Penn State converted on two baskets to put the Nittany Lions within six, 53-47, with 1:34 to go. Penn State put the Cougars on the free-throw line through the rest of the game, and BYU hit 10-for-14 to come away with the 63–51 win. BYU finished the game 15-for-22 from the charity stripe.