I thought we did a great job defensively tonight, especially in the first half. It’s good for our team to have some confidence. We got a lot of good minutes from our bench and that’s definitely an added plus. —BYU head coach Jeff Judkins
Behind double-figure performances from Lexi Eaton Rydalch, Kalani Purcell and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher, BYU women’s basketball came out with a 85–40 win over BYU-Hawai’i in the Tom Weston Classic on Wednesday.
“I thought we did a great job defensively tonight, especially in the first half,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “It’s good for our team to have some confidence. We got a lot of good minutes from our bench and that’s definitely an added plus.”
Rydalch ended the game with a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and four assists. She finished the contest shooting 10-for-15 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Rydalch had her best shooting percentage performance of the year, shooting 66.7 percent from the field.
Junior transfer Purcell shot 4-for-6 from the field, scoring 12 points in the game. She also added seven rebounds and two assists and went 3-for-4 from the foul line. Pulsipher also added 11 points, four rebounds, four steals and a game-high six assists.
Shooting 50.0 percent for the game, the Cougars had their best shooting performance of the season, with all BYU players who saw action scoring.
BYU went on an early, aggressive 12-0 run behind eight quick points from Rydalch, forcing the Seasiders to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, BYU-Hawai’i began to play a 2-3 zone to try to put a stop to the BYU run. On the next play, Pulsipher got fouled on a 3-pointer and went to the line making 2-of-3 free throws. Rydalch then hit her second 3-point field goal to put the Cougars up 19-5. BYU continued to extend its lead as Purcell hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, converting her first 3-pointer of the season, putting the Cougars atop 26-8.
The Cougars went 3-for-7 from the 3-point line through the first 10 minutes of action, with Rydalch scoring 11 points, and shooting 2-for-3 from behind the arc. Purcell added nine points.
Freshman Jasmine Moody scored the Cougars’ first points of the second period at the 8:11 mark on a free throw. Moody started the game in place of the injured Micaelee Orton for her second career collegiate start. With 6:22 to go in the first half, BYU stretched its lead to 27, 35-8, on a fast break layup by Rydalch to give her 15 points for the game. The Seasiders scored their first points of the second period at the 3:31 mark on a floater by Celeste Claw.
Continuing to push the ball up the floor, Pulsipher found Amanda Wayment in the key for her third assist and Wayment’s first bucket of the game. The basket put the Cougars up 47-10 going into halftime.
Holding the Seasiders to just 10 points in the first half was the Cougars best defensive half outing of the season. Going into the break, Rydalch led all scorers with 17 first half points, while Purcell added 12. BYU shot 51.4 percent from the field to the Seasiders 15.4 percent and dished out 11 assists to BYU-Hawai’i’s three.
Teams traded buckets through the first three minutes of the third period. The Cougars went up 51-12 on a pair of free throws from Moody, while the Seasiders fired back on the next two plays on a leaning jumper by Valerie Nawahine and two consecutive free throws from Kjirsten Nelson to make the score 51-16.
The Cougars continued to push the ball up the court with Wayment finding Pulsipher on the baseline for a 15-foot jumper. Rydalch then extended the lead to 41, 59-18, converting her third 3-point basket of the game. BYU scored 21 points to BYU-Hawai’i’s 17 in the third.
MaCayla Hanks opened the fourth period with two early buckets giving her six points for the game, putting BYU up 72-29. Hanks finished the contest with a career-high nine points and five rebounds. Kristine Fuller Nielson matched her career high of seven points at the 5:30 mark on a jumper from the middle of the key. The Cougars continued to move the ball side to side, waiting patiently for open shots as Cassie Broadhead found Hanks on the block to give the Cougars the 85-40 advantage. Broadhead finished the game with a game-high five steals.
BYU scored 24 points off turnovers to the Seasiders two and scored a season-high 40 points in the paint. The BYU bench outscored the BYU-Hawai’i bench, 23 to 11.
The Cougars next game is Thursday, Dec. 3, as they take on the University of Hawai’i in their second game of the Tom Weston Classic. Teams tip off at 6 p.m. HT. Links to live stats and streaming can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.