LAS VEGAS — BYU junior guard Cassie Broadhead has been in situations like the one she found herself in with time running down in the Cougars' West Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal matchup against San Diego.
Case in point was against Santa Clara earlier this season.
And like that day against the Broncos, she delivered in the Cougars’ 75-66 overtime victory over the Toreros on Friday at the Orleans Arena.
Broadhead drilled an open 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 59, and the No. 2 seed Cougars pulled out a 75-66 overtime victory over the seventh-seeded Toreros after once trailing 21-3.
That final BYU possession of regulation had the Cougars' senior leadership all over it, plus the touch of a clutch junior, with BYU trailing 59-56 with 21 seconds to play. Here's how it broke down.
BYU senior forward Kalani Purcell inbounded the ball near the Cougar bench to fellow senior forward Micaelee Orton, who handed the ball off to senior guard Makenzi Pulsipher near the midcourt stripe.
With San Diego's top player, Aubrey Ward-El, defending, Orton headed to the lane with senior Kristine Nielson on the opposite wing. Pulsipher drove upcourt, then handed the ball off to Broadhead above the 3-point line.
Ward-El switched on defense to Broadhead, who took a quick dribble to her left, then turned back and passed to Pulsipher along the sideline. At that moment, San Diego's Sydney Williams, who was covering Purcell, came over to double-team Pulsipher along with the Toreros' Katherine Hamilton.
That move helped create enough separation for Broadhead to get an open look just moments later.
"We knew they would switch at (the) handoff and they were going to try and deny that aggressively," Pulsipher said.
Pulsipher deftly used a left-handed bounce pass to Purcell to get out of a tight situation, and San Diego's Ward-El slid over to cover Purcell.
Purcell, known for her skills of finding an open teammate and sensing no one was on Broadhead, didn't hesitate to pass to Broadhead, who was wide open near the top of the 3-point line.
The women's WCC Player of the Year drilled the 3-pointer in rhythm, and after a BYU defensive stop, the Cougars built a strong lead in overtime to move on in the tournament.
"They covered me, and Kalani was open for a catch and they left Cassie wide open. She drilled it, which was a shot she has taken numerous times this season," Pulsipher explained. "We're fully confident in her ability and just really happy that she took that because it changed the ball game for us, gave us a second chance."
The play was reminiscent of her shot that forced overtime for the Cougars against Santa Clara, back on Jan. 26, in terms of Broadhead's ability to step up in a clutch situation.
That day, BYU had to rally from four down with 12 seconds to play. Kristine Nielson first hit a 3-pointer, and after two Broncos free throws, Broadhead drilled a 3 in transition to send it to an extra session.
After two overtimes, BYU prevailed 72-66.
It's moments like this that the Cougars will need to rely on as they attempt to earn a NCAA tournament bid for the fifth time in six years as they chase the WCC tournament title and an automatic bid.
"Kids just have to step up," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "That's where Cassie Broadhead has gotten so much better. She was ready when her time came."