BYU women’s basketball sweeps Portland 78-66

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Ari Davis
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher dribbles past a Portland player at the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon. Pulsipher scored 17 points against the Pilots. (Ari Davis)

BYU women’s basketball, led by three double digit scorers, beat the Portland Pilots 78-66 Saturday afternoon.

Lexi Eaton Rydalch and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher led the Cougars’ scoring with 23 points and 17 points, respectively. Kalani Purcell finished the game with her eighth double-double of the season, putting up 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She was just two assists shy of a triple-double.

“Kalani had a great week. What she did this week proves what kind of player she is for our team and for this league. She is a tough match-up for anybody,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “She is the most versatile player in the league… defensively she played great and got us going.”

The Cougars started out the game strong led by Pulsipher, who had seven points in the first quarter alone. Her shots from 3-point helped the Cougars increase their lead to as many as 20 in the second quarter. The Cougars’ 14-0 run contributed to their 48-30 lead at halftime.

BYU struggled offensively in third quarter despite the lead.

“We came out with spurts early with some fire in there, then I thought we kind of just cruised through the game,” Judkins said. “I just thought the third quarter we didn’t come out and play with the intensity that we needed to play.”

Judkins was overheard during a timeout encouraging the Cougars to pull their heads out and keep moving the ball. Seconds later Rydalch threw a smooth behind-the-back pass to Pulsipher who threw in a lay up and brought the score to 61-43 with 1:14 left in the third.

For Rydalch and Pulsipher it was one of those right place, right time kind of shots.

“I probably have to give credit to my husband because he is the king of trick passes so we always practice those.” Rydalch said of the play. “I knew they were going to come up and guard me hard and Pulsipher was going to be open so I just thew it and it went.”

Portland shot a better free throw percentage, 83 percent compared to BYU’s 52 percent, but the Cougars dominated with points off tunrovers. The Cougars had 31 points off turn overs and Portland only had 17.

The win is BYU’s sixth win in a row and the Pilots have not won a game in Provo since 1999.

Kylie Maeda had a rough fall in the fourth quarter and left the court limping with a sprained ankle. Judkins said she should be good to go next week after some rest.

The Cougars improved to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in conference. BYU turns their focus to two more conference games as the Cougars host Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine next week.

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