Kaleb Searle | Sports writer | @k_searle87
Photos by Kyle McDonald
In the first matchup of the University Parkway Series, the BYU women’s basketball team defeated Utah Valley University 78-62 Friday afternoon in the Marriott Center in the season opener for both teams.
The Cougars shot 44 percent from the field and 45 percent from three, compared to 39 percent from the field and 20 percent from three for the Wolverines.
Guard Makenzi Pulsipher hit six 3-point shots en route to a game-high 27 points to lead BYU. She also contributed three rebounds and an assist. At one point in the third quarter she hit four 3-point baskets to help BYU increase the lead to 59-36.
“Makenzi has played like that the entire year,” said BYU head coach Jeff Judkins. “Whatever it is, when the light went on in that tournament last year, she is just taking advantage of it and playing with a lot of confidence.”
Also carrying the scoring load for BYU was guard Lexi Rydalch with 19 points. Rydalch decided in the second quarter to be more aggressive, and scored eight of her 13 first half points in the period to help BYU take a 36-24 halftime lead.
UVU led 16-15 after the first quarter. However, the Cougars took the lead early in the second period and never looked back thanks to the shooting of Rydalch and a scoring drought by UVU. BYU never relented the lead after that, outscoring UVU 42-37 in the second half for the 78-62 final.
“I thought Sam was actually pretty good,” UVU head coach Cathy Nixon said. “She had a few too many turnovers for my taste, but she was five for five. Probably should have gotten the ball a little bit more.”
Also in double-digit scoring for UVU were guards Mariah Seals and Taylor Gordon with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Seals also led the Wolverines in assists with three.
I grew up on a farm in Burley, Idaho, but I’ve always had an intense love of sports. I’m studying journalism in an attempt to turn my love into a career. I’m a huge Utah Jazz, Tennessee Titans, and San Jose Sharks fan. If it’s a sport, I’ll watch it.