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BYU women's basketball: Defense dominates in BYU's 60-40 win at Utah State

In its third-straight game against an in-state opponent, BYU women’s basketball handed Utah State its third loss of the season, beating the Aggies, 60-40, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday afternoon.

"This was a good win for us this afternoon even though we missed some shots in the first half," BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. "Cassie (Broadhead) continues to play solid for us. Makenzi (Pulsipher) had a better game and so did Kristine (Nielson), especially in the second half. Our zone hurt them because we were active and effective and didn’t let them get any good looks at the basket. Our bench also gave us a big lift."

With the 20-point victory, the Cougars (6-4, 0-0 West Coast Conference) gave the Aggies (7-3, 0-0 Mountain West) their worst loss of the season. BYU has now won 28 straight against Utah State, with a 35-3 record overall. Holding the Aggies to 40 points proved to be the Cougars' best defensive outing of the season. Forty points was the least amount of points that BYU has given up all year, as well as the least Utah State has scored this season.

Three Cougars finished the game in double figures. Junior guard Cassie Broadhead led all scorers with 20 points, while Makenzi Pulsipher added 14 points and Kristine Nielson chipped in 12. Broadhead went 6-of-7 from the charity stripe and shot 55 percent from the field

Both the Aggies and the Cougars struggled to put points on the board early—together the two teams started 0-for-10 from the field.

BYU began the first period on a 5-0 run. At the 7:23 mark, Broadhead scored the first two points of the game, sinking a pair of free throws to give BYU the 2-0 lead. Pulsipher then scored the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game, followed by a fast break layup to put BYU up 10-4.

Out of a media timeout, Broadhead hit a deep trey to give BYU the 13-4 lead, which was immediately followed by an Aggie timeout with four minutes to go in the first period of play. Utah State closed the gap to three, 15-12, as the Aggies went on an 8-2 run to finish out the first quarter.

In a low-scoring second period, BYU outscored Utah State, 12 to 10. With 4:21 to go in the first half, Jasmine Moody gave the Cougars the 19-16 advantage. Broadhead then extended the Cougars’ lead to six, 22-16, as she got fouled on the scored basket and converted the three-point play. Utah State again cut into the BYU lead, making the score 22-20 on a Deja Mason layup.

Fueled by five-straight points from Broadhead, the Cougars took the 27-22 lead into halftime. Broadhead led all scorers with 15 points at the break, going 2-of-2 from behind the arc.

The Aggies opened up the second half on a 5-2 run to make the score 29-27. BYU then went on a 6-0 run of its own to regain the eight-point lead, 35-27. Pulsipher extended the Cougars’ lead to 10, 37-27, as she finished in the lane with 5:26 to go in the third. The senior guard’s layup gave her 12 points for the game.

Converting her first 3-point field goal of the game, Nielson helped the Cougars increase their lead to 15, 42-27. The third period proved to go in BYU’s favor as the Cougars outscored the Aggies, 17 to 9.

At the 8:31 mark of the fourth period, MaCayla Hanks scored her second basket of the game to put the Cougars up 13, 46-33. Hanks' six points were a career high. Kalani Purcell scored her first points of the game with 6:28 to go in the fourth period to give BYU the 50-33 lead. The Cougars finished out the last period outscoring the Aggies, 10 to 7.

BYU returns home on Thursday, hosting No. 11 Washington in the Marriott Center at 2 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv with radio options on BYU Radio - Sirius XM 143.