BYU women's basketball: Lexi Rydalch will be remembered, despite disappointing end to her career
Eric Gay, AP
PROVO — It wasn't the way BYU star senior Lexi Rydalch wanted to end her career, but rest assured, her career for the Cougars will be remembered for a very long time.
Rydalch ends her career for the Cougars as the program's second all-time leading scorer while earning top all-time scoring marks for the West Coast Conference. It's a legacy built off of a lot of natural talent, but at least as much hard work and determination to take that talent to a very high level.
"She's been a really fun player to coach. You never have to motivate her," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. "She's a gamer and she wants to play well. Basketball is important to her."
For Rydalch, the goal will now be to pursue a professional career, something she's well-suited for, according to Judkins.
"In women's ball it's a little different. A lot of (players), they think this is the highest they are ever going to get, but Lexi was a pusher and a great leader," Judkins said. "She really did a good job with our team this year."
Rydalch will remember her time at BYU fondly, despite the disappointing end that came with Saturday's 78-69 loss to Missouri.
"It's been incredible. I've loved my time at BYU," Rydalch said. "Just the experiences I've been able to have, the growth I've been able to have in all areas of life — I owe a lot to BYU. Hopefully I've left some sort of mark and set some kind of example. I'm just very grateful for my time here."
Purcell pushes through foul trouble: BYU starting forward Kalani Purcell picked up two fouls in the first quarter, and two more during the third, before fouling out with just seconds remaining during Saturday's game. The remarkable thing was Judkins sticking with her throughout — only resting her for a few seconds at the close of the third quarter.
"I had to have her. We were down seven, she had a fourth foul," Judkins explained. "I just said, hey, we have no chance to win this game without her in there. And she's done it the whole year."
Purcell ultimately finished scoring 19 points on 7-10 shooting from the field while pulling down nine rebounds.
Judkins believes Purcell's ability to stay out of foul trouble will be enhanced as she grows more accustomed to the college game.
"She's not used to some of this stuff right now," Judkins said. "She gets a lot of cheap fouls early, and hopefully that's something we can really work on next year, because she's had to play with a lot of fouls in a lot of games. And I think next year she can do better with that and where she can be more aggressive and not get cheap fouls."
Missouri takes advantage from out-of-bounds: A remarkable number of Missouri's points in the paint on Saturday came from set plays run from out-of-bounds underneath the basket. Tiger players ran consistently open in way too many instances, according to Purcell.
"They were just able to understand their matchups and they took advantage of them and they were able to post up, press up their big guards against us," Purcell said. "Then it was like a little bit breakdown on us, as well, not getting on the help side fast enough."
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