Playing the last game of its two-game road trip, BYU women’s basketball lost to Colorado State, 61-55, despite a season-high 29 points from senior guard Lexi Eaton Rydalch.
“We had a lot of turnovers again tonight, but we fought back and gave ourselves a chance to win the game,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We need to be able to make the shots when they count and we need to do a better job starting off the game.”
Along with her 29 points, Rydalch grabbed 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. She also added three steals and two assists. Rydalch finished the game shooting 5-for-7 from the 3-point line and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
Kalani Purcell was one point away from recording her own first double-double as a Cougar. Purcell scored nine points to go along with 10 rebounds.
BYU started off the game slow as Colorado State took an early 13-2 lead in the first period, due to a series of BYU turnovers. The Cougars rallied back to make the score 13-7 behind a 3-pointer from Rydalch and a jumper from Purcell. The Rams then extended their lead to 17-10 to end the quarter. Rydalch finished the period with five rebounds and six points, shooting 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
Rydalch came out hot in the second period scoring five-straight BYU points, followed by a Micaelee Orton free throw to put the Cougars within six, 22-16. BYU then went four minutes without scoring a basket as the Rams pulled away 28-16. At the 2:03 minute mark, Orton stopped the Cougars’ scoring drought with a reverse layup. Kristine Fuller Nielson and Kylie Maeda hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the deficit within nine, 33-24, at the break.
The Cougars ended the half shooting 8-for-27 from the field, with five of those field goals coming from behind the arc. Rydalch went into halftime with a game-high 11 points, while Purcell grabbed nine boards through the first 20 minutes of play.
BYU scored its first second half points at the 7:57 mark off Rydalch’s fourth 3-pointer of the contest to cut the lead to eight, 35-27. The Cougars kept battling back as they went on a 4-0 run fueled by three-straight steals, forcing a Rams timeout with the score 39-31. The Cougars pulled within five, cutting the score to 41-36, but Colorado State guard Jamie Patrick hit a three at the buzzer to extend the lead to 44-36 going into the fourth period. The Cougars outscored the Rams, 12-11, in the third period.
Rydalch and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher recorded two steals apiece in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Pulsipher finished the contest with a game-high five steals. Midway through the fourth period, BYU went on an 8-0 run backed by a series of free throws from Rydlach to bring the Cougars within four, 51-47. CSU guard Ellen Nystrom then fouled Pulsipher giving her a chance to bring the Cougars within two. Pulsipher missed the first free throw and made the second pulling BYU within three, 51-48. The teams traded baskets throughout the final two minutes of the game with the Rams finishing on top.
BYU recorded a season-high 13 steals, scoring 16 points off Colorado State turnovers. The Cougars and Rams were plagued by turnovers, with BYU committing 20 turnovers and CSU giving the ball away 22 times. BYU and Colorado State pulled down 33 rebounds apiece.
The BYU women’s basketball team returns home to the Marriott Center to host in-state foe Utah State next Tuesday, Nov. 24. The game begins at 11 a.m. MST, and will be broadcast on BYUtv. Fans can also follow live stats and listen to the game on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to media outlets can be found on the BYU women’s basketball schedule page.