Despite 16 points from Lexi Eaton Rydalch and a career-high 14 points from Cassie Broadhead, BYU women’s basketball fell to Georgia, 66-58, on Friday in the Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic held on the campus of CSUN.
“We got out to a good start tonight, but we couldn’t capitalize on our lead,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “We missed a lot of easy baskets and continued turning the ball over. We pulled down the rebounds, but we couldn’t score on our second chance opportunities. They rebounded and they finished.”
Rydalch finished the contest with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in 27 minutes of play, while Broadhead finished the game with a career-high 14 points, with all her points coming in the second half. She also added six rebounds, four assists and a steal.
In its first meeting against the Georgia Bulldogs, BYU outrebounded the Bulldogs, 45 to 33 through 40 minutes of play, and the Cougar bench outscored the Bulldogs’ bench, 20 to 0. It was back and forth the whole game, with no team leading by more than 12 points. Sophomore Amanda Wayment made her first career start in place of the injured Micaelee Orton. Wayment, who got into foul trouble early, finished the game with two points and three rebounds.
BYU started the game strong on a 5-0 run behind a layup from Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher and a 3-point field goal made by Rydalch. At the 4:38 mark, the Cougars extended their lead to seven, 12-5, on a layup by Kalani Purcell. The Bulldogs closed in on the Cougars’ lead with a 6-0 run of their own to close the first period. BYU finished the first 10 minutes with a 14-13 lead, shooting 40 percent from behind the arc. Pulsipher finished the period with seven points, while Rydalch added five points and four rebounds.
Teams traded baskets to start the second period with Kristine Fuller Nielson converting a 3-pointer to make it a one-point Cougar advantage, 19-18, at the 8:40 mark. BYU shot its first free throws of the game with 5:52 to go in the second period. Purcell went 1-for-2 from the line keeping the Cougars atop, 22-21. On the next possession, Kylie Maeda hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to four, 25-21, for her third-consecutive game with at least one 3-pointer made.
Georgia closed the quarter on yet another 6-0 run to push the halftime score to 29-27 in the Bulldogs’ favor. The Cougars pulled down 24 rebounds in first half to the Bulldogs 18, with Purcell recording six and Rydalch grabbing six of her own. BYU led for 15 minutes of the first half and finished the first 20 minutes with eight assists to Georgia’s four.
Pulsipher and Rydalch led the Cougars with a team-high seven points apiece going into the break. The Cougars shot just two free throws in the first half, while the Bulldogs shot 10.
Opening the third period, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 33-27, which was then cut to three, 33-30, behind a Pulsipher 3-pointer. BYU scored just one field goal through the first five minutes of the third period as Georgia pulled ahead, 37-30. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 45-33 toward the end of the third, which was cut by a 7-0 run Cougar run to end the quarter down 45-40. All seven points of the Cougar run came from Broadhead.
BYU opened the final period with another Broadhead layup to cut the Georgia lead to 45-42. Teams traded baskets, keeping the score close, through the first three minutes of the fourth period before the Bulldogs pulled ahead, 55-46. Midway through the period, Broadhead was fouled on a 3-point attempt and brought the Cougars back within six, 55-49, making all three free throws. Georgia then went on another run going up by double digits, 60-49.
Purcell scored a layup and Broadhead then hit two free throws to cut the score to seven, 62-45 with 1:52 left in the game. The Cougars couldn’t close the gap despite a deep 3-pointer by Rydalch in the final minutes. Turnovers plagued the Cougars against the Bulldogs. BYU finished the game with 20 to Georgia’s nine.
BYU continues action playing in the Radisson Chatsworth Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday. They play either Penn State or CSUN in a 2 p.m. PT tip.