The BYU women’s basketball team stepped onto the court for the blue and white scrimmage Thursday nice playing the first half against themselves and the second half against its male practice team for added pressure.
The scrimmage began with the Cougars starting line-up in blue and the second string in white jersey’s, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Head coach Jeff Judkins made the call to switch the teams up into what appeared to be random order after the first 10 minute quarter. The blue team won both the first and second periods of play.
Things got interesting the second half when Judkins brought out his practice team to give his team a little bit more of a competition. The all male practice team came out rough and tough to beat the womens team in the third and fourth periods. It is good practice for the girls to get beat up and pushed around a little according to Senior guard Lexi Eaton Rydalch.
“We would not be as good without them,” Rydalch said. “I mean, you saw a little bit of that tonight where they kind of beat us up and the crod’w going, ‘oh! They’re big bullies.’ But we were just laughing because that’s what we want them to do.”
The practice team is a group of six guys that practice with the team everyday. They run the other teams plays and rough the girls up so that they can be strong and ready come game time. Having a practice team made up of guys is something that Judkins started when he first became head coach of the BYU’s women’s basketball team and it is something he sees as a huge advantage for his team.
“I’ll tell you right now, they are a big part of the team,” Judkins said. “They’re good and they know their limits. They don’t overdo it and they don’t underdo it.”
The blue and white scrimmage is a game with a little more fun built into it than a normal pre-season game. It is a chance for the younger players to experience the lights and the referees for the first time according to Judkins and it is an opportunity for the girls and the coaches to really see the team in action. The purpose of the blue and white scrimmage is to be able to study the film and see what things the team needs to do to become better for season play.
Rydalch uses the blue and white game as a measurment tool. She uses it to gauge her pre-game routine and also to make sure she is on the right track to be able to help her team to another victorious season.
The teams goals this year are to win the WCC season title and to go deep into the NCAA tournament. The WCC annual coaches poll predicts BYU taking second place in the conference behind Gonzaga, but the team is confident they can achieve their goals. Seniors Rydalch and Kylie Maeda are returning and are hoping to lead the team to victory this season. Junior Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher is also one to look out for. She was on fire tonight and hit many 3-point shots to contribute to the blue teams wins. Transfer student Kalani Purcell is another very special player according to Judkins and he is excited for what she will bring to the team this season.
“We have a lot of depth, we’ve got a lot of quickness and we’ve got some girls that can shoot,” Judkins said. “We’ve got to get better at rebounding and we’ve got to get better at getting the ball inside, but most of all we made some good decisions tonight.”
The Cougars will take on Ft. Lewis College in an exhibition game at the Marriott Center on November 5 at 7 PM.