BYU women’s basketball defeated Loyola Marymount 75-61 in the Marriott Center Thursday evening. The Cougars finished with three double-digit scorers, for the second game in a row, and two players had double-doubles.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch, who was named College Sports Madness Player of the Week for the third time this month, had 28 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Kalani Purcell, with her ninth double-double of the season, scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher contributed to the Cougars’ victory with 15 points.
“I’m blessed. I’ve got some good players,” head coach Jeff Judkins said. “When we’re rolling and we’re going, we’re a tough team.”
The Cougars battled back and forth with the Lions during the first quarter and were tied 11-11 with 4:35 left in the first, but the Cougs pulled ahead 20-15. Kalani Purcell led the team in the first quarter with 10 points and 3 rebounds.
The Cougars struggled defensively in the second quarter and were outscored 14 to 13. LMU’s quick offense closed the gap and were within four going into half.
Judkins wanted a better defensive performance in the second half.
“When we went in at half time that’s what I told them, that we’re going to win this game on the defensive end, not scoring points,” Judkins said.
BYU’s improved defense forced 21 total turnovers on the Lions and and put the Lions in a scoring drought for nearly four minutes. The Cougars finished the third quarter ahead 51-36.
“I really feel like that’s a key for me and my game: rebounding. When I’m crashing the boards then it feels like I’m being aggressive and involved and doing good things for the time. I’ve really tried to refocus on that this game and it paid off,” Rydalch said.
Rydalch, who has scored 25 points or more in nine games this season, now only needs nine points to be the third all time leading scorer in BYU history.
The Cougars improved to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in conference. They have won seven games in a row and have not lost a game at home this season.
“I’m excited where we’re at,” Rydalch said. “We’ve gained confidence when we’re under pressure. We’ve really come together as a team.”
BYU hosts Pepperdine on Saturday and is off to California for rematches against LMU and Pepperdine.