BYU women’s basketball, led by Kalani Purcell’s rebounding and Lexi Eaton Rydalch’s scoring, defeated Pepperdine 69-64 to remain undefeated at home this season.
Purcell finished with a career-high 24 rebounds, 16 coming in the first half, and ended the game with 16 points. Purcell has 10 or more rebounds in 16 of the Cougars’ 20 games this season. Purcell continues to stuff the stat line and was two assists shy of a triple-double.
“Great performance by Kalani. She had a great game tonight. If she wouldn’t have had that game tonight, we would have lost,” head coach Jeff Judkins said.
Rydalch put up 21 points to move into third on BYU’s all-time scoring list and has amassed 2,204 points during her career. She needs just 16 points to become the West Coast Conference all-time leading scorer.
“The team needs me to score and that means I’m doing a good job, and that’s what I’m most happy about,” Rydalch said.
The Cougars were up 38-28 at the half and increased their lead to as many as 13 points at the beginning of the third quarter. The Waves crashed back in the third and outscored BYU 20-16. The Cougars struggled defensively in the fourth quarter as the Waves made 43 percent of their 3-pointers.
“When we let teams get comfortable and they start hitting shots, then they kind of get hope. That’s when it comes in at the end. They think they can just chuck up shots and make them, and they did,” Rydalch said. “When we set a good tone defensively, then it doesn’t give those teams hope and the rim doesn’t look huge.”
Judkins also said the team needed a stronger defense and to stop forcing shots on the offense.
“When you force stuff that doesn’t go in then it’s like it doubles on you. We got to learn. That was my talk after the game,” Judkins said.
The Cougars are riding an eight game winning streak and improved to 16-4 overall, 8-1 in conference.
BYU hits the road for rematches against Loyola Marymount on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.