BYU’s Lexi Eaton Rydalch to ‘pursue excellence’ in WNBA

Ari Davis
BYU senior Lexi Eaton Rydalch drives the ball past the Portland defense in a game earlier this season. She leads the conference in scoring with an average of 23.4 points per game. (Ari Davis)

Lexi Eaton Rydalch became BYU’s third all-time leading scorer on Jan. 23, sinking a 3-pointer over a Pepperdine guard in the second quarter of the Cougars’ win against the Waves in the Marriott Center.

As the conference leader in scoring, Lexi Eaton-Rydalch averaged 24.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Cougars while scoring 20 points or more in 26 games this season. The senior guard put up a career-high 38 points as the Cougars defeated Pacific on the road in February.

Rydalch moved into first on the WCC’s all-time scoring for both men and women and leaves BYU as the second all-time women’s leading scorer with with 2,535 career points.

But for Lexi, breaking scoring records is the last thing on her mind.

“I’m going to enter the draft and hopefully I get drafted,” Lexi said before the end of the Cougars’ season. “I’m probably going to play overseas as well because the WNBA season is kind of short. Most people go over and play overseas because they can make a lot of money over there, so that’s the goal.”

Lexi, a 5-foot-10-inch guard from Mapleton, Utah, graduated in December with a psychology degree and a minor in business. Her husband, Trevor, will apply to BYU’s business school and is looking into options to make it work around Lexi’s basketball schedule.

“We’re going to pursue her dreams,” Trevor said. “She’s always wanted to play in the WNBA. Obviously she’s still focused on finishing out this year strong but we’re starting to prepare for that and planning for all the different possibilities.”

Lexi’s motto on and off the court has always been the “pursuit of excellence.” She said the hardest work for her is changing her mentality and her character. A WNBA player doesn’t just “settle at being good.”

“It’s so easy to come to practice every day and just kind of go through the motions. So for me I always want to pursue excellence in everything that I do,” Lexi said. “That’s in all aspects of life and in all aspects of basketball.”

BYU women’s basketball head coach Jeff Judkins has encouraged Lexi to cut down her weaknesses on the court, namely turnovers and defensive play, to prepare for the WNBA.

“I’m constantly pushing her to get better in all the things she needs to do to be a well-rounded player and be consistent,” Judkins said.

Lexi scored a career-high of 37 points against Pepperdine last season. Only three other players in BYU history, all of whom graduated before 1981 and did not go on to play in the WBNA, have scored more points in a single game.

She was selected with the No. 26 overall pick by the Seattle Storm on April 14.

Lexi joins three other Cougars that have been drafted in the WNBA: Erin Thorn (New York Liberty), Ambrosia Anderson (Detroit Shock) and Jennifer Hamson (Los Angeles Sparks). Thorn scored an average of 18.8 points per game her senior year, Anderson’s average was 17.9 points and Hamson with 17.7 points.

Lexi, one of the most decorated women’s basketball players in BYU history, has been awarded 2014–2015 WCC Championships MVP, 2014–2015 AP Women’s Basketball All-America Honorable Mention and multiple player of the week awards. She was also named to the 2014–2015 WCC Women’s Basketball All-Academic Team.

“Lexi is the most talented kid I’ve ever coached,” Judkins said. “I think I can relate to her really well because she’s been a star player for so long. I can say things and do things that she respects.”

After the WNBA, Lexi plans to settle down and start a family.

“After professional basketball, I definitely just want to be a mom,” Lexi said. “I really love the Family Proclamation and I find great value in a mother’s role and I’m excited to do that.”

Her husband commented that Lexi hopes to use basketball as a platform to share her testimony and be a role model for young women.

“I don’t think it’s where basketball takes her,” Trevor said. “It’s where she’s going to take basketball.”

The Storm’s season begins on May 15 against Los Angeles Sparks.

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