BYU women’s basketball to play Missouri in NCAA tournament

BYU head coach Jeff Judkins talks to the media after finding out his team would be a no. 7 seed entering the NCAA tournament. (Sydney Jorgensen)

BYU women’s basketball (26-6) enters the NCAA tournament as a seven seed and plays 10 seed Missouri (21-9) in Austin, TX, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. MST.

“I’m happy. I think we got what we deserved,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “I feel really good about playing Missouri. I’ve seen them play a little bit and they are a good match up for us.”

Senior Lexi Eaton Rydalch was anxious as BYU wasn’t announced until the last bracket.

“I was nervous this year,” Rydalch said. “That last lost hurt a lot so we’re excited to have another chance to play, get ready and be prepared to play in March Madness. There is no time better than March Madness.”

This is the Cougars’ third straight NCAA appearance and eighth under Coach Judkins. Last year BYU entered the tournament as a 14 seed and lost in the first round to Louisville in Tampa, Florida.

The Cougars are looking to repeat the 2014 NCAA tournament and make it to the Sweet Sixteen again.

Rydalch leads the team with 24.3 points per game and was named WCC Player of the Year and College Sports Madness Women’s Basketball All-High Major Player of the Year. She also became the WCC all-time leading scorer for both men and women and she is the only player under Judkins to go to the NCAA tournament four times.

Junior Kalani Purcell was honored as the WCC Newcomer of the Year and has tallied 18 double-doubles this season.

Purcell and Rydalch were named to the All-WCC First Team and 2016 WCC Championships All-Tournament Team.

WCC Coach of the Year Jeff Judkins led the Cougars to a 16-game winning streak, the longest in program history. BYU also went undefeated at home first time since 1979-1980 season.

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