No. 7 BYU women’s basketball team fell to No. 10 Missouri 78-69 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Texas Saturday afternoon.
Three players with double-digit scoring wasn’t enough for the Cougars to shut down the Tigers’ confidence on the court.
Lexi Eaton Rydalch scored 22 points in the final game of her BYU career. Kalani Purcell contributed 19 points and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher added 13 for the Cougars.
The first quarter proved to be an even match-up as BYU and Missouri were neck and neck before BYU led 17-15 going into the second quarter.
The Tigers then turned up the heat, leading by as many as 13 in the second. Rydalch found offensive rhythm in jump shots to spark the Cougars and cut the deficit to seven. Morrison Pulsipher nailed a wide-open shot from the arc to make it a two-possession game before halftime.
Both teams were shooting 50 percent or better from the field in the first half as the Cougars managed to hold the SEC Freshman of the Year Sophie Cunningham to just two points.
Cunningham then exploded for 17 points in the third quarter and the Tigers entered the final quarter up by nine.
The Cougars went on an 11-2 run to make it a two-point game with four minutes to go. Missouri answered by capitalizing on BYU’s foul trouble and the Cougars again faltered. Rydalch was one of two players to foul out and three other players ended with four fouls each. The Tigers took control of the last few minutes to secure a nine-point victory.
While the Tigers committed more turnovers, the Cougars fell 31-20 in rebounds and 15-6 in assists.
Missouri advances to the second round to play the winner of Texas and Alabama State on Monday.