BYU women’s basketball 2015-16 season recap

The BYU women’s basketball team ended its season with a 78-69 loss to the Missouri Tigers in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday, March 19.
The Cougars finished with a 26-7 record (16-2 in conference) — the most wins in a season since 2013-14. They recorded their third-straight appearance in the NCAA tournament and assembled a 16-game winning streak, the longest in program history.
“I’m really proud of my team,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said following the loss. “We’ve had a great year. The seniors have not been just great players but great leaders. We had a great season, and we won a conference championship. We’re sad about this loss, but we’ll learn from it and build off it.”
First outright West Coast Conference regular season title

The Cougars clinched their first WCC regular season crown with a 68-60 victory over San Diego on Feb. 18. With a season best 51 percent shooting from the field, the team put on a show for the record 2,293 fans at the Marriott Center for Senior Night. BYU’s title broke Gonzaga’s streak of 11-straight championships.

The Cougars celebrate after winning their first WCC regular season championship on Feb. 18. (Ari Davis)

WCC Player of the Year Lexi Eaton-Rydalch

Lexi Eaton Rydalch fuels the Cougars’ offensive drive over Portland earlier this season. She put up 23 points and eight rebounds to help the Cougars secure the victory. (Ari Davis)

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 took first place in WCC all-time scoring for both men and women and leaves BYU as the second all-time leading scorer with with 2,535 career points.

Rydalch was the only player under Coach Judkins to go to the WCC finals and NCAA tournament four times.

Double-double defender Kalani Purcell

Kalani Purcell drives over a Portland defender at a home match-up earlier this season. (Ari Davis)

New Zealand native and JC transfer Kalani Purcell was named WCC Newcomer of the Year as she led the conference in rebounds (12.3) and assists (5.4). Purcell also recorded 18 double-doubles on the season.

Purcell grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds during BYU’s win over Pepperdine in January and tied a career-high 19 points as the Cougars fell to Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

WCC Coach of the Year Jeff Judkins

Head Coach Jeff Judkins led his team to a No. 22 rank in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll after the Cougars won the regular season conference. In his 15th season as head coach, the Cougars went undefeated at home first time since 1979-1980. This was the seventh-straight season that BYU won 20 or more games under Judkins. 

BYU Head Coach Jeff Judkins smiles as his team becomes the WCC regular season champions with a victory over San Diego on Feb. 18. (Ari Davis)

Offensive threat

BYU’s 87-67 victory over Santa Clara on March 7 was the fifth time the Cougars’ scored over 80 points this season. The Cougars scored an average 69.7 points a game and held their opponents to 61.6 points a game.

BYU had at least three players put up double-digit figures in 17 games. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher was the team’s second-highest scorer behind Rydalch with 12.7 points per game and the team’s best free-throw percentage (.794).

Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher fakes a pass before draining a 3-pointer over San Diego earlier this season. (Ari Davis)
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