(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU vs. Missouri Notes
Tickets to First and Second Round
PROVO, Utah—As the No. 7 seed in the Bridgeport Regional, BYU women’s basketball (26-6) is participating in its 12th NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships.
The Cougars will travel to Austin, Texas, to play No. 10 seed Missouri (21-9) Sat., March 19, at 5:30 p.m. CT. The game will air on ESPN2/ESPN3 and can be heard live on BYU Radio on Sirius XM 143.
A win over the Tigers would send the Cougars into the second round on Mon., March 21 where they would play the winner between No. 2 seed and hosts Texas vs. No. 15 seed Alabama State. BYU has a 5-11 record in the NCAA, which includes two Sweet 16 finishes in 2002 and 2014.
BYU at a Glance
The Cougars are led by 2016 West Coast Conference Player of the Year Lexi Eaton Rydalch who averages 24.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The Mapleton, Utah, native was also a first team honoree while leading the team and the league in scoring. She ranks fifth nationally in points per game. This season she became the WCC’s all-time leading scorer for both men and women while ranking second all-time at BYU in women’s basketball.
Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher follows in scoring with 12.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and a team-best 2.1 steals. Pulsipher picked up WCC Second-Team honors. She ranks 10th in scoring and sixth in both free-throw percentage and in steals in the conference.
The WCC’s Newcomer of the Year, Kalani Purcell, is the Cougars’ third leading scorer with 11.8 points, and with a team-best 12.7 rebounds, is averaging a double-double. She leads the way in assists with a 4.8 average and has recorded 18 double-doubles so far this season. Purcell led the league in rebounding, assists, defensive rebounds and in minutes played. She ranks second nationally in defensive rebounds and is fifth in rebounds per game.
BYU won its first regular season WCC title with a 16-2 mark and went 12-0 at home while compiling the program’s longest winning streak with 16-straight victories. The Cougars have been in and out of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll the past three weeks, coming in at No. 22 on Feb. 23. They fell out of the poll after the road loss at Gonzaga and then came back in at No. 24 on March 8.
The Cougars have played five teams that are in this year’s NCAA tournament, No. 4 seed Texas A&M, No. 6 seed Oklahoma, No. 8 seed Georgia, No. 13 seed and fellow WCC foe San Francisco, and No. 14 seed Hawaii. BYU beat Texas A&M, Hawaii and swept the regular season series vs. USF.
BYU is scoring 69.7 points and grabbing 38.0 rebounds while shooting 42.5 percent from the field, 69.9 percent from the free throw line and 37.0 percent from 3-point range. The Cougars are holding opponents to 61.6 points per game.
• Head coach: Jeff Judkins (Utah, ‘78) 15th season
• Team’s leading scorer: #21 L. Eaton Rydalch, 24.3 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #32 K. Purcell, 12.7 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #32 K. Purcell, 4.8 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #23 M. Pulsipher, 2.1 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #32, K. Purcell, .78 bpg
MISSOURI at a Glance
Missouri (21-9) is in its 10th overall NCAA appearance and its first since the 2006 season. The Tigers are 4-9 in the postseason tournament and won their last game in a Sweet 16 run in 2001. Missouri finished seventh in the SEC with an 8-8 mark.
Two players are scoring in double figures for the Tigers led by 13.5 points from Sophie Cunningham. Jordan Frericks follows with 12.1 points and a team-best 7.8 rebounds.
Missouri is scoring 68.1 points while shooting 43.4 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from behind the arc and 75.6 percent from the charity stripe. They are holding opponents to 57.6 points.
• Head coach: Robin Pingeton, Sixth season
• Team’s leading scorer: #3 S. Cunningham, 13.5 ppg
• Team’s leading rebounder: #22 J. Frericks, 7.8 rpg
• Team’s assists leader: #11 L. Cunningham, 3.3 apg
• Team’s steals leader: #22 J. Frericks, 1.3 spg
• Team’s blocks leader: #21 C. Porter, .76 bpg
Missouri leads 5-0. When playing on a neutral court, the Tigers hold a 3-0 edge over the Cougars. The last meeting between the two was on Dec. 6, 1997, when Missouri beat BYU 72-66 in Columbia.
A win over the Tigers on Saturday would send the Cougars into the round of 32 for a Monday, March 21 game with the winner of the other Saturday contest between No. 2 seed and hosts Texas vs. No. 15 seed Alabama State.