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Fresh off win over top-15 team, BYU women's hoops knows bigger week to come

Fresh off win over top-15 team, BYU women's hoops knows bigger week to come

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News/File)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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PROVO — When BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins was putting together his 2015-16 schedule that included games against Power 5 giants Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas A&M, he hoped one win could be enough to impress the selection committee and boost his team's RPI.

After last week's 72-64 win over then-No. 11 Texas A&M in Hawaii, he knows one more thing: The Cougars (6-3) can't afford a loss now.

"If we lose one of these games this week, that game against Texas A&M doesn't do us any good," Judkins said before his squad departed to play at Weber State on Thursday at 7 p.m. MST. "My team knows that; we've got to build from what we did Saturday, keep getting better and work on what we need to, and keep working harder.

"When you play a good game, you work harder, and we've tried to do that."

In the win over the Aggies, the Cougars put together arguably their most complete performance of the season. Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher and Lexi Eaton Rydalch held Aggie top scorers Courtney Walker and Jordan Jones to just nine points apiece, and newcomer Kalani Purcell further unlocked her double-double machine potential with 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while the rest of BYU's defense held the Aggies to a season-low 47 percent from the field.

Just as important as the offensive output was the defense.

"We made it a point to contest every shot, and everyone else did their assignment," said Rydalch, who had a game-high 28 points against the Aggies. "It's just like in football; everybody has to do their assignment, and if someone misses their assignment, it's obvious. We made a point for everybody to do their job."

Now the task shifts to defending against two in-state challengers. Weber State (6-1) is off to its best start in program history, and the Cougars will try to defend the Marriott Center in Saturday's rivalry game against Utah.

"Beating the No. 11 team in the nation gives you confidence for the next team, no matter who we play," Rydalch said. "That's a building block. How can you not get up for Weber State and Utah? Weber plays its best game against us every year, it seems."

The Wildcats are undefeated on the road in 2015-16, including wins over Denver and Portland. They also defeated North Texas in last week's Hospitality Hill Tournament in Denton, Texas, after the Mean Green had previously defeated Oklahoma.

It's safe to say Weber State, which is led by Kailie Quinn's 12.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, has the full attention of Judkins and the Cougars — even closing in on a date with the rival Utes and first-year head coach Lynne Roberts, formerly of West Coast Conference foe Pacific.

"I've been up there several times, and it's been a dog fight," Judkins said of Weber State. "We've lucked out and won, but we've got to really come ready to go."

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Sean Walker

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