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Maeda's career day leads BYU women past Pacific, 79-62

Maeda's career day leads BYU women past Pacific, 79-62

(Sean Walker/KSL.com)


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PROVO — A good point guard can go a long way in college basketball.

Which makes BYU women's basketball coach Jeff Judkins know what he's got in senior starter Kylie Maeda, who he said had "one of her best offensive games."

Maeda tied a career high with 17 points and added five assists as the BYU women's basketball team rolled by Pacific 79-62 on Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center. Maeda made her first 3-pointer with 6:55 left in the first quarter, and finished with a season-high three triples.

"After I made that first shot, it gave me a little confidence," said Maeda, who also had a team-high five assists and two steals. "I got a couple of open looks, and it went down, so I think I just started rolling after that."

Just as important as her offensive production, though, was Maeda's ball-handling. The Cougars (10-4, 21 West Coast Conference) dished out 22 assists on 28 made shots Saturday, and Maeda and post Kalani Purcell each dished out five assists.

But the 5-foot-5 senior from Honolulu had just two turnovers and held the Tigers to just one steal while she was in the game in the second half.

"Kylie gets you into your offense. Coaches know it, players know it, and most other people don't notice it," Judkins said. "But getting your team in an offense is big. That affects the team more than anything, and you saw it tonight when she was out."

Maeda scored 12 points in the first quarter to tie a season-high scoring output, and Lexi Eaton Rydalch added eight of her team-high 26 points as BYU ended the opening period on a 22-5 run to jump out to a 26-10 lead.


Kylie gets you into your offense. Coaches know it, players know it, and most other people don't notice it. But getting your team in an offense is big. That affects the team more than anything, and you saw it tonight when she was out.

–BYU women's coach Jeff Judkins


But Maeda, Cassie Broadhead and Jasmine Moody each picked up three fouls in the second quarter, and the Tigers made a run with all three on the bench. Desire Finnie had five of the Tigers' nine first-half steals to cue a 7-0 run to end the half, and Pacific (8-7, 1-3 WCC) pulled within six points at the break.

"In the second quarter, I think we just got complacent and didn't take care of the ball," Judkins said. "I subbed, and we lost momentum. We gave them way too many easy baskets from turnovers, and that's what kills you.

"At halftime, I walked into the locker room, and I challenged them. They worked too hard to let it slip, and I thought they came out in the third quarter with a lot of energy and execution that we needed."

Then Maeda re-entered — and Rydalch poured in her shot. Maeda dropped her third 3-pointer of the game just 15 seconds into the second half, and Rydalch scored seven points over the next five minutes while the Tigers made just two of their next eight shots. Four-straight free throws by Rydalch and Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher gave the Cougars a 10-0 run, taking a 63-49 lead into the final period.

"I definitely need to be smarter with my fouls," Maeda said. "Bringing up the ball is a big part of our offense and how we are successful. That helps get our offense going."

Rydalch finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists for BYU, moving into the No. 4 spot on the Cougars' all-time scoring list with 2,065. She passed former BYU All-American Erin Thorn's 2,061 career points with 1:16 left in the third quarter, and stands 134 points behind Jackie Beene McBride for No. 3 on the career scoring list.

"She's a special player. Coaches are lucky to have one or two, and I've had two in the top five all-time," said Judkins, who coached both Thorn and Rydalch. "Lexi is a coach's dream. She works hard, she listens, and she's a gamer.

"I think she scores in the most different way of all the players I've coached. That's why she's done so well; she's not just one kind of player."

Makenzi Morrison Pulsipher supplied 14 points, four assists and four rebounds for BYU, and Kristine Nielson chipped in 11 points off the bench. Purcell finished with a game-high 15 rebounds for BYU.

"I probably have the best backcourt in the league, with (Maeda) and Makenzi," Judkins said. "They feed off each other so well, and I'm proud of these guys and the way they played."

BYU continues WCC play Thursday at Santa Clara at 6 p.m. MST, then travels to San Francisco for a 2 p.m. MST tipoff Saturday.

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Sean Walker

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