Faith, Family Sustain BYU Hoops Star
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- Strive to uphold your values in all times and places.
- Find ways to share the gospel through your example.
“I try to be the best example that I can be. I love missionary work and I know that life is all about sharing the good news of the gospel.” —Lexi Eaton Rydalch, BYU basketball player
Lexi Eaton Rydalch would likely agree that her newlywed husband, Trevor, has all the needed qualities for the spouse of a BYU basketball star.
First, he’s a supportive, invested, and caring husband.
Second, he’s a devout Latter-day Saint who faithfully performs his Church duties and callings.
And third, Trevor’s a first-rate human pass-back machine. Since the two became acquainted, he has rebounded literally thousands of Lexi’s practice jump shots—then passed the ball back so she could shoot some more.
“He loves to help me out however he can,” an appreciative Lexi told the Church News a few days after becoming the West Coast Conference’s all-time scoring leader for both men and women. To date, she has recorded 2,513 career points and is averaging 24.3 points a game this season.
The recent scoring title is just the latest accomplishment for the BYU senior guard. After receiving WCC Conference Player of the Year honors, she was also named the 2016 College Sports Madness Women’s Basketball All-High Major Player of the Year.
“This year has been really special—all the hard work has paid off.”
Lexi has again been a central player this season in the Cougars’ success. The team (26-6) claimed the 2015–2016 regular season WCC title and earned a spot in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament. BYU lost to Missouri 78-69 on March 19 in the tournament’s opening round.
Playing in college basketball’s “Big Dance,” she said, “is so fun—I’m so excited to be able to do it again.”
Lexi grew up in the shadow of BYU in nearby Mapleton, Utah, in a large, athletic family. Her older brother Preston played hoops at Southern Virginia University, and her grandfather, the noted LDS artist Valoy Eaton, also played basketball at BYU.
She excelled in soccer and track at Springville High School. But it was her skill on the hardwood that gleaned national attention. The Parade All-American could surely have played for several prestigious college programs. But BYU proved a perfect fit for the 5-foot-10-inch LDS student-athlete.
“I wanted to go to a school that shared my same values and would push me academically and spiritually,” she said. “Plus, I knew that [BYU coach] Jeff Judkins simply wins games.”
Lexi appreciates the added responsibility that she and her fellow BYU athletes assume each time they pull on their game jerseys and represent the Church-owned school.
“I try to be the best example that I can be,” she said. “I love missionary work and I know that life is all about sharing the good news of the gospel.”
This past year has been something of a balancing act for Lexi. Besides playing basketball for the Cougars and working toward her degree in psychology, she married Trevor Rydalch in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. The Rydalchs serve together on their ward service committee, organizing service projects and helping prepare for the opening of the Provo City Center Temple.
Trevor is also a fine basketball player and has his own hoops legacy. His father, Mark, and his uncle, Craig, both played—ironically—for BYU’s instate rival, the University of Utah. But Trevor has swapped his red Ute gear for Cougar blue and is a regular at his wife’s games.
“He gets vocal during the games,” said Lexi, laughing. “I can always hear him.”
When BYU’s season ends, Lexi plans to play professionally in the Women’s National Basketball Association or maybe overseas. She looks forward to one day being a mother and raising a gospel-centered family.
Brigham Young Cougars Lexi Rydalch is honored after becoming the all-time high scorer in WCC history during the WCC tournament in Las Vegas Saturday, March 5, 2016. BYU won 72-60. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.