Lexi Rydalch is the second all-time leading Women’s Basketball scorer for Brigham Young University. She is a two-time All American. In 2012, she was named Newcomer of the Year on the WCC All-Freshman team. In 2016, she was named the Player of the Year. She is the top all-time scorer for the West Coast Conference for both men and women. And now, Lexi Rydalch is a professional basketball player. All these recognitions make Rydalch unique. However, she was only able to gain these recognitions because of her uniqueness.
HALF COURT!? @LexiRydalch21 drains it for the WIN!
BYU wins 65-62! #BYU #BYUTVSPORTS pic.twitter.com/bwRkArKde8
— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) February 12, 2016
Goal to play professional basketball
While it’s common for men to pursue a professional basketball career, it’s not so common for women. It’s because Rydalch had that goal that Rydalch is exceptional. According to her BYU coach, Jeff Judkins,
“In women’s ball it’s a little different. A lot of [players], they think this is the highest they are ever going to get, but Lexi was a pusher and a great leader.”
On April 14, 2016, the effort that Rydalch put into her game paid off. She was drafted into the Seattle Storm as the 26th pick overall in the third round. In a press conference, Rydalch said,
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be drafted by the Seattle Storm. I have followed and watched their program for years and really like how they play. I love the city of Seattle and I’m looking forward to playing for Jenny Boucek, proving myself and hopefully contributing to the team.
With the 26th pick we have selected Lexi Eaton Rydalch from BYU! Welcome to Seattle Lexi! #WatchMeWork #WDraft16 pic.twitter.com/mBvPG55wJt
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) April 15, 2016
Latter-day Saint faith
But it’s not just her determination to accomplish a goal that many women don’t choose to aspire to that makes Rydalch unique; her devotion to her faith makes her different than so many other athletes and it’s this devotion that has made a difference in her path to the WNBA athlete.
For example, part of the reason that Rydalch chose to attend BYU was because of its religious environment. She says, “I wanted to go to a school that shared my same values and would push me academically and spiritually.” Rydalch then added, “Plus, I knew that [BYU coach] Jeff Judkins simply wins games.”
Furthermore, her LDS faith has taught her to work to be better, helping her to be an exceptional basketball player.
“I’ve always been the type of person who wants to be the best I can be. When I realized I could compete with the best players in the country, I thought ‘Why not go to the next level?’
Furthermore, Rydalch hopes that her experience in the spotlight of athletics will put her in a position to share her faith with others. Simply, she said,
“[Basketball] is a natural platform to be an example of the LDS culture and church. You’re not young forever so you don’t have that opportunity for very long.”
So in one way or another, whether it’s the realization of her goal to play professional women’s basketball or her devotion to the Mormon faith, Rydalch’s uniqueness just serves to make her more unique.