BYU Wins Women’s WCC Tournament Championship


In a battle of Cinderella teams making an unlikely appearance in the finals of the WCC Tournament, the #5 BYU Cougars beat the #6 San Francisco Dons 76-65 on Tuesday to claim the WCC Championship and the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars made history as the lowest seeded to win the women’s tournament in the conference’s history.

The Cougars jumped out to a 15-7 lead just over five minutes into the game. The Dons used a 10-0 not long after to take an 18-17 lead, but the Cougars answered back with a 16-0 run of their own that had them up 33-20 with under five minutes left in the first half. They would lead 39-27 at the break.

From there, the Dons could never again get close. They chipped away at times cutting down the lead to the high single digits, but they never seriously threatened. Midway through the second half the Cougars opened their biggest lead of the game at 66-48 and held on for the 76-65 final score.

Mar 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Lexi Eaton (21) brings the ball up court against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the first half of a women

Lexi Eaton led the way for the Cougars with 22 points and 7 rebounds. She was named the Tournament MVP averaging 22.7 points per game in Vegas. WCC Player of the Year Morgan Bailey added 20 points and 7 rebounds. Makenzi Morrison was the third and final BYU player in double figures with 19 points. Just three other players scored for the Cougars contributing 15 combined points as the above trio did the bulk of the work.

The Dons gave it a fantastic effort as was evident by them having three different players record a double-double in the loss. Taj Winston led the way with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Paige Spietz and Taylor Proctor each added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Like the Cougars however, the Dons didn’t get much support for their stars. Just four other Dons recorded points as they contributed a combined 21 points.

The story of the game was the superior shooting by the Cougars. The Dons were strong inside winning the rebounding battle, but they shot just 5-25 from three point range compared to 11-22 for the Cougars. The Dons also struggled inside shooting 34.4% from field goal range compared to 51% for the Cougars.

The Dons can hold their heads high after a fantastic tournament run. They upset #3 Pacific and #2 San Diego on their way to the finals. This came after back-to-back upsets of Saint Mary’s and Pacific to finish the season. Unfortunately, this will likely be the end of their magical run as their RPI is too low to put them in position to make a postseason tournament.

The Cougars meanwhile march on after an unlikely championship. They had been in contention most of the season, but they struggled down the stretch. With such a deep group of teams, it pushed them all the way back to the #5 seed. But they too got hot with single-digit upsets of #4 Saint Mary’s and then #1 Gonzaga to reach the finals. Taking advantage of an inferior team that had also made a surprise run, they removed any doubt of their status as a bubble team by claiming the automatic berth.

More from 2015 WCC Tournament

This was a season-saving run for BYU. They came into Vegas with the 5th best RPI in the conference and were likely just outside the field for the NCAA Tournament. They needed to win it all, and they did. They will now await their fate this coming Monday when the field and seedings for the tournament are announced.

BYU upsetting the bracket will likely cause waves among the WCC teams in contention for the postseason. Four other teams are all in the bubble conversation, but each one hurt their chances by under-performing in Vegas. Gonzaga will likely make the field as an at-large bid still. But Pacific, Saint Mary’s, and San Diego likely played themselves out of the field as they are right on the cut line. San Diego in particular will feel the sting as they were projected to make the field before their upset to San Francisco. The Gaels and Tigers were still likely to fall short without winning it all.

Tune into the NCAA Selection Show on Monday to find out who BYU will face in their opening game as well to see which WCC teams on the bubble will make it into the field.