After beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs by 30 points exactly a week ago, the #23 Brigham Young Cougars were upset 71-64 by the San Francisco Dons in Provo.
In the short term, the loss leaves the Cougars tied with the San Diego Toreros for second place, 1.5 games behind the Bulldogs for first place in the West Coast Conference with only three games left. Looking a little further down the road, it's a serious blow to their hopes of earning an at-large bid in the event that they don't win the WCC's automatic bid.
The analysis of this game is pretty simple: the Cougars didn't hit a 3-pointer until senior point guard Haley Steed's long ball with just under 8 minutes in the 2nd half and finished the game 2-for-20 from behind the arc.
However, it wasn't entirely a case of cold shooting for a BYU team that entered the game ranked 30th in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage: many of those long shots were contested and USF also did an admirable shutting down the Cougars' post game. It was BYU's defense late in the second half that got them back in the game as well but their rally was simply too late.
Looking over BYU's schedule before their rematch with Gonzaga on the final day of the WCC regular season, winning tonight's game seemed like a given after the impressive win last Thursday: USF entered the game in last place in the WCC and has struggled all season to put together a full 40 minutes of good basketball.
For the Dons, the win is significant both for the program: the upset marks the first win over a ranked opponent since beating the then 7th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats on November 29, 2003 (who were upset again tonight as the 7th-ranked team in the country, incidentally). For second-year coach Jennifer Azzi, the win insures that the Dons will have a better record than they did last season in addition to being a major victory to build off of as she moves forward in the process of building this program.