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BYU knocks off Gonzaga to win WCC Tournament

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BYU wins its third WCC Tournament since joining the conference in 2011.

NCAA Womens Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-BYU vs Saint Mary’s
Brenna Chase led the Cougars to a WCC Tournament title, scoring 25 points.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

BYU has had Gonzaga’s number all year. After two close wins in the regular season, BYU beat Gonzaga for a third time, ending Gonzaga’s streak of WCC Tournament titles at three.

The turning point of the game was the second quarter.

BYU trailed by four points (19-23) and opened up with a 16-0 run. Gonzaga would score just seven points in the quarter and trail 42-30 at the half. Gonzaga got as close as eight points in the second half but could never put together a run to close the gap.

BYU extended its lead to as large as 17 points before settling for a 14-point victory, 82-68.

Gonzaga was without Laura Stockton and Jill Townsend, two of the team’s top four scorers, who missed the contest due to injuries suffered in the team’s victory over St. Mary’s.

The offense struggled as a result.

Zykera Rice tied for game-high in scoring with 25 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 12-of-12 from the charity stripe. However, the rest of the Zags shot 11-of-39 from the field.

BYU’s strength is its ability to shoot from deep. In the title win, BYU tallied a 13-of-25 shooting performance from beyond the arc. Brenna Chase poured in 25 points and made seven three-point shots, tying career-highs in points and made three-point shots in a game. Chase had help offensively, as Shaylee Gonzalez and Paisley Johnson contributed 20 and 19 points, respectively.

Looking ahead

As teams hailing from a mid-major conference, the seeding for the NCAA Tournament, for both teams, will probably be in the No. 5 to No. 8 range. Gonzaga, as the WCC regular-season champion, was projected to be a No. 5 seed. BYU, simply based off regular season production, was projected as a No. 9 seed. But with the seeding for both teams very much up for debate, Selection Monday cannot come soon enough.