The BYU Cougars overcome a 5-seed and win the West Coast Conference, clinching their third NCAA berth in the last four seasons.
Most Outstanding Player Lexi Eaton scored 22 points points to lead BYU to the Championship. The junior out of Mapleton, Utah averaged 22.7 points through her three games in the conference tournament.
The breaking point of the game was a 17-0 run that spanned 3:30 and watched Eaton drain three 3-pointers in the process. It went from a 3-point Dons lead to a 13-point BYU advantage.
BYU pushed their lead to as many as 15 in the first half when Eaton once again came through, this time hitting free throws. Eaton had 11 in the first half to lead BYU led 39-27 at the half.
Senior, Morgan Bailey, dropped 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds for BYU.
Solid consistency from the Cougars kept San Francisco at arm’s length the entire second half. BYU kept the lead at 10 plus points for most of the second half, with the exception of the final minute of the contest.
When San Francisco cut the Cougars’ lead to 57-47 with 9:57 to go, BYU powered up a 9-1 run that put BYU up 18 at 66-48 with 5:06 remaining.
Taj Winston led San Francisco with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Proctor had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Dons in the loss.
For the Dons, their run at their first conference championship since 1997 comes to an end. There will be no NCAA tournament for the 19-13 Dons. Their run from the sixth seed to the championship game will be remembered by the San Francisco faithful, but they came up just short this afternoon.
BYU’s postseason hopes were probably left in the NIT before the tournament started. However, a mammoth run at the championship changed that. An upset of the No. 1 seed, Gonzaga Bulldogs, gave the Cougars a chance of extending their opportunity to play for a national championship.
Charlie Creme’s Bracketology on ESPN has the Cougars as a potential 13-seed heading into the NCAA Tournament. Because of the BYU win, Creme had San Diego Toreros, fellow WCC team, on the last four out after the victory.