After both regular season games were decided by one possession, you figured Gonzaga and BYU would put on another classic in the WCC Championship. Unfortunately, losses of Laura Stockton and Jill Townsend put a big damper on that. The losses were too big to overcome, Gonzaga’s offense went cold after the first quarter, and BYU won the WCC tournament championship game 82-68.
Gonzaga closed an incredibly entertaining first quarter on a 13-3 run to take a 23-19 lead. Without Stockton and Townsend, head coach Lisa Fortier stuck with her normal nine player rotation. Louise Forsyth and Melody Kempton were hoisted into next man up roles.
Like they were in Spokane, BYU was scorching hot from deep. They hit nine threes in the first half, and used them to propel themselves on a 15-0 run to start the second stanza. The Zags were held scoreless for the first 6:07 of the quarter and trailed 42-30 at the break.
Chandler Smith hit back-to-back threes late in the third quarter to bring the Zags within nine. After a technical foul was assessed to the BYU bench with 20 seconds left in the quarter for arguing fouls, the officials must have got the message. Gonzaga was called for a very suspect foul on a three-pointer as time expired. All told, BYU took a 65-56 lead into the fourth quarter.
Gonzaga was finally able to get a few stops in the fourth quarter, but BYU went to a zone defense and the Zags could not get anything going offensively. BYU was never truly threatened in the final 10 minutes.
Gonzaga lost all three games to BYU this season. We wait until Monday to see where both teams will head in the NCAA Tournament. With the injuries to Stockton and Townsend and the loss in the WCC Title game, it’s a very unfortunate end to the most successful regular season in Gonzaga women’s history.