It was upset day at the WCC Tournament as all four lower seeds in the men’s and women’s brackets won to advance to the semifinals. Here’s how it went down:
#5 BYU (66) defeats #4 San Francisco (56): BYU forward Lauren Gustin led the nation in rebounding this season, and she really showed off her rebounding prowess in this game with 27 rebounds (TWENTY-SEVEN!!; 17 defensive, 10 offensive) to go with 9 points and 4 assists. Gustin nearly outrebounded the entire USF team (29 rebounds) on her own. Emma Calvert led all scorers with 17 points that included a 5-7 performance from the three-point line.
This game was tight through the first three quarters before the Cougars put together a big 4th quarter in which they outscored the Dons 27-13 to seal the win. Despite forcing the Cougars into 25 turnovers and winning the bench scoring by a decisive margin, USF could not close this game out.
BYU will play Gonzaga on Monday at noon PT.
#6 Pacific (71) defeats #3 San Diego (57): Winners of 8 of their last 10, the Pacific Tigers are officially on a hot streak and now find themselves with a solid chance at a berth in the WCC championship game if they can knock off the Portland pilots on Monday afternoon.
Pacific got it done with a strong all-around effort from up and down the lineup as it saw four players score in double figures in the winning effort, led by guard Liz Smith with 14 points. The Tigers got swept by the Pilots in the regular season, but perhaps the third time will be the charm? Their game tips off at 2:30 pm PT, or after the Gonzaga-BYU tilt.
#5 BYU (73) defeats #4 LMU (63): This was a bit of a disappointing result if you’re petty like me and was hoping for the Cougars to depart the WCC with a whimper and without even a semi-final birth in the WCC Tournament. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. After surviving a plucky Portland squad on Friday night, BYU handled its business against the Lions and led for most of the game.
Rudi Williams got the free throw line early and often (11-12) to pace the Cougars with 23 points in just 28 minutes. The Lions won the rebounding and turnover battles, but it wasn’t enough as they were far less efficient on the offensive end, shooting 40% from the field and 61.5% from the free throw line.
Cam Shelton did what he had done all season, scoring 27 points albeit 11-24 from the field, and aded 6 assists and 5 rebounds. It was a disappointing end to a strong season for the Lions who would have picked up their 20th win of the season by defeating the Cougars, which would have been the program’s first 20-win campaign since the 2018-19 season.
After the Sunday break, BYU will play Saint Mary’s on Monday at 6:00 pm PT.
#6 San Francisco (93) defeats #3 Santa Clara (87): Hoo boy, this game was an incredible double-overtime thriller between two quality Bay Area programs. It’s a shame there had to be a loser, but alas, Gonzaga is only allowed to play one team at at time on Monday.
The Broncos beat the Dons in both of their regular season games this season, but USF proved that it is hard to beat the same team three times in a single campaign and held Santa Clara scoreless in the final 2:44 of the second OT to secure the win. USF enjoyed a big margin on the boards (50-33) and at the free throw line (27-35 to 13-19).
Khalil Shabazz was ELECTRIC, putting together his finest performance in a USF jersey as he had a career-high 38 points (7-12 3PT FG) along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals while playing 48 out of a possible 50 minutes and made a ton of big plays down the stretch. His backcourt mate, Tyrell Roberts (16 points) also made some big shots down the stretch to help the Dons pick up the win.
WCC Co-Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year Brandin Podziemski just missed out on a triple-double with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 4 steals. Carlos Stewart also scored 22 points, and Keshawn Justice added 16 points.
The Dons will play Gonzaga on Monday at 8:30 pm PT.