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LAS VEGAS – The No. The split BYU women’s basketball team came here feeling that they had to win the championship of the West Coast Conference Tournament in order to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament

And in the semifinals on Monday with No. 3 San Francisco in the Orleans Arena, the Cougars played like that

“I told my players today, ‘We just have to win and not worry,” said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. “Just win it”

The Cougars (18-4) overcame a seven-point deficit in the first quarter and exploded with a 29-3 run to take the game on their way to a dominant 85-55 win over the Dons / p>

On the way, BYU avenged a loss of 14 points at the regular season finale at USF a little more than a week ago

BYU faces Gonzagam, MST, ESPNU in the title game of the WCC tournament on Tuesday) The Zags defeated No. 4 Santa Clara in the first semi-final Monday, 72-62

Cougar guard Paisley Harding scored 23 points, including four 3-point points, and had seven rebounds

on Monday

“We all got in very focused. We knew exactly what we were doing all week. We only tweaked a few small things,” said Harding. “When we got in we knew we could compete with them as long as we were filming theirs It was really our defense that won us this game I’m so proud of us We got in and adjusted from the last time we played it and in the end we did it ”

“A huge thank you to BYU today. You were certainly the better team today,” she said. “You played like a team with tournament experience. You played like a team that was expected to be here at the beginning of the season and had high expectations for their program had ”

San Francisco’s dynamic freshman guard Io Francisco Krimili opened the game by knocking down three 3-pointers early in the second quarter, Judkins switched to a box-and-one defense that focused on Krimili You Still finished with 21 points, but it had a negative impact on the Dons

“We played a different defense than before, a box-and-one because (Krimili) was so hot at the start of the game,” Judkins said. “We had to do something to get her out of the rhythm a great player We had to make it harder for her to score. The team did a great job ”

During one stretch, USF 1 of 26 left the field BYU beat San Francisco 49-13 in the second and third quarters

“This is a tough stretch if you can’t throw it into the sea. They switched the defense to us and it disrupted our rhythm,” said Goodenbour. “We put too much pressure on every shot we had in the second quarter the feeling that he was going to win or lose the game for us. Because of this, it affected our defensive ability. We never found a way to effectively attack their box-and-one that’s up to us as coaches ”

“We didn’t react well. We didn’t expect that,” said Krimili. “Your defense was really good today. We have never played against it (box-and-one)”

“They are the leading 3-point shooting team in our conference,” Judkins said. “You can’t give them open 3s or if you do they will hurt you”

“Paisley was very aggressive offensive,” said Judkins. “It’s really good for our team because when she scores it’s difficult to protect everyone“It’s nice to see everyone playing their game”

Harding had an achievement reminiscent of two years when she received the WCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award

“I love to play here. It’s such a good experience. I look forward to going to the WCC tournament every year,” said Harding. being under the bright lights I wish the fans were here It would be so much fun to have our BYU fans in the stands They will be here next year and it will be an even better experience ”

At the start of the second quarter, USF’s Harding and Marta Galic collided while pursuing a loose ball

“That was definitely a big collision. I thought we were in football for a second. We were both after the ball,” said Harding. “I asked her if she was okay. I have a little bump now, but it will be gone tomorrow ”

Speaking of tomorrow, the Cougars are looking forward to a third matchup with Gonzaga BYU beating the No. 16 ranked Zags in Provo in February

“This is going to be a battle. Both teams know each other well. You have size, we have size You have toughness, we have toughness,” Judkins said. “You have Jill (Townsend), we have Paisley, We have Shaylee (Gonzalez) and hers Guards Are Good Whichever team makes the fewest mistakes is likely to win ”

Harding knows what’s at stake on Tuesday – an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament

“It’s huge at the beginning of the season, the NCAA tournament was on my mind and I know it’s on my teammates’ minds throughout the season, too,” she said, “I want to go I think we focus on it was a great opportunity two years ago I want to go again What could be better than going dancing? I love to dance I want to dance there too ”

Aside from Harding, BYU has received contributions from several players Tegan Graham scored 14 points, including four 3-points Gonzales had 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists Lauren Gustin added 10 points and 10 rebounds Sara Hamson controlled eight points and five Rebounds at

“Tonight Paisley was offensive aggressive the other day Shaylee had to do it This is fun to train with this team It could be anyone,” said Judkins. “Tegan came in the second half and shot the ball really well Sara was offensive and defensively active. It’s been a team effort all year round. The good thing about Shaylee is that she wants to win. That’s Paisley. If you have people like that, your team can do a great job. ”

BYU is expected to be in the NCAA tournament bubble but has made a statement that it deserves a bid on the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens on Tuesday

“BYU is such a good team that we have faced all year, they have shown that they can beat a top 20 program in Gonzaga,” said Goodenbour. “Tomorrow’s matchup will be good. It would be great, to receive two NCAA offers for the WCC ”

BYU Basketball

World News – USA – BYU Women’s Basketball: Cougars pack San Francisco for a dominant 85-55 win in the semifinals of the WCC tournament

Source: https://www.deseret.com/sports/2021/3/8/22318926/byu-cougars-womens-basketball-san-francisco-wcc-tournament-semifinals