Finishing out the season on a six game win streak and beating Gonzaga twice have led the BYU Women’s Basketball team to be likely headed to the NCAA Tournament.
There is a very good chance that a BYU Basketball team may find themselves playing in the Big Dance. It just may not be the team most people expected.
After six straight victories, BYU Women’s Basketball finds themselves back into the tournament, according to ESPN’s Charlie Creme’s Bracketology. Creme has the Cougars currently sitting at a #9 seed, playing a #8 seeded Michigan in the first round.
The Cougars, who have not seen the NCAA tournament since the 2015-2016 season, moved into the tournament bracket after their second win over Gonzaga this season. The Cougars beat the Zags in Provo back in January, and did it again on February 16th, this time in Spokane. Gonzaga was ranked 13th both times.
BYU currently sits in second place in the WCC with a 15-3 record. They sit behind only Gonzaga who sits at 14-2. If Gonzaga were to lose their final game the Cougars would win the regular season championship via the tiebreaker over the Zags.
The Cougars have a strong case to hold their position in the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens going forward.. They are 2-1 against AP Top 25 opponents, had an 11 game win streak, sit at 28th in the nation in RPI, and were ranked in the AP Top 25 earlier this season.
The last time the Cougars were in the NCAA tournament, they lost 78-69 against Missouri. The last time they won a game in the tournament was the 2013-2014 season in which the Cougars earned a 12 seed in the tournament, but were able to make it to the Sweet 16.
Perhaps the most crazy thing is that coming into the season, nobody saw BYU Women’s Basketball as a tournament team. They were coming off of a 16-14 season and knew that they would relying on a lot of young players. Their current starting five is freshman Shaylee Gonzales, sophomore Paisley Johnson, sophomore Sara Hamson, first year player Caitlin Alldredge and junior Brenna Chase. Combined, they had only four years of experience combined coming into the season.
All the Cougars likely have to do to guarantee an at-large bid is not lose terribly in the WCC Tourney. The WCC Tournament play begins March 7th, in Las Vegas.