How will BYU fare in WCC tournament under first-year coach Amber Whiting?
The fifth-seeded Cougars tip off WCC tournament play in the second round Friday (1 p.m. MST, BYUtv) against the winner of No. 8 Santa Clara and No. 9 Pepperdine at Orleans Arena
The 2022-23 season marked BYU women’s basketball coach Amber Whiting’s first year at the helm, and the Cougars’ final season in the West Coast Conference.
The fifth-seeded Cougars tip off WCC tournament play in the second round Friday (1 p.m. MST, BYUtv) against the winner of No. 8 Santa Clara and No. 9 Pepperdine at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
BYU, which has lost three straight games and seven of its last 10, fell at home 61-49 to Portland on Monday in the regular-season finale. As a result, the Cougars and San Francisco tied for fourth in the WCC standings.
BYU is led by forward Lauren Gustin, who shattered the school’s single-season rebounding record, surpassing BYU Hall of Famer Tina Gunn Robison’s mark of 462.
Gustin grabbed 24 rebounds against the Pilots, tying the Marriott Center record for the second time this season. Gustin finished the regular season with 478 rebounds going into the WCC tournament. She also scored a team-high 15 points to record her 25th double-double of the season.
BYU (14-15, 9-9) received the No. 5 seed due to conference seeding tiebreakers, while the Dons earned the No. 4 seed.
During the regular season, the Cougars split series with both Santa Clara and Pepperdine.
BYU lost 69-59 at home to the Broncos on Jan. 21, then beat them on the road 78-72 on Feb. 16.
Meanwhile, the Cougars defeated the Waves 63-52 in Malibu on Jan. 14 and lost 64-63 to them at home on Feb. 9.
If BYU can advance past the second round, it will face San Francisco in Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Gonzaga is the No. 1 seed after capturing the regular-season championship and Portland is the No. 2 seed. Both teams were awarded triple byes and will advance to Monday’s semifinals.
The winner of Pepperdine/Santa Clara/BYU/San Francisco will take on the Bulldogs on Monday.
San Diego, which has won seven of its last nine games, is the No. 3 seed.
Last year, in what turned out to be Jeff Judkins’ final season, BYU was the top seed and lost in the championship game to No. 2 Gonzaga.
This year, the Cougars are hoping to go out with a bang in their final WCC tournament appearance.