Undefeated in conference play in 2016 and quietly gaining momentum as the season has progressed, the BYU Cougars clinched their first West Coast Conference (WCC) title this week when they defeated San Diego 68-60 on Feb. 18 in Provo, Utah. The Cougars, 23-4 overall and 15-1 in WCC play, have now won a school-record tying 15-games in a row. BYU’s first WCC crown breaks Gonzaga’s string of 11 regular season championships in a row.
As she has done all season, BYU guard Lexi Eaton Rydalch put on a show in her senior night finale in the win over San Diego. Rydalch, who leads the WCC in scoring this season at 24.6 points per game, had 31 points, six rebounds and three assists as the Cougars improved to 5-0 in February. BYU also improved to 12-0 at home this season. The last time BYU women's basketball finished the year undefeated at home was the 1979-80 season. The win over San Diego avenged BYU’s only conference loss of the season which occurred on Dec. 23 at San Diego.
BYU appears poised to be a threat come NCAA Tournament time. Included in their wins this season was a 72-64 victory over Texas A&M in Hawaii back on Dec. 5. The Cougars average 69.0 points per game as a team and are the top assist team in the WCC, averaging 16.6 per game with an assist/turnover ratio of 1.1, also best in the league.
The Cougars have two games left in the regular season, with games at Portland on Feb. 25 and Gonzaga on Feb. 27. The WCC Basketball Championship will be held March 2-8 in Las Vegas.
Honorable mention teams of the week: Colorado State, Duquesne, Michigan State, Notre Dame and TCU.