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Coaches pick BYU women’s basketball to win WCC

By Daily Herald - | Oct 13, 2021

BYU Courtesy Photo

BYU's Shaylee Gonzales drives past a Portland defender during a women's college basketball game at the Marriott Center on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.

The 2021-22 BYU women’s basketball team was picked to win the West Coast Conference championship with 80 total points and eight first-place votes in the annual WCC preseason poll.

BYU earned eight of the 10 first-place votes by the league’s head coaches to Gonzaga’s two first-place marks. WCC head coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

BYU (19-6, 13-3 WCC) returns nearly its entire roster one year removed from advancing to the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament where it took eventual NCAA Runner-Up Arizona to the brink. The Cougars look to return to the NCAA Tournament behind a veteran starting lineup guided by 2021 WCC Coach of the Year Jeff Judkins, who completed his 20th season in 2020-21.

In the 2021-22 preseason edition of Charlie Crème’s Bracketology, BYU is projected as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the Spokane Region.

In addition to the preseason poll for order of finish, BYU landed three on the All-WCC preseason team, more than any other school in the conference.

Shaylee Gonzales, Lauren Gustin and Paisley Harding were named to the preseason team. Portland and San Diego both landed two players on the squad while Gonzaga, San Francisco and Santa Clara all had one representative.

Gonzales, the 2021 WCC Co-Player of the Year led the Cougars in scoring last season with 17.8 points per game. The Arizona product scored in double figures in 23 of 25 games and led the team in steals (2.4), and assists (3.6) per game.

Gustin, an AP All-America honorable mention, also earned All-WCC First-Team honors last year. The 6-foot-1 forward finished tops in the WCC and No. 6 nationally with 12.6 rebounds per game. She was No. 11 in the country with 15 double-doubles during the 2020-21 season.

Harding was BYU’s second-leading scorer with 14.1 points per game and earned All-ACC First Team accolades in 2020-21. She hit double digits in scoring in 19 of 25 games.

BYU will play a blue and white game on Oct. 28 followed by an exhibition contest against Westminster on Nov. 4 in Provo. The regular season officially begins Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Lipscomb at the Marriott Center.

WCC Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll

1. BYU (8) 80

2. Gonzaga (2) 72

3. San Diego 66

4. San Francisco 53

5. Portland 51

6. Santa Clara 40

7. Saint Mary’s 32

8. Loyola Marymount 26

9. Pepperdine 16

10. Pacific 14

All-WCC Preseason Women’s Basketball Team

Haylee Andrews, Sr. G, Portland

Jordyn Edwards, Sr. G, San Diego

Shaylee Gonzales, So. G, BYU

Lauren Gustin, So. F, BYU

Paisley Harding, Sr. G, BYU

Melody Kempton, Sr. F, Gonzaga

Ionna Krimili, So. G, San Francisco

Myah Pace, Sr. G, San Diego

Merle Wiehl, Sr. G, Santa Clara

Alex Fowler, Jr. F, Portland

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