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BYU women punch ticket to NCAA Tournament, defeat San Francisco in WCC title game

Coach Judkins has coached BYU to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For the second consecutive season, the BYU Cougars women's basketball team will be playing in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars continued their hot shooting from Monday's upset over Gonzaga to burn past 6-seed San Francisco 76-65 Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas.

BYU's shooting display was led by a big three of Lexi Eaton, Morgan Bailey, and Makenzi Morrison in the contest. Eaton scored 22, Bailey added 20, and Morrison's hot hand from deep pitched in 19. Morrison was 9-of-14 from downtown this week.

As a team, BYU shot 26-of-51 (51%) from the field and 11-of-22 (50%) from three.

USF trimmed the deficit to 10 on five different occasions in the second half, and each time the Cougars answered. With San Francisco hanging around at 57-47, BYU hit a quick 7-1 run on a Morrison three, a Bailey hook, and an Eaton steal and breakaway layup to go up 64-48.

A Bailey lay up while being fouled made it 68-53 with 3:14 left, putting the game out of reach.

After going down 20-17 in the first half, the Cougars began to pour it on from behind the arc. During a 16-0 run, BYU got two triples apiece from Eaton and Kylie Maeda to take a 33-20 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

The two teams traded baskets until Morgan Bailey found Makenzi Morrison open on the wing, and Morrison nailed her third 3-pointer in as many first-half tries to give BYU a 39-24 lead. San Francisco answered to make it a 39-27 game at halftime. BYU shot 8-of-11 from behind the arc in the first half.

Last season, BYU lost to Gonzaga in the WCC title game and earned a 12-seed in the NCAA Tournament where it upset (5) N.C. State and (4) Nebraska on the way to the Sweet 16.

Eaton was named the WCC tournament's most outstanding player, and Bailey and Morrison were named to the all-tournament team.

BYU will learn its tournament matchup during the selection show, which will air Mon., March 16 at 5 pm MT on ESPN.