From the Swish Appeal:

WCC Preview: Gonzaga’s Lofty Goals Must Begin With Winning Conference
The No. 21 Gonzaga Bulldogs did not win the WCC Tournament last year after comfortably winning the regular season. This year they need to avoid a similar fate to get a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, but will be going up against the improved BYU Cougars and Portland Pilots.
By Zack Ward
Nov 21, 2020, 11:00am EST

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have finished the past two seasons ranked in the Top 16 nationally.

But due to a loss to the Oregon State Beavers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the 2020 Big Dance, the Bulldogs haven’t finished in the Top 16 the way they would like — with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.

Could this be the year Gonzaga gets back there for the first time since 2015?

The Bulldogs should have high expectations nationally with the return of 2020 WCC Player of the Year Jill Townsend as well as twins Jenn Wirth and LeeAnne Wirth. But they have to take care of business in the WCC first. They’ve won the regular-season title four years in a row, but haven’t won the conference tournament since 2018. Last year they lost to the eventual tournament champion Portland Pilots by one point in the semifinals.

The Pilots return stars Alex Fowler and Haylee Andrews and were picked to finish third in the WCC, according to the league’s head coaches. They even received a first-place vote, while the No. 2 BYU Cougars received two.

Gonzaga received the seven other first-place votes, but their path to an outright WCC title (winning both the regular-season and tournament crowns) is not going to be a cakewalk because of BYU and Portland as well as the San Diego Toreros and Saint Mary’s Gaels. And if Valerie Higgins and her sparkling stats have their say, the Pacific Tigers could be in the mix as well.
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