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Las Vegas • Gonzaga didn't shoot the ball particularly well in its 62-43 win over BYU on Saturday in the West Coast Conference women's basketball semifinals.
The Zags didn't have to. Their defensive pressure the primary reason for BYU shooting 32 percent from the field (16 of 50) was more than enough to deliver the easy win, after the Cougars upset them in last year's tournament championship game.
"I don't think we've ever played such a physically tough game," said Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves, a former Utahn. "We were out there being tough, and mentally we were in it the whole time, with the right mindset."
A day after going 13 for 28 from 3-point range, BYU was 2 for 16 in losing to Gonzaga for the third time this season. Rarely did the Cougars get an open shot, and senior point guard Haley Steed especially found the going rough.
"With BYU, you have to pick your poison," Graves said. "They have arguably one of the best guards in the nation, a post [Jennifer Hamson] that demands attention, and they shoot remarkably well. Today, we made them score two at a time and we did a pretty good job."
Offensively, Gonzaga shot just 37.7 percent and was 2 for 14 from 3-point range. The Zags were sloppy with the ball early, but finished with just 13 turnovers while forcing 22.
"Gonzaga is a really good team, and they beat us three times this year," said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. "I know it is hard to beat somebody three times in a row, but they did it. So give them credit. They have a very balanced, strong team."
Judkins was visibly frustrated with the officiating the whole game, and his frustration boiled over late when the outcome was no longer in doubt, resulting in a technical foul.
"I thought [the officials] let them get real physical with us, push us, and they wouldn't let us do the same," he said. "As a team, as a player, you have to adjust to it. ... I just let her know, she is going to referee our games next year, that, 'Hey, you can't let us get pushed like that all the time. You have got to be more consistent.' "
Eighteen fouls were called on BYU, 12 on Gonzaga.