WCC Title: Gonzaga 88 - St. Mary's 76
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga beat St. Mary's 88-76 Saturday in Spokane winning the West Coast Conference Title. Both teams were ranked: Gonzaga No. 24 and St. Mary's No. 25, with Gonzaga's only conference loss was in overtime at St. Mary's.
For starters the game featured the two premiere teams in the WCC this season as they entered the game tied atop the WCC standings with 11-1 records - the Gonzaga loss coming at the hands of the Gaels 89-85 in overtime Feb. 4.
But for the first time in WCC history - dating back to the inception of the league as the California Basketball Association when the first game was played Jan. 2, 1953 - the game featured two nationally-ranked teams.
The Bulldogs got back into the Top 25 for the first time in nine weeks, earning a No. 24 ranking by Associated Press. The Gaels enter the game 25th in the AP poll and 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25.
The two clubs were already assured of being the top two seeds into the WCC Tournament March 7-10 at the University of San Diego. Thus, the Bulldogs and Gaels are guaranteed a spot in the semifinals March 9. All that remains to be seen is who is No. 1 and who is No. 2.
If Gonzaga wins twice or Saint Mary's wins twice, that team would earn the No. 1 seed. Should Gonzaga and Saint Mary's end in a two-way tie, the Bulldogs earn the top seed by virtue of their series sweep of USD while SMC and USD split the regular-season series.
Should Gonzaga or Saint Mary's lose twice and USD win twice to create a tie for second, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's hold the tiebreakers against USD. The top seed will face the No. 6, No. 7 or No. 4 seed in the semifinals, while the No. 2 seed will face the No. 5, No. 8 or No. 3 seed in the semifinals.
(The Associated Press and gozags.com contributed to this story.)