Cougars enjoy year of firsts while shooting for first conference title in WCC

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Las Vegas – The 2014 West Coast Conference Tournament tips off tonight at the Orleans Arena for the coveted automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 10 seed Loyola Marymount Lions face off against the No. 7 Portland Pilots in the first round, with the winner advancing to play the No. 2 BYU Cougars, following which the No. 9 Santa Clara Broncos will play the No. 8 Pacific Tigers for the chance to play the top seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Tyler Haws drives to the basket uncontested Feb. 6 against Santa Clara. Photo by Sarah Hill
Tyler Haws drives to the basket uncontested Feb. 6 against Santa Clara. Photo by Sarah Hill

 

BYU, now in its third season in the WCC, enjoyed many firsts, still in its infancy in the conference, although no longer the newest member. That title belongs to Pacific, who is in its inaugural year.

For the first time in the three WCC years, BYU beat every opponent in conference at least once, including the first-ever conference win against Saint Mary’s. The Cougars also recorded a perfect 9-0 record at home during conference play, a first in the new conference years, as well as a first since the 2008 season.

Another first came when the conference awarded the WCC player of the year to Tyler Haws, the first time a player from BYU won the award. Haws was the conference’s leading scorer and the nation’s sixth best scorer, averaging 23.4 points per game.

However, with all the newfound firsts this season, the Cougars are still looking for another: their first conference title since the 2000-01 season, before even head coach Dave Rose helmed the team.

It all starts tonight.

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