LAS VEGAS – Thousands of fans cheered as fourth seed Santa Clara took on fifth seed Gonzaga in the first round of the women’s West Coast Conference tournament March 3 at the Orleans Arena.
“Put your thighs away… BYU is here!” a Santa Clara student yells from the stands at a player with double-rolled shorts like Zac Seljaas.
That’s not even the funniest part.
Neither BYU basketball team had shown up for the tournament yet.
With two tournament titles on the women’s side and six NCAA tournament appearances between the two teams in the last five years, the Cougars are always a tough team to beat and it’s no surprise WCC fans were intimidated for the tournament match-ups with the Cougars.
“Tomorrow is going to be crazy. We have to play BYU… yeah, no thanks,” a San Francisco band member said after their women’s team advanced to the championship game.
Fans from all over the west coast had something to say about BYU.
“We don’t hate anyone. We are from Pepperdine and everyone is a child of God,” a Pepperdine student said. “BYU fans are pretty classy, but it depends on which ones you talk to. The little old BYU men screaming at the men’s BYU game was hilarious. But then they were balanced out by the cute little BYU children that are everywhere. There are so many of them!”
Gonzaga, who eliminated BYU during Monday’s semifinal game, drew lots of fans to the tournament that were respectful of BYU fans.
“BYU is a good competitor for Gonzaga,” one woman said.
“They are good fans and they like their team. They have a great following,” another family said.
Even the student section agreed.
“BYU fans have a lot of energy,” a Gonzaga student said. “Especially the students.”
Yet others were a bit more opinionated.
“What do I think of BYU fans? I decline to respond,” a San Francisco fan said half-jokingly. “They are fans. Very loyal to their school,” his twin brother chipped in.
The BYU women’s basketball team lost to San Francisco in the finals Tuesday afternoon. Win or lose, the Cougars continue to hold their reputation as loyal fans of a successful basketball program.