BYU Lands At-Large Bid, Will Face Rutgers In 2021 Women’s NCAA Tournament

Mar 15, 2021, 5:53 PM | Updated: 5:54 pm

PROVO, Utah – There was a lot of concern as to whether BYU would receive a bid for the Women’s NCAA Tournament or not. Now they know, and the Cougars are in the field of 64 that will be played in San Antonio, Texas.

One of the last four teams to receive an at-large bid, BYU landed an 11-seed and will face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights from the Big Ten Conference in the Mercado Region.

BYU will play on Monday, March 22. This is the Cougars second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid in years that the tournament has been played. Last year, the women’s NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

BYU entered Selection Monday squarely on the bubble after a heartbreaking loss to Gonzaga at the buzzer in the championship round of the WCC Tournament.

Head Coach Jeff Judkins, the winningest coach in BYU basketball history (men or women’s), is headed to his 10th NCAA Tournament as head coach at BYU. On the opposing sideline features one of women’s basketball’s greatest coaches in C. Vivian Stringer, who is in her 26th season coaching the Scarlet Knights. She has led Rutgers to two Final Fours (2000, 2007).

A trio of stars leads BYU, and it starts with WCC Co-Player of the Year Shaylee Gonzales, who rose to national prominence her freshman season during the NCAA Tournament in 2019. Gonzales led BYU to the Round of 32 two years ago and scored 32 points in a loss to the Cardinal.

Supporting Gonzales is a pair of First Team All-WCC selections in guard Paisley Johnson Harding and JUCO transfer Lauren Gustin. Harding and Gonzales form one of the best backcourt tandems out west. Gustin is one of the nation’s top rebounders and has been a consistent double-double for BYU.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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