Portland was set to face No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the final. The Pilots had gone 0-2 this season against the Bulldogs going into that Tuesday championship game and knew full well that it was win or go home. And the Pilots weren’t ready to go home. They were going to get Andrews and their seniors to the NCAA Tournament no matter what. “We knew it was going to be a battle,” Burnham pointed out.
“People could look at that game, you know, we were down 11 at half and we had previously lost two games to them,” Burnham explained, “I think people on the outside could have looked at us and thought we would fold over, but that was the opposite.” She continued, “We have always known that we have potential to be really good.”
So then what changed? Some words of wisdom from their teammate, Andrews. “Haylee had a conversation with each of us at half”, Burnham admitted, “reminding us that we need to do what we need, but also there’s 20 minutes left, this is supposed to be fun.”
As the Pilots charged back in the second half, their offense flowing just like they all knew it would, Portland was moments away from reclaiming the UCU WCC Basketball Tournament title for the first time since 2020. “The last 30 seconds were nerve wracking, but it was that last jump ball with Emme. I think that's when we truly knew we won.” Andrews said.
Portland took down Gonzaga, 64-60, and the Pilots punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament, as confetti rained down around them once more.