Top-Seeded Cougars Head to MWC Tournament

After winning their first regular-season MWC title since 1999, the Cougars are heading to the MWC Tournament this week in Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- No. 21 BYU heads to the Mountain West Conference Tournament this week in Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed for the first time since the league's inaugural year in 1999. With the regular-season title already in hand, the Cougars are looking to make a strong showing and improve their 23-2 overall record by winning the tournament title that has eluded them since 2000.

"We look forward to the start of the Mountain West Conference Tournament," said BYU head coach Jason Watson. "Our program has shown improvement over the course of the regular season and we feel good about our direction heading into the postseason."

Play for BYU begins on Thursday at 4 p.m. PST when the Cougars face the winner of Tuesday's play-in-game between the eighth-seeded TCU Horned Frogs and the ninth-seeded Air Force Falcons. BYU will then take on either fourth-seeded and tournament-host UNLV or fifth-seeded San Diego State on Friday at 5 p.m. The Cougars swept the season series with all four of their potential quarterfinal and semifinal opponents. The championship match will be played Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Cougars have never lost in the opening round of the MWC Tournament and have advanced to the championship match in three of the league's six years. BYU is 10-5 all-time in the tournament and 2-1 as the No. 1 seed.

BYU will be playing for more than just the MWC tournament title this week as they look ahead to seeding in the NCAA Tournament, which begins Dec. 1 at locations to be determined. The Cougars have a good chance of hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament if they perform well this week.

For the second year in a row, CSTV will provide coverage of the 2005 MWC Volleyball Championship, airing seven of the eight matches being played. Live coverage is available for every match of the Tournament with the exception of Tuesday's play-in-game, which will not be aired, and Friday's first semifinal, which will be aired tape-delayed at 10 p.m. PST. Bill Doleman will call the play-by-play while BYU's own Amy Gant will provide color commentary.

Fans of the Cougars can catch the action on the Sports Tier of Comcast Cable (Channel 269) or on the Digital Basic package of the Bresnan cable system (Channel 411). The Tournament will also be aired on DirecTV (Channel 610) and Dish Network (Channel 152). Live stats for all of BYU's tournament matches are available by going to the schedule page of BYU's women's volleyball homepage at http://www.byucougars.com/volleyball_w/.

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