But while Gonzaga's lackluster showing in the final gets top billing thanks to their No. 1 ranking, what shouldn't be lost is the great game plan and execution by Saint Mary's. The Gaels held the nation's highest-scoring team to just 47 and forced the Zags into 2-of-17 shooting from 3-point range.
Saint Mary's narrowly failed to reach the NCAA Tournament previous year after falling to Brigham Young in the second round of the conference tourney.
Gonzaga were expected to dominate after winning 30 of their 33 games this season, but St Mary's, headed by Sydney centre Jordan Hunter and Hobart guard Tanner Krebs, never faltered.
Two of those wins came against Saint Mary's: 66-55 in Moraga and 94-46 in Spokane.
The Bulldogs cruised into their 20th straight title game under coach Mark Few - and 22nd overall - by crushing Pepperdine 100-74 in Monday's semifinals.
Saint Mary's controlled the pace in round three against Gonzaga, bogging down the Zags' offense and forcing them into hard shots.
"Gonzaga likes to get out and run, they feed off energy", Ford said.
Syracuse: The Orange (19-12, 10-8 ACC) will play Pittsburgh on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament and if they can take care of business, would win their 20th game and be in good position to earn a bid.
The Nor'easters (2-2) scored the first seven goals of the game - with two goals each from both Nichole Carvalho and Casey Conwell - and opened a 13-3 halftime lead to beat the Eagles (0-1) at Hilton Head, South Carolina. By the time the reality of the upset set in, the confidence Saint Mary's had gained from leading for most of the game powered them through in the final minutes.
Saint Mary's continued to bog down Gonzaga and Fitts scored eight quick points to open the second half. Hachimura attempted just six shots and made three while going 3 for 6 on free throws.