It reeled off 21 straight victories afterward, winning each game by an average of 30.6 points.
Saint Mary's narrowly failed to reach the NCAA Tournament a year ago after falling to Brigham Young in the second round of the conference tourney. The Gaels contained Gonzaga standout and leading scorer Rui Hachimura, who averages 20.1 points per game this season, to nine points.
Saint Mary's knocks off No. 1 Gonzaga 60-47 for WCC title
"Even though I like us better with Townie and Laura, I like us just fine with anyone else", Fortier said Monday after beating Saint Mary's in double-overtime.
Gonzaga has ranked no lower than No. 8 in the nation this season and spent the past three weeks as the best team in college basketball. Gonzaga won both of the regular season matchups earlier this season.More news: Police Captures Guy With AK-47 In Westpalm Florida
Gonzaga previously dominated the conference in the regular season, posting a 16-0 record while winning by a WCC-record 27 points per game. We were able to keep them out of transition and take care of the ball.
In a defeat that was extremely unexpected, the nation's top team in the polls has lost its conference tournament. This group's tough. They're resilient, we were 3-4 to start the year and a lot of people didn't think we were good. Their counterparts from Saint Mary's screamed, danced and laughed.More news: One Direction star Louis Tomlinson's sister (18) dies after suspected heart attack
Belmont: The Bruins (26-5, 16-2 OVC) are in the same boat as UNC Greensboro, with a resume that's stuck on the bubble after losing to Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference finals while just about everyone else still has a chance to improve their resume.
Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP.More news: YouTube star Lilly Singh takes Carson Daly's late night spot
Prior to Tuesday's loss, Gonzaga hadn't suffered defeat since losing consecutive games to Tennessee on December 9 and North Carolina on December 15. Forty minutes later, Gonzaga suffered its first and only loss to a conference foe in decisive fashion by a final score of 60-47.