Courtesy BYU Photo
FILE: BYU's Malia Nawahine forces a turnover against San Diego during an NCAA women's basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 in Provo, Utah.
They just crash (the boards) really hard and they wanted that rebound. —BYU’s Brenna Chase

LAS VEGAS — San Diego tracked down a slew of offensive rebounds, then capitalized by scoring off those extra opportunities, and eliminated BYU in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference women’s basketball tournament.

The No. 6 seeded Toreros swept No. 3 BYU during the regular season and they defeated the Cougars again, 61-56, Thursday night at Orleans Arena.

BYU outshot USD, 46 percent to 41 percent, but San Diego outrebounded the Cougars, 37-19, which included 15 offensive boards that the Toreros turned into 22 second-chance points, compared to one second-chance point for BYU.

“It’s the same story as the two other games that we lost to them,” said Cougar guard Malia Nawahine, who scored 16 points.

“They just crash (the boards) really hard and they wanted that rebound,” said BYU’s Brenna Chase, who also finished with 16 points. “We wanted it, too.”

For the Cougars, it was yet another disappointing loss to USD.

“We lost three times like this to San Diego, right down to the wire,” said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. “But I’m so proud of how our team played tonight.”

With the win, USD (16-14) advanced to Monday’s semifinals while the Cougars (16-14) are heading home.

BYU made an impressive comeback late in the game. The Cougars trailed by eight points, 48-40, in the third quarter but rallied in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 50-49 with five minutes remaining.

But BYU couldn’t retake the lead.

“This team never gives up. We were down with seven minutes to go and fought back," Judkins said. "We just didn’t make some plays that we needed to make when we made that run.”

Chase missed a 3-pointer with about 50 seconds left that would have tied the game at 56.

“If Brenna makes that shot, we probably would be sitting in a different position right now,” Judkins said.

With 18.8 seconds remaining, USD’s Maya Hood drilled a jumper that all but sealed the victory for the Toreros. USD led at that point, 58-53.

“Hood’s tough,” Judkins said. “She brings that toughness to her team.”

Hood scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Caroline Buhr had 15 points and eight rebounds.

“One thing we do well is rebound and give ourselves extra opportunities,” Buhr said.

BYU senior guard Cassie Devashrayee, who averages 19 points per game, was held to 12 points on 4 of 10 shooting.

With 6:17 left in the first quarter, Devashrayee injured her ankle while driving to the basket. She was down on the baseline, writhing in pain and grabbing her leg. Devashrayee came back from the injury with a minute left in the quarter and scored two buckets, including a jumper with two seconds left in the first quarter. BYU and USD were tied at 13 heading into the second quarter.

During the game, Devashrayee was knocked down a few times by the aggressive, physical Toreros.

“She’s a winner. You saw tonight how competitive she is, how tough she is,” Judkins said. “She got beat up every night. Every team puts their best player on her. They try to be physical with her and she bounced back.”

“Cassie’s so tough. She’s one of the toughest people I’ve ever known,” Chase said. “She leads us even when getting knocked around.”