Shaylee Gonzales looks to pass the ball against San Diego. (Decker Westenburg)

BYU women’s basketball completes season sweep over San Diego with 70-48 win

Make it eight-straight wins for No. 16 BYU women’s basketball, who sank the San Diego Toreros for the second time in three days Monday evening in Provo, 70-48.

As was the case in Saturday’s matchup, San Diego again proved to be BYU’s sharpest, most aggressive West Coast Conference thorn in their side to create Cougar turnovers and force a heavy grind on every early possession.

Despite the opposing physicality, BYU still had Shaylee Gonzales, Lauren Gustin and Paisley Harding, which is almost always a winning formula for Jeff Judkins and company.

“This is a hard team to play because they play physical,” Judkins said of the Toreros. “I thought tonight we won the game because of our defense.”

The Cougars swiped 11 steals, swatted four blocks and protected the perimeter to limit San Diego to 1-of-12 shooting from deep. After an off night against San Diego on Saturday, Gustin overcame the quick turnaround to record her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points, 13 rebounds and an imposing defensive presence in the paint.

“She didn’t have her best game Saturday but she came in focused today,” Judkins said of Gustin. “I thought she was a real force in there.”

Gonzales led the charge with 20 points, her 10th 20-point showing this year, while Harding added 16 points and Tegan Graham tied it all together with five assists and three steals.

Each win during BYU’s current eight-game unbeaten run has come by double digits, as the Cougars move to a convincing 16-1 overall and perfect 6-0 in WCC play.

In addition, the Cougars notched their eighth win by 20-or-more points, continuing to bulldoze the opposition in their season-long statement as one of the nation’s elite squads, even tying the highest national ranking in program history earlier today with their No. 16 mark in the AP poll.

“Our team deserves all that love, but we have to focus on conference and winning games,” Gustin said. “(Being ranked) gives us exposure. I think sometimes BYU doesn’t get enough attention.”

Lauren Gustin pulls down a rebound against San Diego. (Decker Westenburg)

While the Cougars have terrorized the WCC thus far, a critical two-game homestand against Santa Clara and San Francisco will serve as BYU’s most notable test to their legitimacy since November’s St. Pete’s Showcase tournament.

“The next two games will be a tough stretch (for us),” Judkins said.

The Cougars face off against Santa Clara this Thursday at 7 p.m. in Provo.

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