Jan. 2, 2008
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (8-5) will hit the road for their final West Coast Conference tune-up as they travel to play UC Irvine on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game inside the Bren Events Center.
LAST TIME OUT: The University of Texas' Carla Cortijo hit a jumper with 3.7 seconds left to lift the 19th-ranked Longhorns to an 81-79 win over the University of San Diego women's basketball team on Sunday night in the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic championship game at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion. Amanda Rego led the Toreros offensively as she had a season-high 22 points, racked up a game-high 11 assists and also managed to pull down eight rebounds. Amber Sprague, the tournament's MVP, recorded a game-high 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the floor and freshman Sam Child was the third USD player in double figures as she had 10 points. As a team, the Toreros shot 45 percent from the floor and were out rebounded 42-34. Texas jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first half, but a Morgan Henderson lay-up sparked a 7-2 USD run to pull the Toreros back to within five at 12-5 with 16:17 remaining in the first half. The Toreros would manage to keep things within nine for a majority of the first half, until Texas took their first double-digit lead at 27-17 with 11:41 to go on a Ashley Lindsey jumper. After Brianna Estell recorded the next four points on a 3-pointer and a free throw to pull USD back to within six at 21-21, the Longhorns would go on an 8-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 35-21 with just 8:24 remaining in the first half. The Toreros then outscored the Longhorns 14-6 over the next eight minutes to go into the break only down six at 41-36. In the second half, the two teams were again in a sea saw battle right out of the gates as they began to trade basket-for-basket, but Texas would eventually build their lead back to double-digits at 41-50 with 15:08 remaining. But the Toreros wouldn't allow Texas to get to far ahead as they continued to battle behind the inspired play of Rego, who seemed to take over offensively for the Toreros in the second half as she scored 13 of her 22 points in the frame. The Toreros continually remained with in 7-9 points behind the Longhorns. Then with 6:09 remaining in the game and the Toreros trailing 71-62, Rego hit a pair of free throws that sparked a 12-2 Toreros run that was capped off on back-to-back jumpers by Sprague to give the Toreros their first lead of the game at 74-73 with just 2:04 remaining. After a Texas timeout, the Longhorns would score the next four points to take a three-point lead at 77-74 on a pair of Brittainey Raven free throws. The two teams then traded a basket each and with 0:21 seconds remaining, Rego drove down the lane and was fouled on a lay-up attempt. Rego then in turn hit both free throws to tie things up.
SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS: UC Irvine enters the game with an overall record of 4-9 after dropping a pair of games to Hawaii and William and Mary this past week. In fact, the Anteaters are currently riding a five game losing streak. The Toreros hold a 13-11 edge in the all-time series over UCI with the last meeting coming in the 2005-06 season with the Toreros claiming a 78-48 win in San Diego. Irvine and USD have one common opponent thus far through the season in Cal State Bakersfield, with UCI claiming a 74-61 win over the Roadrunners and USD dropping a 76-66 decision to CSUB. The Anteaters are led by senior forward Stephanie Duda, who has a team-best 13.4 points per game average to go along with 10.6 rebounds per contest. Kelly Cochran is the only other UCI player averaging double figures as she has a 11.2 points per game average to go along with a 6.9 rebounds per game average. The Anteaters are under the direction of fourth year head coach Molly Tuter. During her tenure in Irvine, Tuter has posted an overall record of 27-66.
A VIEW FROM THE TOP: Senior point guard Amanda Rego recorded 20 assists this past weekend to move her into first all-time in career assists with 497, passing a 23 year old record held by Lori Morris (1980-84) of 480. In fact, Rego has basically rewritten the USD record book as she currently holds three all-time career-records, (steals, steals per game and assists per game), four single-season records (steals, steal per game, assists and assists per game) as well as two single-game records (assists and steals). On the season, Rego is averaging 9.1 points per game and 8.3 assists per game.
A PAIR OF ALL-TOURNAMENT SELECTIONS: Both Amanda Rego and Amber Sprague were selected to the All-Tournament team of the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic this past weekend with Sprague taking home MVP honors. Sprague paced the USD offense this past weekend with 41 points and seven rebounds while shooting .531 from the field. In the championship game against Texas, Sprague was almost an unstoppable force as she had a game-high 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor. Rego was also a huge help for the Toreros as she averaged 10.0 assists per game. In the championship game against Texas, Rego had a near triple-double as she recorded a season-high 22 points, had a game-high 11 assists and pulled down eight rebounds.
TOREROS GETTING RED HOT LATELY: Over the past seven games, the Toreros have posted a 5-2 record, including winning four in a row before falling to Texas this past Sunday. During this stretch, several players have been impressive led by Amber Sprague who has averaged 19.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. Kiva Herman has averaged 11.9 points per game and Amanda Rego has been stellar as she has averaged 10.1 ppg, 8.7 assists per game and recorded 21 steals. Freshman Sam Child has also been impressive as she has averaged 9.0 points per game, while shooting .540 from the floor. Another big help has been the play of Brianna Estell. She has racked up 14 assists, while averaging 5.1 points per game. Not only are her offensive stats impressive, but it is her overall play that has helped USD to a 5-2 record over this stretch. She has played great defense, and has been a catalyst for several of USD's key runs in a win against Cal State Fullerton and a heart breaking loss to San Diego State.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000: With her 23-points against Texas on Sunday, senior center Amber Sprague has moved her career point total to 971. Considering she is averaging 16.5 points per game this season, she could achieve this mark in the WCC opener against San Francisco on Jan. 12. Sprague is closing in on becoming only the third Torero in the history of the program to achieve this feat in three seasons and the 10th player all-time to reach this mark. The last player to reach the 1,000 point plateau is current assistant coach Tiara Harris, during the 2005-06 season.
LOOKING FOR 100: San Diego head basketball coach Cindy Fisher is just three wins shy of earning her 100th career victory. Fisher, in her third year as the Toreros' head coach, currently boasts a 97-114 career-record over her eight seasons as a head coach between stints at the University of Wyoming and San Diego.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: With 11 more double digit scoring performances under her belt this season, junior center Amber Sprague extended her scoring streak to 64 consecutive games. In fact, Sprague has scored a minimum of four points in every game she has played in a Torero uniform. The San Diego, Calif., native has 48 career double-digit scoring performances in 61 games and after a season-high 30-point performance against UCLA and a 23-point outburst against No. 19 Texas, she now has 14 career 20-point or more outings. Sprague has scored 971 points during her current streak, averaging 14.8 ppg, and shooting .461 (387-for-839) from the floor and .862 (225-for-261) from the free throw line. Sprague is on pace to surpass the 1,000 career points mark this season to become just the 10th player in the history of the program to achieve this feat. Should she do it this season, she will only be the third Torero to achieve this honor in three years, joining the all-time leading scorer Susie Erpelding (1,510 pts. 1996-2000) and Debbie Theroux (1,015 pts. 1983-86). On the season, Sprague is averaging 13.3 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.
TOREROS TO HAVE THREE GAMES ON TV: This season the Toreros will be featured live on TV for three games. The games against Pacific on December 15th and Gonzaga on January 17th will be aired locally on Channel 4. USD's game against Loyola Marymount University on Jan. 31 will be televised live on ESPNU.
REGO'S TRIPLE-DOUBLE: San Diego senior point guard Amanda Rego recorded the first triple-double in program history in a Nov. 11 win over Toledo. Rego posted 11 points, had a team-best 13 rebounds and a game-high 10 assists. Rego came close this past season at recording a triple-double in a game against Holy Cross as she had nine points, 13 assists and a program-record 10 steals in a win over the Crusaders in the opening game of the Surf N' Slam Tournament.
TOREROS TABBED AS THE WCC PRESEASON FAVORITE: San Diego was chosen as the favorite to claim the West Coast Conference women's basketball title, edging out defending conference champion Gonzaga in the 2007-08 WCC preseason coaches poll. The Toreros, who set a program record with 21 wins and hosted a WNIT contest for the first time last season, received four first place votes and totaled 58 overall points, while the Bulldogs garnered three first place votes, and received 55 total points to finish second in the annual coaches poll. Gonzaga, who is coming off their first NCAA Tournament appearance was picked to finish second. Pepperdine came in third in the voting followed by Loyola Marymount at fourth. Saint Mary's was picked to finish fifth and San Francisco sixth. Santa Clara (seventh) and Portland (eighth) round out the preseason coaches poll.
MEET THE COACH: Head coach Cindy Fisher is entering her third season at the helm of the Toreros program. She was named the program's third head coach on April 19, 2005 after taking over for Kathy Marpe, who stepped down after directing the program for 25 years in 2005. In only her second season at the helm of the program, Fisher orchestrated the biggest turn around in school history, a 12-game improvement from 9-19 in the 2005-06 season to a 21-9 record in 2006-07 season. The turn around was the fourth best in the nation. Under her tutelage, the Toreros placed three players on the All-WCC lists highlighted by Amanda Rego being named the WCC Co-Player of the Year. Rego and Amber Sprague both took home first-team All-WCC honors and Morgan Henderson was named to the All-WCC Freshman team. For her efforts, Fisher was named the 2007 WCC Co-Coach of the Year. At Wyoming, Fisher's Cowgirl teams showed improvement in each of her five seasons, culminating with an 18-12 mark during the 2002-03 season. The 18 wins were the school's most victories since 1989-90. She also led the Cowgirls to their first postseason appearance since 1989-90 with a trip to the 2003 WNIT, where Wyoming notched a first-round win over Montana before falling in the second round.
THREE TOREROS OUT FOR THE SEASON: Junior guard Kelly Winther, sophomore forward Sara VanderHorst and redshirt freshman guard Hannah Morgenstern are all out for the season. Winther and VanderHorst will take a redshirt year. Winther had the second highest points-per-game average for the Toreros a year ago with 10.9 and she led the team in three-point shooting with a team-best 37 three-pointers made. VanderHorst saw limited action in 2006-07 as she scored 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in 16 games.
GAMETRACKER AVAILABLE: All San Diego women's basketball home games can be followed via Gametracker on the Toreros athletic web site at www.usdtoreros.com. Gametracker is a service of Online College Sports, the official web provider for San Diego athletics, and is a real time update of the action. Selected San Diego road games are also available via Gametracker. To see if Gametracker is available for a game, go to San Diego Events at the top-right of the home page. If Gametracker is available there will be a Gametracker link.