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Toreros Prep for WCC Opener

Jan. 7, 2008

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IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (9-5) will hit the road for their West Coast Conference opener as they travel to the Bay Area to take on the University of San Francisco on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the War Memorial Gym.

LAST TIME OUT: Four University of San Diego women's basketball players recorded double figures paced by junior center Amber Sprague's 28 to help lift the Toreros (9-5) to a 89-83 overtime win over UC Irvine (4-11) Sunday afternoon in a non-conference game at the Bren Center. With her game-high 28 points, Sprague has moved her career point total to 999, just one point shy of becoming the 10th player in the history of the program to achieve the 1,000 career-point total. Kiva Herman was the second USD player in double figures with 18 points, Sam Child tied a career-high with 15 points and the final USD player in double figures was Morgan Henderson, who had 15 points. Senior guard Amanda Rego notched up 11 assists in the win. As a team, USD shot 44 percent from the field and were out rebounded 43-39. The Toreros opened the game with an 8-0 run sparked by a Herman jumper and capped by a Brianna Estell jumper to give USD the early momentum. The Toreros continued to keep the pedal to the medal in the first frame as they quickly built their lead up to 10 at 15-5 on a Sprague lay-up with just 15:58 remaining. USD would go on to build their lead up to as many as 12 on several occasions and would maintain a double digit margin going into the break with a 45-35 lead. In the second half, it was more of the same, as the Toreros opened the frame with a 13-6 run sparked on a Sprague jumper and capped on an Estell lay-up to give the Toreros a 17-point cushion at 58-41 with 14:46 remaining. The Anteaters didn't fade away as they would bring that gap all the way down to four on a 19-2 run over the next three and a half minutes to move the score to 64-60 in favor of USD. After the two teams battled back and forth a bit, the Anteaters would eventually take a four-point lead at 76-72 with 4:06 remaining in the game. The Toreros would then respond with an 6-2 run to push the game into overtime. In the overtime period, a Henderson three-pointer would begin things for the Toreros, as they grabbed the lead and never let go. Irvine would tie things up at 83-83, but a Child jumper gave USD back the lead for good, as they would go on to score the final six points of the game to claim the win.

SCOUTING THE DONS: San Francisco enters the week with a 9-6 overall record after having this past week off. The Dons are currently riding a six-game winning streak and haven't lost a game since Nov. 28, a 96-61 setback. to Stanford. The Dons are leading the all-time series 23-22 after upsetting the Toreros in the first round of the WCC Championships this past season. The Toreros and Dons share two common opponents on the season with both teams defeating Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. The Dons are led by senior forward Dominique Carter, who has a team-leading 21.0 points per game average to go along with 7.0 rebounds per game. Three other USF player are averaging double figures in Shay Rollins (12.4 ppg), Heidi Hintz (10.5 ppg) and Necolia Simmons (10.2 ppg). The Dons are under the direction of second-year head coach Tanya Haave. During her tenure on the hill top, Haave has posted an overall record of 19-27.

BLOCK PARTY: Amber Sprague recorded a career-high six blocks in Sunday's win over UC Irvine. With her six blocks, the Toreros also received two blocks from Sam Child and one from Emily Hatch to record a season-high nine blocks. The Toreros are currently averaging 4.1 blocks per game. Sprague still sits fourth all-time in career blocks with 125, just 12 behind Lynda Jones (1988-92) for third all-time.

SPRAGUE NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior center Amber Sprague of the University of San Diego women's basketball team was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week, it was announced by the conference office Monday afternoon. Sprague, a 6-5 junior from San Diego, helped pace the Toreros to a 89-83 overtime win over UC Irvine this past Sunday, as she poured in a game-high 28 points and recorded a career-high six blocks. With her 28 points, she has now moved her career-point total to 999, just one point shy of becoming the 10th player in the history of the program to reach 1,000 career points. On the season, Sprague leads the team in scoring with a 17.4 points per game average to go along with a team-best 7.7 rebounds per game average.

CLOSING IN ON 1,000: With her 28-points against UC Irvine this past Sunday, senior center Amber Sprague has moved her career point total to 999, just one point shy of becoming the 10th player in the history of the program to achieve this feat and also becoming just the third player to do it in three seasons. Considering Sprague has never been held scoreless in a single game during her career, she should be able to achieve this task in Saturday's game against San Francisco. The last player to reach the 1,000 point plateau at USD was current assistant coach Tiara Harris, during the 2005-06 season.

HENDERSON HAS A BIG GAME: Sophomore Morgan Henderson recorded 15 points in Sunday's win over UC Irvine, her fifth double figure performance of the season and first since the 17-point outburst against Dayton on Nov. 25. In Sunday's win over Irvine, Henderson scored six of USD's 11 points in overtime to help propel the Toreros to victory. On the season, Henderson is averaging 9.5 points per game and pulling down 5.8 rebounds per game.

LOOKING FOR 100: San Diego head basketball coach Cindy Fisher is just two wins shy of earning her 100th career victory. Fisher, in her third year as the Toreros' head coach, currently boasts a 98-114 career-record over her eight seasons as a head coach between stints at the University of Wyoming and San Diego.

CHILD TIES A CAREER-HIGH: Freshman guard Sam Child tied a career-high with 15 points in Sunday's win over UC Irvine. In the game, Child was an impressive 6-for-8 from the floor. She previously scored 15 points in the Toreros upset win over UCLA on Dec. 8, as she was again impressive from the floor hitting 5-of-8 shots. This also marks the third consecutive game that Child has recorded double figures, having scored 11 points against Appalachian State and 10 points against Texas. On the season, Child has moved her average up to 8.6 points per game to go along with 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting 48 percent from the field.

BACK-TO-BACK DOUBLE DIGIT ASSISTS FOR REGO: Senior point guard Amanda Rego recorded 11 assists in Sunday's win over the Anteaters. This marks back-to-back games for Rego to have 11 assists and third game in the past four in which she has registered double-digit assists. For the new all-time leader in career-assists at USD, this was her fifth game this season with double digit assists, as she continues to lead the WCC in assists. Rego, the defending NCAA assist leader, currently is second in the nation in assists per game at 8.6.

HERMAN HAS ANOTHER BIG GAME: With her 18 point performance against UC Irvine on Sunday, junior forward Kiva Herman has now scored in double figures in four of the last five games and eight of the last 10 games. This is truly Herman's breakout season as she is the team's second leading scorer with a 12.9 points per game average and she leads the team in field goal percentage at .478.

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.