Jan. 18, 2008
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (9-7, 0-2 West Coast) will welcome the University of Portland to town on Saturday for a 2 p.m. West Coast Conference tilt at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion.
LAST TIME OUT: The University of San Diego women's basketball team made a late push, paced by junior forward Kiva Herman's career-high 28 points, but it wasn't enough as the Gonzaga University Bulldogs downed the Toreros, 83-76, Thursday evening in a West Coast Conference game at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. With the loss, the Toreros fall to 9-7 overall and 0-2 in the WCC. With the win, the Zags improve to 12-6 overall and 3-0 in the WCC. Herman scored her career and game-high 28 points on an impressive 10-for-15 performance from the floor, to go along with eight rebounds. Sam Child was also impressive from the field as the freshman scored 14 points, including going 4-for-6 from the three-point line. Amanda Rego had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 assists. As a team, the Toreros shot 48 percent from the floor and were edged in rebounds, 31-30. Gonzaga grabbed the first five points of the game, but a Herman floater in the paint ignited a 6-0 Toreros run to give USD a brief one-point lead at 6-5. The two teams then began to trade basket-for-basket over the next several minutes, then with the score knotted up at 16-16 with 11:05 remaining in the half, the Zags put together a 8-1 run to gain the momentum and take a 24-17 lead with 8:43 remaining. Child then hit a 3-pointer, followed by Amber Sprague lay-up and a Herman jumper to pull USD even with Gonzaga at 24-24 with 5:51 to go in the first half. The Bulldogs then closed the half on a 19-6 run to take a 13-point lead into the break at 43-31. In the second half, the Zags wasted no time in scoring as they opened the frame with a 14-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 55-33 with 15:26 remaining. Gonzaga would maintain that 20-point margin over the next four minutes, then with the score at 62-42 in favor of GU, a Morgan Henderson 3-pointer ignited a spark in the Toreros offense as USD began to slowly chip away at the lead with 9:31 remaining in the game. After the Zags weathered USD's small run and built back up a 17-point lead at 70-53 with 5:21 to go, the Toreros launched a furious come-back attempt. Herman hit a jumper off a pass from Rego, which sparked a 13-2 USD run that was capped on a pair of Herman free throws, bringing the Toreros to within nine at 72-63 with 2:59 remaining in the game. San Diego would eventually get the lead down to as few as five on several occasions, but in the end could not over come the 22-point deficit.
SCOUTING THE PILOTS: Portland enters the week with a 11-7 overall record and a 1-2 mark in the WCC after dropping a decision to San Francisco this past Thursday. The Pilots hold a 27-23 edge over the Toreros, but USD has won the past three meetings between the two programs. Portland is led by Laiken Dollente, who has a team-best 15.6 points per game average to go along with a team-best 53 assists on the season. Rachel Warren is the only other player on the roster who averages in double figures, as she scores 10.5 points per game to go along with a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. The Pilots are under the direction of 22nd-year head coach Jim Sollars. During his tenure in Portland, Sollars has amassed an overall record of 296-325.
SPRAGUE REACHES A MILESTONE: Junior center Amber Sprague became just this 10th player in the history of the program to surpass the 1,000 career-point total in Saturday's loss to San Francisco. She also has become just the third player to reach 1,000 points in three seasons joining the all-time leading scorer Susie Erpelding (1,510 points) and Debbie Theroux (1,015 points). With her 17 points Saturday plus her nine points on Thursday, Sprague has moved her career total to 1,025 which moves her into ninth all-time in career points at USD. For the season, Sprague is averaging a team-best 16.8 points per game to go along with a team-best 8.1 rebounds per game.
KIVA SETS A NEW CAREER-HIGH: Junior forward Kiva Herman recorded a new career-high with 28 points in Thursday's loss against Gonzaga. Herman shot an impressive 10-for-15 from the field including going 8-for-9 from the charity stripe. Herman was one of the main reason's USD was able to make a late push in the game against Gonzaga. On the season, Herman is averaging 13.8 points per game ,the second highest on the team. Herman's pervious career-high was 19 that she scored against the University of Dayton on Nov. 25, 2007.
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 98-116 career-record over her eight seasons as a head coach between stints at the University of Wyoming and San Diego.
REGO NOTCHES ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Senior point guard Amanda Rego notched up her third double-double of the season in Thursday's loss to the Bulldogs. Rego was one of three Toreros in double figures as she scored 12 points and she had a game-high 10 assists.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Many Toreros hold lofty spots in the West Coast Conference statistics. Amber Sprague is the league's second leading scorer with 16.8 points per game, is second in rebounds per game at 8.1 and is tied for second in blocked shots with 2.13 per game. Amanda Rego leads the league with 8.4 assists per contest, leads the league in steals per game at 2.6 and Morgan Henderson sports the league's second best free throw percentage at .865.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: With 13 more double digit scoring performances under her belt this season, junior center Amber Sprague extended her scoring streak to 65 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 50 career double-digit scoring performances in 66 games and after a season-high 30-point performance against UCLA and a 28-point outburst against UC Irvine, she now has 15 career 20-point or more outings. Sprague has scored 1,016 points during her current streak, averaging 15.4 ppg, and shooting .463 (411-for-888) from the floor and .865 (231-for-268) from the free throw line.
HERMAN HAS ANOTHER BIG GAME: With her 11 point performance against San Francisco on Saturday, junior forward Kiva Herman has now scored in double figures in five of the last six games and nine of the last 11 games. This is truly Herman's breakout season as she is the team's second leading scorer with a 12.8 points per game average and she has the second highest field goal percentage on the team at .470.
ACROSS THE NCAA'S: Amanda Rego is currently second in the nation in assists per game at 8.3, trailing only Claire Faucher from Portland State, who is averaging 9.0 assists per game, and Amber Sprague is No. 49 in the nation in blocks per game at 2.1.
FRESHMAN NO SLOUCHES: Coach Fisher said they were athletic and would contribute right away and she was right. Freshmen Sam Child and Brianna Estell have each seen significant time on the court with both getting the start in Saturday's loss to San Francisco. Child has been a regular in the starting line-up since the second game of the season and she has been a huge help as she averaged 8.7 points per game and has recorded double figures in seven games this season, including three of the last four games. Estell has also been a huge help for the Toreros, as she has come on strong as of late giving the Toreros another ball handler in the back court and playing outstanding defense. On the season, Estell is averaging 3.7 points per game and has racked up 25 assists, the second highest on the team.
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.