Jan. 19, 2007
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (15-3, 4-0 WCC) will look to extend their five-game winning streak as they travel to Moraga, Calif. on Saturday for a 2 p.m. West Coast Conference game against Saint Mary's.
LAST TIME OUT: Amber Sprague, Sabine Loewe and Kelly Winther all registered double-digits as the University of San Diego women's basketball team cruised to a 71-52 win over the Santa Clara University Broncos Thursday evening in a West Coast Conference game at the Leavey Center. Sprague led all scorers with 20 points, while also adding 13 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Loewe dropped in 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor and Winther added 12 points to mark her third consecutive game with at least 10 points. Amanda Rego continued to show why she is the nation's leader in assists as she dished out a game-high 10 assists to go along with six boards and four steals. USD held the WCC's highest scoring team (71.8 ppg) to a season low 52, while out rebounding the Broncos 33-28. In the first half, the Toreros jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead as Loewe got things rolling with a lay-up and Sprague scored the next four points on back-to-back jumpers. Santa Clara then responded with a 6-0 run to again get on even playing terms with the Toreros, but that is the last time SCU would be even with San Diego. The two team's then sea sawed back an fourth over the next several minutes with USD never surrendering the lead. Then with the score at 16-13 in favor of the Toreros, San Diego went on a 9-3 run to take control of the momentum. USD would go on to build their lead up to 10 going into the break, thanks to a last second jumper by Sprague. In the second half, it was all Toreros as they opened the frame with an 8-2 run and never looked back. The Toreros would eventually build their lead to as many as 22 on a pair of Kiva Herman free throws with 7:57 remaining, before setting for a 19-point win.
ABOUT THE RECORD: With the win over Santa Clara, the Toreros improve to 15-3 overall, move to 4-0 in the WCC and run their winning streak to five. This marks the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the Toreros have won 15 games and the 4-0 start in WCC play hasn't happened since the 1993-94 season. If USD can defeat Saint Mary's it will be the first time since the 1985-86 season USD opened WCC play 5-0.
SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary's enters the week with a 8-9 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the WCC after picking up a win over San Francisco this past Thursday. The Gaels hold the all-time series lead between the two at 29-18, with each team splitting this past season's games. SMC is led by sophomore guard Jontelle Smith, who is averaging a team-best 11.9 points per game. Maija Lahde and Monica Mertle are the next two leading scorers for the Gaels, as both are averaging 9.8 points per game. The Gaels are under the direction of first-year head coach Paul Thomas.
REGO NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior point guard Amanda Rego has been tabbed as the West Coast Conference Player of the Week after helping guide USD to a 2-0 record this past week. Rego led USD to two conference wins to begin WCC action 3-0 for the first time since the 1998-99 season and move to 14-3 overall. This marks the first time since the 1998-2000 season that USD has won 14 games. Rego averaged 10.5 points per game, and eight assists per game. She racked up four steals, 12 rebounds and hit 47 percent of her shots from the floor. Rego tallied her conference-leading sixth double-double of the season in Thursday's win over Pepperdine with 10 points, and game-high 10 assists.
DOUBLING IT UP: Sophomore forward Amber Sprague tallied her fourth double-double of the season in the win against Santa Clara University this past Thursday. Sprague scored 20 points and pulled down 13 boards. The 13 rebounds is her second highest rebound total this season, only trailing her 15 rebound performance against Cal State Fullerton. Sprague has now scored 20 or more points on six different occasions, including her season-high 27 in a win against Pacific back in December. On the season, Sprague is averaging a team-best 14.5 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game. She is the only player in the WCC to be listed in the top five in both categories, as she is ranked second in rebounds and fourth in scoring.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: All USD home games, as well as select road games, will be streamed live via video on the athletics department website. Fans can watch all the action live from the comfort of their home by logging onto usdtoreros.com. Once on the home page, click the LIVE button on the top right of the page. Two former USD basketball standouts Paula Bott (play-by-play) and Susie Erpelding (color) will bring you all the action. The pair not only set USD records on the court but both earned the West Coast Conference Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award, the only two student-athletes in USD women's basketball history to receive such honors. This is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.
STILL LEADING THE NATION: Junior point guard Amanda Rego is still leading the nation in assists per game with an average of 8.1. Rego has been an assist machine this season as she has not only set the new USD single-game assists mark with 14, but that 14 assists is also tied for the single-game high this season across the country. Rego continues her climb up the record charts at USD in career assists as she is now ranked sixth all-time with 302 assists. For her career, Rego is also averaging 4.5 assists per game, which is the top spot at USD in career assists per game. Her 145 assists on the season not only leads the nation, but also places her second in single-season assists at USD, just 17 behind Lori Morris, who set the mark of 162 during the 1981-82 season.
LOEWE COMING THROUGH: Senior center Sabine Loewe was a huge presence for the Toreros in the paint in Thursday's win. Loewe scored 19 points, one shy of her season-high, and tied her season-best with eight rebounds. Loewe continues to show why she is leading the team in shooting percentage as the Germany native went 7-for-10 from the floor.
WINTHER STARTING TO FEEL IT: Sophomore guard Kelly Winther is beginning to return to the form of last season that saw her earn a All-WCC freshman team selection. Winther scored 12 points in the win against Santa Clara this past Thursday, which marked the third consecutive game she has registered double digits. She is averaging 10.9 points per game and leading USD in three-point shooting with 22.
DEFENSE WINS BALL GAMES: The old saying holds truth to the Toreros this season. USD is leading the conference in scoring defense as they hold opponents to just 56.6 points per game. USD is also second in the WCC in steals per game at 10.5 and opponent shooting percentage at .392. USD's pressure defense was able to hold the normally potent high-powered Santa Clara offense to a season-low 52 points on Thursday. SCU had been averaging a conference-best 71.1 points per game, but the Toreros were able to cool them down as the Broncos only shot 33 percent for the game.
GOING STREAKING: The Toreros are in the midst of a five-game winning streak after picking up a win over Santa Clara this Past Thursday. If USD can defeat Saint Mary's on Saturday, they will have matched their season-high six-game winning streak that they opened the season with.
REGO NAMED WCC CO-PLAYER OF THE MONTH: Amanda Rego helped San Diego continue its best start in program history, as the Toreros went 5-3 during the month of December to improve to 10-3 on season. Rego did a little bit of everything for USD, setting conference-highs with 6.88 assists per game and 3.5 steals per contests. The junior also averaged 8.4 points per game for the Toreros, and pulled down 7.0 boards per game to rank sixth in the league. The San Diego native had an impressive performance in a win over Holy Cross on December 28, dishing out 13 assists and collecting a program-record 10 steals and just one point short of a triple double with nine points. Rego also notched a double-double in a win over Cal State Bakersfield, scoring 10 points and dishing out 11 assists on December 12.
MORGENSTERN AND CARLSON TO REDSHIRT: San Diego freshman guard Hannah Morgenstern will redshirt the 2006-07 season after injuring her ACL. Morgenstern scored three points in a win against Cal State Northridge, and has made two more appearances this season. Erica Carlson, a 6-4 center from Tucson, Ariz., as yet to appear in a game for the Toreros this season and will make her Torero debut in the 2007-08 season as she recorvers from a shoulder injury.
MEET THE COACH: Head coach Cindy Fisher is entering her second 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. During her first season at USD, the Toreros showed remarkable improvement and were close in majority of their games. The Toreros did record a huge 15 point win over Santa Clara on the road and were close in games against Georgia Tech, Boise State and against Loyola Marymount in the first round of the WCC Championship Tournament. Fisher also helped guide Tiara Harris to a All-WCC selection and Kelly Winther to a All-WCC Freshman team selection. 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.
TOREROS TABBED SIXTH IN WCC PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team was tabbed to finish sixth in the 2006-07 West Coast Conference preseason poll, as selected by the conference coaches. Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine were chosen as the favorites to claim the WCC women's basketball title with Gonzaga rounding out the top three. Santa Clara checked in at No. 4, Saint Mary's was selected fifth and the Toreros check in at No. 6. Rounding out the conferacne are San Francisco, who was picked seventh, and Portland was picked eighth, respectfully.
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