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Toreros Look to Snap Three-Game Losing Skid With Trip to Santa Clara

Jan. 22, 2008

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IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (9-8, 0-3 WCC) will ravel to Northern California to take on the Santa Clara Broncos on Thursday in a 7 p.m. West Coast Conference contest.

LAST TIME OUT: With a strange turn of events in the final three seconds of overtime, the University of San Diego women's basketball team was defeated, 76-75, by the University of Portland in a West Coast Conference game Saturday afternoon. With three seconds to go and USD trailing Portland by one at 76-75, the Pilots attempted to inbound the ball in front of the Torero bench, but the ball touched a Pilot player and fell out of bounds to give USD back the ball with a chance to win the game. However, the Toreros could not get the ball inbounds and were called for a five second violation, thus turning the ball back over to Portland, who in turn ran the clock out to escape with the victory. In the first half, the Pilots raced out to a 4-1 lead, but a pair of Sprague free throws ignited a 6-0 Torero run to give USD a three point edge at 7-4 with 15:10 to go in the period. The two teams the appeared to trade basket-for-basket over the next several minutes, until USD held a 14-11 lead, then Sprague scored the next four points to give USD their biggest lead of the game at 18-11 with 10:02 remaining. After the Pilots launched a 7-0 run to pull even with the Toreros, again the two teams were battling back and forth for a couple of minutes with each taking their turn with the lead. Then with the score at 26-23 in favor if USD, a Allyson Sievers three-pointer sparked a 10-1 Pilot run to give Portland the momentum back and a six-point lead with 2:31 remaining in the frame. The Pilots would hold on to this lead and take an eight-point advantage into the break up 39-31. In the second half, the Toreros held things close with Portland not allowing the Pilots to get more than eight points ahead, and finally with 4:22 to go, USD began to dig in and go to work to try and win the game. With USD trailing 60-53, Sprague hit a pair of free throws and a lay-up to pull the Toreros back to within two at 60-58. The Pilots then hit a jumper to give them back a four-point lead, but back-to-back lay-ups by Herman and Henderson tied things up at 62 with just 46 seconds remaining in the second half. Portland then committed a turnover with 34 second remaining in the game, giving USD a chance to take the lead back. Amanda Rego got the inbounds pass on the Portland baseline, waited until there was 10 seconds left on the clock, then drove the length of the court and hit a lay-up to put the Toreros up two with seven seconds left. The Pilots then quickly got the ball up the floor, and at the buzzer Kendra Thomas hit a hanging off balance jumper to force overtime. In the overtime frame, both teams were playing well, as they traded basket-for-basket over the first couple of minutes of action. Then with USD leading 70-69 with 1:43 remaining, the Pilots ripped off five straight points to grab a four-point edge with 22 seconds left in the game. The Pilots would hold this four-point lead until there was just five seconds left, and Henderson hit a three-pointer to pull USD to within one, setting up the dramatic ending.

SCOUTING THE BRONCOS: Santa Clara enters the week with an overall record of 13-4 and a 1-1 record in the WCC after picking up a pair of wins over Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine this past week. The Broncos have won nine of their last 10 contests, with their only loss during this stretch coming to Saint Mary's to open WCC play. The Broncos hold the all-time series edge over the Toreros 30-19, but USD has won the past three meetings with SCU. Santa Clara is led by Jen Gotttschalk, who is averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game to go along with a team-best 7.9 boards per game. The Broncos have two other players averaging double figures with Chandice Cronk averaging 16.8 points per game and Elizabeth Doran averaging 11.5 points per game. The Broncos are under the direction of sixth-year head coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. During her tenure in Santa Clara, Bento-Jackson has posted an overall record of 91-78.

SPRAGUE NOTCHES IN ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Junior center Amber Sprague notched in her WCC-leading sixth double-double of the season in Saturday's game against Portland with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Sprague has nearly averaged a double-double all season long as she currently leads the team in scoring with her 17.0 points per game average to go along with her 8.5 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 98-117 career-record over her eight seasons as a head coach between stints at the University of Wyoming and San Diego.

SWEET CHILD 'O MINE: Freshman guard Sam Child has continued to come on strong as of late for the Toreros, as she scored 10 points in Saturday's game against Portland. With her 10-point performance, Child has now scored in double figures in nine of the last 10 games, including the first three West Coast Conference games. Child has had a huge impact on the Toreros ever since cracking into the starting line-up in the second game of the season, and has remained in that role ever since. On the season, Child is averaging 9.1 points per game.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Many Toreros hold lofty spots in the West Coast Conference statistics. Amber Sprague is the league's third leading scorer with 17.0 points per game, leads the WCC in rebounds per game at 8.5 and is second in blocked shots with 2.0 per game. Amanda Rego leads the league with 8.3 assists per contest, leads the league in steals per game at 2.7 and Morgan Henderson sports the league's second best free throw percentage at .872.

A LOOK INSIDE THE RECORD BOOKS: Two all-time records have been surpassed this season, with Amanda Rego becoming the new all-time leader in both steals (201) and assists (528). With her 1,046 career points, Amber Sprague has moved her name into ninth all-time, and with her 15.5 points per game average for her career, Sprague is second all-time.

I'M HERE TO HELP: San Diego senior point guard Amanda Rego continues to dish out the assists at an impressive rate of 8.3 assists per game. This is just slightly ahead of where she finished the season a year ago (7.7) when she was crowned the NCAA assist leader. She is currently ranked second in the nation in assists, only trailing Portland State's Claire Faucher, who is averaging 8.6 assists per game. Rego has also been a scoring force for the Toreros thus far, as she is one of three USD players averaging double figures with a 10.2 ppg average. Rego has recorded double figures in 10 of USD's 17 games this season.

THE STREAK CONTINUES: With 14 more double digit scoring performances under her belt this season, junior center Amber Sprague extended her scoring streak to 67 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 51 career double-digit scoring performances in 67 games and after a season-high 30-point performance against UCLA, a 28-point outburst against UC Irvine, and a 20-point outing aginst Portland this past Saturday she now has 16 career 20-point or more outings. Sprague has scored 1,045 points during her current streak, averaging 15.5 ppg, and shooting .463 (416-for-898) from the floor and .864 (241-for-279) from the free throw line.

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 with her 17 points against San Francisco on Jan 12. 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).

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.