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San Diego Heads to Saint Mary's in Search of First WCC Win Saturday

Jan. 25, 2008

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IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (9-9, 0-4 WCC) will look to snap its four-game losing streak on Saturday with a trip to Moraga, Calif. for a 2 p.m. West Coast Conference game against Saint Mary's College.

LAST TIME OUT: With one second remaining in the game and the score knotted up at 64-64, the University of San Diego women's basketball team committed a technical foul to put Santa Clara University's senior guard Chandice Cronk to the free throw line, who in turn hit both free throws, to give the Broncos a 66-64 West Coast Conference win over the visiting Toreros Thursday evening at the Leavey Center. The technical was called after both teams had exhausted their remaining timeouts and the Toreros were cornered in the Broncos half of the court and from the court Amanda Rego called for a time out. The technical foul sent Cronk to the charity stripe, who successfully made both shots and gave Santa Clara the win. With the win, the Broncos improved to 14-4 on the season and 3-1 in WCC play, while the Toreros are even at 9-9 overall and dropped to 0-4 in league action for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Amber Sprague paced the Toreros' offense with her 18 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Amanda Rego notched up a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with six assists. Morgan Henderson was the final USD player in double figures as she had 10 points and added in seven rebounds. As a team, USD shot 42 percent from the floor and out rebounded the Broncos 37-30. In the first half, Amanda Rego scored the first basket of the game with a lay-up, and the Broncos in turn responded with a three-point basket by Elizabeth Doran, thus beginning a sea saw battle over the first five minutes of the game with each team taking their turn with the lead and neither team taking a lead bigger than five. Both teams would battle back and forth for a majority of the first half, then with the score at 30-29 in favor of USD, Cronk hit a pair of free throws to ignite a 16-6 Bronco run to close out the first half and give SCU a 45-36 lead at the break. Coming out of the break, the Toreros were clicking on all cylinders as a Rego jumper ignited a 12-4 Toreros run that was capped on a Rego lay-up to pull San Diego back to within one at 49-48 with 13:32 to go. The Toreros would eventually tie things up at 55 with 5:59 left on a Henderson jumper. Then with 1:36 left, a lay-up from SCU's Jen Gottschalk put the Broncos up by two points, 64-62, but the Toreros answered with a jumper from Rego with just eight seconds left to tie the score, 64-64, setting up the dramatic ending.

SCOUTING THE GALES: Saint Mary's enters the game with a 9-11 overall record and a 1-3 record in the WCC after dropping a 80-68 decision to San Francisco this past Thursday. The Gales are currently riding a three-game losing streak. SMC holds a 29-20 edge in the all-time series against the Toreros, with each team winning on the others home court this past season. The Gaels are led by junior guard Jontelle Smith, who is averaging 16.1 points per game. Saint Mary's has three other players averaging double figures, paced by Louella Tomlinson's 12.9 ppg. The other two players averaging double figures are Mija Lahde (11.3 ppg) and Lauren Shaughnessy (10.8 ppg). The Gaels are under the direction of second-year head coach Paul Thomas. During his first year and a half in Moraga, Thomas has posted an overall record of 23-25.

MORGAN'S FINDING HER STROKE: Sophomore forward Morgan Henderson appears to be finding her stroke on the court as she scored 10 points in Thursday's loss to Santa Clara, which marks the second consecutive game she has reached double figures. In fact, Henderson has now reached the double digit mark in four of the past five games, which now brings her season average up to 9.3 points per game.

REGO NOTCHES IN ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE: San Diego's senior point guard Amanda Rego recorded her fourth double-double of the season in Thursday's loss to Santa Clara as she had 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, to go along with six assists. On the season, Rego is averaging 10.5 points per game and is second in the nation with 8.2 assists 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 13.4 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.

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 had scored in double figures in nine of the previous 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 8.7 points 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 98-118 career-record over her eight seasons as a head coach between stints at the University of Wyoming and San Diego.

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 (204) and assists (534). With her 1,063 career points, Amber Sprague has moved her name into ninth all-time, just eight points away from tying Erin Malich (1999-2003) for eighth. With Sprague's 15.6 points per game average for her career, Sprague is second all-time, just 0.2 points per game away from tying Jane Gilpin (1986-88) for first 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 8.2 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 10.5 ppg average. Rego has recorded double figures in 11 of USD's 18 games this season.

THE STREAK CONTINUES: With 15 more double digit scoring performances under her belt this season, junior center Amber Sprague extended her scoring streak to 68 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 52 career double-digit scoring performances in 68 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 1,063 points during her current streak, averaging 15.6 ppg, and shooting .467 (425-for-912) 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.