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San Diego Seeks First WCC Win on Nationally Televised Game Thursday vs. LMU

Jan. 29, 2008

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IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (9-10, 0-5 WCC) is hoping that a nationally televised game against Loyola Marymount University on Thursday night at 8 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion will snap its five-game losing streak and give them their first West Coast Conference win of the season.

LAST TIME OUT: Freshman guard Sam Child scored a career-high 18 points, but it wasn't enough as the University of San Diego women's basketball team dropped its fifth straight game with a 71-63 loss to Saint Mary's College in a West Coast Conference game Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Toreros fall to 9-10 overall and are 0-5 in the WCC for the first time since the 1995-96 season. With the win, the Gaels improve to 10-11 overall and move to 2-3 in the WCC. Child scored her career-high 18 points on a 5-for-11 performance from the field, including going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc as the lone Torero in double figures. Brianna Estell and Amber Sprague each had nine points apiece as the next highest scores with Estell pulling down a team-best eight rebounds. As a team, USD shot a season-low 32 percent from the field, but the Toreros out rebounded the Gaels 47-39. For the Gaels, three players were in double figures as Jonetelle Smith scored a game-high 22 points, while hitting 5-for-8 of her three-pointers. Lauren Shaughnessy added in 19 points and Louella Tomlinson dropped in 18 points. As a team, the Gaels shot 44 percent from the field. After the Gaels jumped out to a 7-3 lead, a Emily Hatch lay-up ignited a 15-5 Torero run that was capped off on Child 3-pointer to give USD a brief 18-12 lead with 10:40 remaining in the first half. The Gales then began to chip away at the Torero lead and evened the score at 20-20 on a Shaughnessy jumper with 8:20 to go. The two teams the battled back and forth for a bit and SMC would go into the break with a 35-33 lead. In the second half, USD opened the frame with a 10-2 run which was sparked by a Amanda Rego lay-up and capped on a Kaila Mangrum lay-up to give USD a 43-37 lead with 15:50 to go. USD would eventually build their lead up to as many as eight at 48-40 on a Mangrum lay-up with 14:08 to go, but the Gaels would then go on a 13-0 run to regain the lead at 53-48 with 11:18 remaining in the game. The Toreros would then begin to battle with the Gaels and started chipping away at the lead and then took back the lead with a Amber Sprague lay-up to give USD a 61-58 lead with 3:08 to go, but the Gaels then outscored USD 13-2 down the stretch to claim the win.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: Loyola Marymount enters the contest with a 11-9 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the WCC after picking up a 70-57 win over travel partner Pepperdine this past week. Other than conference foes, USD and LMU have one common opponent on the season in Cal State Bakersfield, with LMU downing the Roadrunners 95-90 in double overtime and USD falling to CSUB 76-66 in their season-opener. The Toreros hold a 28-24 edge in the all-time series between the two schools including inning both contests against the Lions this past season. Freshman guard Renahy Young leads the teams offense as she is averaging 10.9 points per game and the only other player averaging double figures is senior guard Amanda DeCoud, who averages 10.3 ppg. The team's leading rebounder is senior center Valerie Ogoke, who pulls down 8.3 boards per game to go along with a 7.9 ppg average. The Lions are under the direction of 13th-year head coach Julie Wilhoit. During her tenure in Los Angeles, Wilhoit has posted an overall record of 178-186.

CHILD SETS A NEW CAREER-HIGH: Freshman guard Sam Child set a new career-high with her team-best 18 point performance in Saturday's loss to Saint Mary's. Child went 5-for-11 from the field, including going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc as the lone Torero in double figures on Sunday. Child has previously recorded a career-high of 15 points in a win against UCLA on Dec. 8 and a win against UC Irvine on January 6. Child has now scored in double figures in 12 of the last 13 games for USD. On the season, Child is averaging 9.2 points per game to go along with 3.9 rebounds per game.

ESTELL GETS A START: Freshman Brianna Estell got her second start of the season in Saturdays loss to Saint Mary's, and she didn't disappoint as she pulled down a team-best and career-high eight rebounds in the game. In that game, Estell also recorded nine points, had three steals and recorded one block. Estell has been making steady progress all season long and is making the most of her playing opportunity. On the season, Estell is averaging 3.7 points per game and is second on the team in assists with 27.

LEADING THE WCC...AGAIN: Senior guard Amanda Rego is currently pacing the West Coast Conference in both steals per game (2.74) and assists per game (8.1) for this third consecutive season. This past season, Rego recorded a new single-season record at USD with 83 steals and set the record with 230 assists.

BREAKING OUT: Junior forward Kiva Herman in having her break-out season this year as she is currently the team's second leading scorer with her 12.7 points per game average. Herman entered the season averaging 4.0 points per game for her career through two seasons in a Torero uniform, but now she has exploded offensively and become one of USD's go-to scorers.

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 98-119 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 (208) and assists (541). With her 1,072 career points, Amber Sprague has moved her name into eighth all-time. With Sprague's 15.5 points per game average for her career, Sprague is second all-time, just 0.3 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 8.1 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 8.7 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 10.3 ppg average. Rego has recorded double figures in 11 of USD's 19 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 69 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 she now has 16 career 20-point or more outings. Sprague has scored 1,072 points during her current streak, averaging 15.5 ppg, and shooting .464 (428-for-922) from the floor and .862 (244-for-283) 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.