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Second-Seeded Toreros Prep for WCC Tournament

Feb. 26, 2007

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IN A NUTSHELL: The second seeded University of San Diego women's basketball team (21-7, 10-4 WCC) will begin play in the West Coast Conference Championship Tournament on Thursday against the seventh-seeded University of San Francisco Dons at 12:00 p.m. inside of the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland.

LAST TIME OUT: Behind freshman Morgan Henderson's career-high 28 points, the University of San Diego women's basketball team captured an exciting 81-75 overtime win over the University of Portland in both teams' regular season finale inside the Chiles Center Saturday afternoon. With the score tied at 75-75 with 1:42 remaining, the Toreros hit key free throws down the stretch to claim the six-point win and move to 21-7 overall and 10-4 in the WCC. With the loss, the Pilots fall to 10-19 overall and 2-12 in the WCC. Henderson scored her 28 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the three-point line, and she was a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe, while also pulling down seven rebounds. Amanda Rego posted her eighth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 assists. Amber Sprague was the final USD player in double figures as she scored 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds. As a team, USD shot 36.1 percent from the field and were out rebounded 46-39. In the first half, both teams took their turn with the lead and USD would take their biggest lead of the first half at 19-14, thanks to a Henderson three-pointer with 12:03 remaining. Portland responded with a 7-2 run sparked by a Kendra Morris jumper and capped with a pair of Morris free throws, moving the score to 21-21. Then with the score at 23-23, the Pilots would use a 5-0 run to continue their momentum and eventually would build their lead up to as many as seven at 37-30 on a Nicole Rowe lay-up. The Toreros would able to close that gap to four going into the break on a free throw by Rego. In the second half, the Toreros game out on fire as they opened the frame with a 5-0 run sparked by a Kelly Winther jumper and capped by a Sprague free throw. The two teams then battled back and forth over the next several minutes with neither team taking a lead bigger then four, but Portland was in control of the lead for the remainder of the half until Sprague hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds remaining to even the score at 69-69 and sent it into overtime.In the overtime period, again the teams kept things close as each team took their turn with the lead. Then with the score at 75-75, Rego hit a lay-up, followed by a pair of free throws and Sprague capped the scoring with as pair of free throws to give USD the six-point win.

SCOUTING THE DONS: The University of San Francisco enters the contest with a 9-20 overall record and a 3-11 mark in the WCC after dropping a pair of games this past week to Portland and Gonzaga. The Dons and Toreros are tied a 22 wins a piece in the series history with USD claiming both match-ups this season. USF is led offensively by All-WCC first-teamer Dominique Carter, who is averaging a team-best 14.2 points per game. The only other USF player averaging double figures is Shy Rollins, a All-WCC honorable mention honoree, who has a 10.3 ppg average.

REGO NAMED WCC CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Junior point guard Amanda Rego was named the West Coast Conference Co-Player of the Year along with Stephanie Hawk from Gonzaga. Rego and Hawk become the first Co-Player's of the Year in the history of the conference. Rego becomes the first player in the history of the USD program to take home this honor. Rego was the floor leader for the Toreros and paced the conference in both steals (2.75 spg) and assists per game (7.64 apg), leading the nation in the latter as well. This season, Rego has become the single-season assists leader at USD with her 214 assists. Rego has also moved into fifth-all-time at USD in career assists at 369. Rego has also set the new USD single-game record for assists with 14, and she has recorded double digit assists in 12 games this season.

Amber Sprague NAMED FIRST-TEAM ALL-WCC: Sophomore sensation Amber Sprague was the second USD player to be named to the first-team All-WCC, along with Amanda Rego. Sprague led the team in scoring at 14.6 ppg and rebounds at 8.1 rbg. Sprague has recorded six double-doubles on the season and scored a season-high 27 points in a win against Pacific on Dec. 12. Sprague was named the WCC Player of the Month for November after leading the Toreros to a perfect 5-0 record in the month. She has been named the WCC Player of the Week on two different occasions.

TOREROS IN POSTSEASON PLAY: The University of San Diego women's basketball team has posted a 5-7 all-time record in the West Coast Conference Tournament, including winning the tournament in both the 1992-93 and 1999-2000 seasons and advancing on to the NCAA Tournament.

Cindy Fisher NAMED WCC CO-COACH OF THE YEAR: Second-Year head coach Cindy Fisher was named the WCC Co-Coach of the year along with Kelly Graves from Gonzaga. This marks only the second-time in the history of the WCC, that there has been a Co-Coach of the Year awarded. Fisher orchestrated the University of San Diego's biggest turn around in program history and guided the Toreros to a second place finish in the WCC along with the program's first 20-win season. In Fisher's first season, the Toreros finished 9-19, this season USD had a 12-game improvement to earn the league's best overall record. Under Fisher's tutelage, the Toreros have placed three players on the All-WCC lists, with Amanda Rego and Amber Sprague taking home first-team honors and Morgan Henderson being named to the All-WCC Freshman team.

HENDERSON NAMED TO ALL-WCC FRESHMAN TEAM: Freshman forward Morgan Henderson finished her impressive freshman campaign by being named to the All-WCC freshman team. Henderson has been a huge boost both offensively and defensively. Henderson averaged 8.3 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per game overall and in conference action she as the team's third leading scorer at 10.2 ppg. Henderson was huge this past week for the Toreros as her career-high 28 points propelled USD to a win over Portland in the regular-season finale. Henderson recorded her first collegiate double-double in a heart-breaking loss to Pepperdine as he scored 15 points and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds.

NEW PROGRAM RECORD: The University of San Diego has set a new program record for single-season victories with 21, thanks to the overtime win over the University of Portland this past Saturday. The previous record of 17 wins happened twice, once during the 1989-90 season and the other in the 1999-2000 season. The 99-00 team was the last USD women's basketball team to make it into the postseason, as they won the conference tournament and earned the WCC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

TOREROS ON THE AIR: All of the women's basketball games at the WCC Tournament will have a live audio broadcast on usdtoreros.com. Thursday's game will be brought to you by Chris Loucks of the USD Media Relations office and Jim Stone will be calling the remainder of the games. Should USD reach the championship game on Sunday, College Sports Television will be broadcasting the game live at 1 p.m. This marks the first time in the history of the conference that the women's championship game will be on a live televised broadcast.

SEASON SWEEP: USD has already claimed a season sweep of the University of San Francisco and if they can defeat USF in the first round of the WCC Tournament, it will be the first time since the 2002-03 season that USD posts a 3-0 record against USF. In fact, the Toreros have a 3-0 all-time mark against the Dons in the WCC tournament.

WCC TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The West Coast Conference Tournament will have a familiar look this year as all eight teams will play on Thursday at the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland. Following Thursday's competition, the four remaining teams will be re-seeded with the highest remaining seed playing the lowest remaining seed in one semifinal and the other two schools meeting in the other semifinal. The WCC Championship will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon with winner receiving the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Sunday's game will also be televised live on CSTV for the first time in the history of the conference.

BRAINS AND BASKETBALL: The University of San Diego's senior center Sabine Loewe was selected to the 2007 West Coast Conference Winter All-Academic women's basketball team. This marks the third time for her career she has taken home this honor. This season, Loewe is playing a big part in the best turnaround in program history, as the Toreros have improved from 9-19 a year ago, to 21-7 this season. Loewe has been serving as the team's starting center and is averaging 7.5 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds per game. While helping the Toreros to success on the court, Loewe has also been dominating inside of the classroom as well while working on her Master's degree in International Business and maintaining a 3.33 GPA.

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.

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.

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.