Nov. 6, 2007
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team will begin the season on the road at Cal State Bakersfield this Friday in a 7 p.m. non-conference game at CSUB's Icardo Center. USD will then return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Sunday for their home opener against Cal state Norhthridge at 2 p.m.
WITH HONORS: USD welcomes back three All-WCC performers from a year ago, highlighted by the defending WCC Co-Player of the Year Amanda Rego. Rego became the first player in the history of the program to take home conference Player of the Year honors, after leading the nation with 8.1 assists per game. Rego set a new program single-season record with 230 assists, and steals with 80. Another key returner for the Toreros will be the return of first-team All-WCC performer Amber Sprague. Sprague returns after leading the team with a 14.8 points per game average and team-leading 7.9 rebounds per game. Sprague also ranked in the conference's top-three in both scoring (14.6 ppg-3rd) and rebounding (7.9 rpg-2nd). Another All-WCC performer who returns is sophomore forward Morgan Henderson. As a freshman she played a huge role in helping lead USD to a 20-win season. Henderson averaged 8.6 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game, not to mention becoming a huge threat from beyond the arc, as she tallied the second most threes on the team with 33.
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.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS: Cal State Bakersfield will also open their season against the Toreros. The Roadrunners are coming off a 23-6 campaign in their first-year as a school in transition from Division II to Division I. San Diego and Bakersfield have met only once in program history with USD claiming a 66-63 win in San Diego this past season. The Roadrunners welcome back their top two scorers from a year ago in Kelley Tarver ,and Krista Arase. Tarver paced the team with her 11.8 points per game average and Arase averaged 7.7 points per game. The Roadrunners are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Tim La Kose. During his tenure at Bakersfield, La Kose has posted an overall record of 142-33.
SCOUTING THE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge will open their season at Pepperdine University before making the trip down to San Diego on Sunday. This past season, the Matadors posted an overall record of 13-16 and finished third in the Big West Conference. The Toreros and Matadors have met on 13 occasions with USD holding a 9-4 edge, including a 95-77 win in the season opener this past season. Highlighting the returners for the Matadors is Katie Holloway, who is the two-time Big West Sixth-Man of the Year. This past season, she averaged 8.3 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. The Matadors are under the direction of third-year head coach Staci Schulz. During her tenure in Northridge, Schulz has posted an overall record of 41-47.
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.
TOREROS LOOK GOOD IN EXHIBITION: San Diego posted a 79-55 win over the Melbourne Roos in an exhibition game this past Saturday. In the game, sophomore Morgan Henderson looked impressive for the Toreros as she had a game-high 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds, including going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Junior center Amber Sprague was also a solid force for the Toreros as she racked up 14 points on a 6-for-12 performance from the field to go along with nine boards. Both sophomore forward Kiva Herman and freshman forward Sam Child looked impressive as well with each scoring 12 points apiece. Redshirt freshman center Erica Carlson was the fifth Torero in double-figures as she had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field. The 2006-07 NCAA assist leader, Amanda Rego, picked up from where she left off a year ago having a game-high 14 assists and pulled down seven boards.
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.
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 service a free of charge for all who wish to watch the broadcast.
NOTES ON THE TORERO NEWCOMERS
Sam Child, F, FR - Highlighting the freshman is forward Sam Child from Portland, Ore. Child was tabbed as the Oregonian's Class 6A girls State Player of the Year as a senior. During her senior season, she set eight school records, including the single-season records for points (526), field goals made (212) and steals (96) and she finished her career as the second leading scorer in school history with 1,139 points.
Emily Hatch, FR, F - Another freshman who the coaches are excited about is Emily Hatch from Portland, Ore. Hatch earned an All-State honorable mention as both a junior and senior and also earned a McDonald's All-American nomination as a senior. "Emily Hatch is just a warrior. She is one of the strongest, fastest players I have ever coached," stated Fisher. "She has a big strong body and she is very fast. She is great in the low paint and can really shoot the three."
Brianna Estell, FR, G - Another newcomer expected to see time on the court this season is Brianna Estell from Riverside, Calif. Estell comes to USD after a stand-out career at Perris High School. As a senior, she averaged 15 points and 10 assists per game en route to an All-CIF distinction. She was also nominated as a McDonald's All-American during her senior season.
Nya Masom, SO, C - The final newcomer to the Toreros will be a sophomore transfer from Colorado State University, Nya Mason. Torero fans will have to wait until the 2008-09 season to see her in action per NCAA transfer rules. Mason was a stand-out high school player at St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Ore. Mason was named Mt. Hood Conference Player of the Year in 2006 and first team All-Conference in 2005 and 2006 while averaging 22.3 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. This past season at CSU, she played in 25 games, averaging 4.1 points per games, 2.2 rebounds per game and recorded 14 blocks on the season.
TOREROS TO HAVE THREE GAMES ON TV: This season the Toreros will be featured live on TV for three games. The games against Pacific on December 15th and Gonzaga on January 17th will be aired locally on Channel 4. USD's game against Loyola Marymount University on Jan. 31 will be televised live on ESPNU.
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.