Nov. 8, 2006
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The University of San Diego women's basketball team opens its 2006-07 season on the road at Cal State Northridge on Friday. The Toreros will go to battle with the Matadors at 7 p.m. inside the Matadome.
SHE'S BACK: The return of sophomore center Amber Sprague, has people around San Diego excited. Sprague is a 6-5 center out of Mission Bay High School in San Diego and missed all of last season with an injury. As a freshman, she had opponents impressed as she averaged 14.5 points per game and 5.0 boards a game en route to earning an All-WCC honorable mention, despite only playing in six conference games due to injury. Her 14.5 points per game average set a new freshman school record for most points per game. Sprague has fully recovered from her injury and is ready for battle.
RUNNING THE POINT: Amanda Rego is the lone returning junior on the roster and the coaching staff is excited about the work she has done over the summer and she will run the Toreros offense. Last season, Rego set a new school record for most single-season steals with 75. Despite the fact that she missed seven games with an illness last season, she still finished with the fourth highest points per game average on the team at 7.1 and also recorded 80 assists and 76 rebounds. Rego also led the West Coast Conference in both steals and assists.
WITH HONORS: Sophomore guard Kelly Winther is back after her All-WCC Freshman team selection a year ago. Last season, Winther proved to everyone that she is a scoring threat as she averaged 9.1 points per game to place second on the team in this category. Winther came on strong at the end of last season as she finished the season scoring in double digits in six of the final nine games, averaging 11.9 points per game during that stretch. Winther finished the season with 64 rebounds and 34 steals.
SCOUTING THE MATADORS: This will also be Cal State Northridge's season opener. Last season the Matadors posted a 10-20 overall record and a 5-9 conference record for a sixth place finish in the Big West Conference. The Toreros hold the all-time series record between the two programs at 8-4. Northridge returns 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last season's team that advanced to the semifinals of the BWC tournament. Senior Ofa Tulikihihifo is considered the top returners for the Matadors, despite sitting out all of last season. Tulikihihifo's numbers from her last season on the court are; 19.3 points per game and 9.1 boards per game. Also making her return for the Matadors is Jamie McCaa, who was an All-Conference selection for CSUN with her team-leading 11.6 points per game average. Northridge is under the direction of second-year head coach Staci Schulz.
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.
TOREROS LOOK SHARP IN EXHIBITIONS: San Diego closed the exhibition season with a 2-0 record as the Toreros defeated San Diego Christian College 78-45 and the Melbourne Roos, 86-61. Sophomore guard Kelly Winther led the Toreros in scoring against SDCC as she dropped 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the floor including a 2-for-4 performance from behind the three-point line. Against the Melbourne Roos, redshirt sophomore Amber Sprague led the Toreros with 22 points, senior center Sabine Loewe scored 19 points while pulling down six boards and junior guard Amanda Rego dished out 11 assists.
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 is a subscription service that will give you access to live video events of USD athletic teams, coaching interviews and much more. The cost for this service will be $6.95 per month or a yearly subscription can be purchased for $49.95.
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 conferecne are San Francisco, who was picked seventh, and Portland was picked eighth, respectfully.
TRIO OF TOREROS HIT DOUBLE DIGITS TWICE: Senior Sabine Lowe and sophomore's Amber Sprague and Kelly Winther all tallied double-digits in both of San Diego's exhibition games. Sprague dropped in 12 points against SDCC in her first game back in over a year and scored a game-high 22 against the Melbourne Roos. Loewe scored 10 points against SDCC and then scored 19 against the Melbourne Roos. Winther dropped in a game-high 21 against SDCC and followed that performance up with 11 points against the Melbourne Roos.
TWO SENIORS RETURN FOR LAST CAMPAIGN: Senior's Sabine Loewe and Ashley Voisinet both make their return to the Toreros this season and will look to leave their stamp on the program. Loewe, a 6-4 center from Lauchhammer, Germany, makes her return for the Toreros after having career highs in total rebounds at 159 (5.7 per game), blocks with 17, steals with 20 and minutes played with 869. Loewe was third on the team with her 7.4 points per game average. Voisinet also posted career-best numbers in 05-06. She set her personal season-best in points scored with 156 (5.8 points per game), in rebounds with 133 (4.9 per game), in steals with 29 and in minutes played with 690. "Our senior class of Ashley and Sabine have a lot of minutes on the floor for USD and I think that is going to help us down the stretch," said head coach Cindy Fisher. "I think that they have great leadership skills and I think they have a great urgency to put a stamp on the program."
NOTES ON THE TORERO NEWCOMERS- Morgan Henderson, F, FR - Henderson, a 6-1 freshman from Leawood, Kans., comes to the Toreros after a stand-out high school career at Notre Dame de Sion High School. As a senior she was named the Kansas City Player of the Year after helping lead her team to the Class 5A state championship. She was a two-time All-State selection and a first-team All-Metro League honoree as a senior. She left her high school as the fourth all-time leading scorer with 1,317 points and set several single-game records as a senior, including free throws made in a season with 176 and free throw percentage at 87.6 %.
- Alcha Strane, JR, G - Strane is a Ohlone Junior College transfer and comes to USD after leading California in assists with an average of 6.7 assists per game. She also ranked among the top-10 last season in scoring at an average of 17 points per game. As a freshman she was a member of the Oregon State University women's basketball team and had a solid season for the Beavers.
- London Houchin, FR, G - Houchin is the next new face in a Torero uniform as she hails from nearby Ramona, Calif. The 5-6 guard joins the team after earning a first-team All-CIF selection as a senior. She helped lead Ramona High School to a Valley League championship as a sophomore and junior and earned the Valley League's MVP award during her final two season's in a Ramona uniform.
- Hannah Morgenstern, FR, G - Morgenstern, who hails from Littleton, Colo., helped lead Highlands Ranch High School to the 2005 Colorado state championship. Twice she was named All-State honorable mention and also earned an McDonald's All-American nomination during her four-year career.
- Sara VanderHorst, FR, F - VanderHorst was named the East Bay Athletic League MVP as a junior and senior and helped lead Amador valley High School to the EBAL championship as a junior. During her senior season she averaged an amazing 22 points per game en route to earning her fourth consecutive first-team All-EBAL honor.
- Erica Carlson, FR, C - Carlson is a 6-4 freshman from Tucson, Ariz. She joins the team after a stand-out career at Canyon del Oro High School. During her senior season she averaged a double-double at 14.6 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game. For her efforts, she was named first-team All-4A Sonoran League and was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.