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West Coast Countdown: San Diego Looks to Experience DeJavu in 2008-09

Nov. 12, 2008

The San Diego Toreros are looking to repeat their success from last year and return as the defending West Coast Conference Tournament Champions, after going 19-12 and 7-7 in the WCC. This year, San Diego was selected to finish third in the league as voted on by the head coaches in the conference. Featuring one of the most experienced teams returning four starters, the Toreros will be one of the teams to beat in the conference this season. In addition, San Diego will be returning 10 letterwinners from the team that finished in third place in the regular season.

San Diego is led by Head Coach Cindy Fisher, who enters her fourth year with the team, after spending the previous five seasons as head coach at Wyoming, where she led the Cowgirls to WNIT berth in 2003. Fisher has steadily improved the team's performance since taking over as she led the Toreros to a second place finish in the WCC and a program record 21 wins in 2006-07, just her second year with the team. That year also marked the first time the school had made a WNIT appearance. Prior to that season, San Diego had not finished in the top three in the conference since a second place finish in the 1992-93 season. Building upon that success, Fisher then led the team to its first NCAA appearance since the 1999-00 season.

The Toreros return two players from last year's all-conference team. Senior Amber Sprague was selected to the WCC All-first team, while sophomore Sam Child returns from a WCC all-freshman team selection. Not only does San Diego return a talented squad, it also returns 78.2 % of its scoring, second best among WCC teams, as well as 78.6 % of its rebounding, best among the conference.

2007-08 KEY STATS
Amber Sprague Senior
15.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 75 blocks
Kiva Herman Senior
12.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg
Sam Child Sophomore
10.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 spg
Morgan Henderson Junior
9.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 44 3FG


Sam Child will run the point this year after starting 31 of 32 games last season

The Toreros lost one of the best point guards in program history in Amanda Rego, who was second in the country in assists last year. The good news is they return 6-0 guard Child, who started 31 out of 32 games as a freshman. Childs returns as the team's third leading scorer at 10.3 ppg and was second on the team in three-pointers. San Diego will also be getting back junior Kelly Winther, a 5-10 guard, who redshirted last season. Before her redshirt year, Winther started all 28 games her sophomore year, and was second on the team in scoring at 11.0 ppg, while leading the team in threes with 36. The combination of Child and Winther should provide quality leadership in the backcourt.

Rounding out the backcourt rotation should be freshman Dominique Conners, a 5-8 guard who earned the start in the Toreros' exhibition game against Point Loma, and sophomore Hannah Morgenstern, 5-6, who played in one game before redshirting last year. Conners, an Oceanside, CA native, was named a McDonald's All-American honorable mention her senior year, leading her team to the State Championship game. As a junior, she was named the Division IV CIF Player of the Year. Morgenstern, a Littleton, CO native, led her team to the Colorado State championship her senior year.


Amber Sprague is 268 points away from being the Toreros' all-time leading scorer

The Toreros return what some may say is the most experienced frontcourt in the conference. Three of the returning players started at least 31 out of 32 games last season. Senior Sprague started all 32 games and is easily the top returner as she led the team in scoring (15.2 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg), and blocks (75). Sprague is currently No. 2 on San Diego's all-time scoring list, needing just 268 points to break the record. She also led the conference in rebounding and was second in blocks. Sprague was instrumental in the Toreros' run through the WCC Tournament last year, averaging 12.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg, earning her all-tournament honors. Also earning all-tournament honors was junior Morgan Henderson, a 6-1 forward, who averaged 15.0 ppg, including a 20 point performance in the title game against Gonzaga, and 5.7 rpg during her tournament run. Henderson will be looking to stretch out opposing defenses as she displayed incredible range last year, leading the team in three-pointers with 44 on the year.

Joining Sprague and Henderson is senior Kiva Herman, a 6-0 forward, who started 31 of 32 games last season. Herman led the way offensively for San Diego during its WCC Tournament run, averaging a team-leading 16.3 points per game, including a 23 point performance in the semi-final game against Santa Clara. She returns as the team's second leading scorer, as she averaged 12.7 ppg.

Looking to make contributions this year are senior Kaila Mangrum, who played in all 32 contests last season, and freshman Morgan Woodrow. In 17.8 minutes per game, Mangrum averaged 4.0 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Woodrow, 6-0, played for Washington HS in Fremont, CA, and averaged 17.0 ppg as a senior on her way to Athlete of the Year and team MVP honors.