Dec. 6, 2007
IN A NUTSHELL: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (4-4) will return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday as they play host to the UCLA Bruins in a 2 p.m. non-conference game.
LAST TIME OUT: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (4-4) had four players record double figures, but it wasn't enough as San Diego State University (7-1) snapped its five-game losing streak to the Toreros with a 58-53 win Wednesday evening in a non-conference game at Cox Arena. Amber Sprague paced the team with her 15 points and eight rebounds, but it was the freshman who made a huge impression on their cross-town rivals as both Brianna Estell and Sam Child dropped in 11 points a piece. Kiva Herman was the final USD player in double figures as she had 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field. As a team, USD shot 45 percent from the floor. In the first half, Child got the Toreros' offense going, as she scored the first two baskets of the game on a lay-up and a jumper. Child then went on to score the next five Torero points to give her nine points in the first four minutes of the game and gave USD a 9-5 lead with 15:59 remaining. The two teams then began trading basket-for-basket over the next four minutes with the Aztecs puling back to within two at 13-11 on an Allison Duffy jumper in the paint with 11:34 remaining in the first half. The Toreros continued to play pressure defense witch seemed to have the Aztecs offense off balance as USD forced five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of pay. San Diego would get their biggest lead of the game at 16-11 on three consecutive Estell points with 10:04 remaining in the first half. The Aztecs then responded with an 18-11 run to close out the half and take a four-point lead into the break at 29-25. SDSU continued their hot shooting to begin the second frame as they opened with a 11-2 run to take a 13-point lead at 40-27, but Estell's three-point play along with a pressure scrambling defense by the Toreros got USD going with a 9-0 run to pull back to within four with just over 11 minutes remaining. USD continued to play its pressure defense, which had the Aztecs offense off balance all half. USD appeared to have a turnover when the shot clock hit zero, but no horn sounded in the arena to alert the referee's, and a questionable foul was called on Amanda Rego with 1:37 remaining to give SDSU a pair of free throws, which they sank to push their lead back to five. USD could get no closer as the Aztecs held on to claim the win and end their five-game losing skid to the Toreros.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA enters the game with a 4-3 overall record after defeating Southern University, 79-52, this past week. UCLA and USD have met on nine prior occasions with the Bruins holding a 7-2 edge in those games. UCLA and San Diego have had two common opponents this year, with both teams defeating Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly. The Bruins have four players averaging double figures, led by Lindsey Pluimer's 15.4 points per game average to go along with a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game average. Doreena Campbell, (10.4 ppg) Regina Rogers (10.3 ppg), and Nina Earl (10.1 ppg) are the other three Bruins averaging double figures. UCLA is under the direction of 15th-year head coach Kathy Oliver. During her tenure in Los Angeles, Oliver has amassed an overall record of 220-194.
LEADING THE NATION: Sophomore forward Morgan Henderson is a perfect 19-for-19 from the charity stripe this season, which is the nation's best percentage. Henderson is the team's third leading scorer with a 10.5 points per game average and is also hauling down 6.1 boards per game.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: In Wednesday's loss to San Diego State, two freshman came up huge for the Toreros and looked impressive on the floor. Sam Child opened the game with a 9-4 run...by herself! She jump started the Toreros offense in the first half. Furthermore, Child looked impressive off the ball defensively, as her pressure defense cause three Aztec turnovers. On the season, Child is averaging 7.0 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game. Brianna Estell also had a huge game for USD, as she recorded a career-high 11 points. Estell served as a catalyst for several USD runs in the second half as she drove to the basket to pick up a basket and a free throw. Estell has now moved her average up to 3.5 points per game.
DOING THE DISHES: San Diego senior point guard Amanda Rego continues to dish out the assists at an impressive rate of 7.3 assists per game. This is just slightly below of where she finished the season a year ago (7.7) when she was crowned the NCAA assist leader. She has 59 assists on the season, moving her career total to 446, good for second place all-time behind Lori Morris' (1980-84) 480. Rego has also been a scoring force for the Toreros thus far, as she has recorded double figures in four of USD's eight games this season and is averaging 8.6 points per game.
DOUBLING IT UP: Junior center Amber Sprague recorded her third double-double of the season in Saturday's win over Cal Poly as she recorded a team-best 20 points to go along with a career-high 17 rebounds. Sprague has now solidified herself as the team's leading scorer with a 14.4 points per game average as well as the team's leading rebounder with a 8.5 rebounds per game average. The 8.5 rpg average is also good for third best in the WCC.
KIVA DOIN' HER THING: Junior forward Kiva Herman has exploded on the scene for the Toreros in what can only be described as a break-out season. Herman entered the season with a 4.0 points per game average through her fist two collegiate seasons. Now the 6-1 forward from Vancouver, Wash. is the team's second leading scorer with a 13.4 points per game average. This past Saturday against Cal Poly, Herman recorded 17 points as one of two Toreros in double figures. Herman has now recorded double digits in six of USD's first eight games, including a career-high 18 point outburst in the season opener against Cal State Bakersfield. Herman also has an impressive field goal percentage as she has a team-leading .500 shooting percentage.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: With five more double digit scoring performances under her belt this season, junior center Amber Sprague extended her scoring streak to 60 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 42 career double-digit scoring performances in 60 games and after a season-high 20-point performance against Cal Poly this past week, she now has 12 career 20-point outings. Sprague has scored 871 points during her current streak, averaging 14.5 ppg, and shooting .455 (347-for-762) from the floor and .862 (206-for-239) from the free throw line. Sprague is on pace to surpass the 1,000 career points mark this season to become just the 10th player in the history of the program to achieve this feat. Should she do it this season, she will only be the third Torero to achieve this honor in three years, joining the all-time leading scorer Susie Erpelding (1,510 pts 1996-2000) and Debbie Theroux (1,015 pts 1983-86). On the season, Sprague is averaging 13.3 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.
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.
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 is free of charge for all who wish to watch the broadcast.
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.