Jan. 19, 2010
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE: The University of San Diego women's basketball team (11-7, 3-1 WCC) will return to the friendly confines of the Jenny Craig Pavilion this week to host travel partner Saint Mary's College on Saturday at 2 p.m. This will be the lone game of the week for the Toreros.
LAST TIME OUT: The University of San Diego women's basketball team saw its season-high six-game winning streak come to an end with a 75-46 loss to Gonzaga University Saturday afternoon in a West Coast Conference game at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Sophomore guard Dominique Conners led the Toreros (11-7, 3-1 WCC) in scoring with 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting from the floor, while pulling down six rebounds. Morgan Woodrow scored a respectable nine points on a 4-for-5 performance from the field. As a team, USD shot 40 percent from the floor and was out rebounded 39-26. In the first half, the Toreros kept things close in the early going, then with the score at 9-6 in favor of the home team, a Courtney Vandersloot lay-up with 16:27 to play in the frame sparked a 10-0 Gonzaga run to give the Zags the momentum over the next three minutes of action, and give GU a 19-6 advantage with 13:56 to go. An Emily Hatch lay-up then snapped the run, only to see GU respond with a 5-0 spurt to take a 23-8 lead with 12:17 to go. Back-to-back three pointers by Morgan Woodrow and Morgan Henderson then cut the deficit to 23-14, but that is as close as USD would get in the first half, as GU maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the frame and went into the break up 37-23. In the second half, it was all Gonzaga, as GU would maintain its double-digit lead and eventually build up its lead to as many as 31 before settling for a 75-46 victory.
A LOOK AHEAD: San Diego remain at home next week to close out the first half of WCC play with a pair of games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymont. USD will play LMU on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.
SCOUTING THE GAELS: Saint Mary's College enters the game with an overall record of 12-7 and are 3-1 in the WCC after splitting its Pacific Northwest WCC road trip this past week, dropping a 87-52 loss to Gonzaga, before rebounding with a 72-65 win over Portland. The Gaels lead the all-time series at 32-21, but USD did win the last meeting 94-52 in San Diego last season. The Gaels are led by junior forward Louella Tomlinson, who averages 17.2 ppg, 9.7 rebounds per game and leads the nation with 6.9 blocks per game. Three other Gaels are averaging double figures with Jontelle Smith scoring 12.3 ppg, Ashlee Smith averaging 10.8 ppg and Jasmine Smith scoring 10.5 ppg. The Gaels are under the direction of fourth-year head coach Rob Thomas. During his time in Moraga, Thomas has posted an overall record of 52-57.
CONNERS CONTINUES HOT STREAK: Sophomore guard Dominique Conners continued her hot play as of late with another impressive performance this past week. Conners scored 15 points in both of USD's games. Conners scored 14 of her 15 points against Portland in the first half going 5-for-10 (.500) from the field and grabbed eight of her career-high nine rebounds in the first frame as well. Then against Gonzaga, she scored her 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting from the floor, while pulling down a team-leading six rebounds. Conners has now scored in double figures in six straight games and in eight of the last nine games. On the season, Conners leads the team's scoring with her 14.2 ppg average.
DYNAMIC DUO: San Diego scoring leaders Dominique Conners and Sam Child have combined to lead the team in scoring in 13 of the team's 18 games thus far this season with Child holding a 8-5 advantage over her teammate . In fact, this dynamic duo has led the team in scoring for the last nine consecutive games, with Child leading USD in scoring for six of those games including a career-high 28-point performance in the win over Nevada on Dec. 28. Senior Morgan Henderson, sophomore Morgan Woodrow and junior Emily Hatch are the only other Toreros to lead the team in scoring this season.
SWEET CHILD O' MINE: Sam Child has been one of the most consistent forces for the Toreros this season. In Thursday's win over Portland, Child scored a game-high 20 points to lead all players. That marked the eighth consecutive game Child scored in double figures, then she saw her streak come to an end against Gonzaga this past Sunday. During this same stretch, Child averaged 16.5 ppg, and during USD's six-game winning streak, Child has averaged 17.0 ppg to help lead USD's offense. On the season, Child is USD's second best scoring option with a 13.3 ppg.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000: Senior forward Morgan Henderson is closing in on the 1,000 career point total, as the Leawood, Kan. native has 946 career points. Henderson in currently averaging 9.2 ppg and at this rate, she could become the 12th Torero to eclipse this mark before season's end.
CAN YOU SEE ME?: 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) Barosso (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.
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.
CONNERS NAMED TO ALL-WCC PRESEASON TEAM: Dominique Conners was the lone Torero selected to the preseason All-WCC team. Last season, Conners had a solid rookie season as USD's starting point guard. Conners started off slow, but once December hit she found her stride. For the season, she was USD's third leading scorer with a 10.2 ppg. average. She scored a career-high 20 points in a win against Portland on March 8 in the WCC semi-final game, and over the final seven games of the regular-season, she scored in double figures in all of them and averaged 13.9 ppg during this stretch. She then helped lead USD into the championship game of the WCC Tournament and was the only freshman selected to the All-WCC Tournament team.
WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS RETURN TO VEGAS: The West Coast Conference will return to Las Vegas in 2010 for the Zappos.com WCC Basketball Championships on March 5-8 at Orleans Arena. Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public on Friday, November 13. The West Coast Conference made a successful debut in Las Vegas last year when it sold out the Orleans Arena for the 2009 WCC Basketball Championships. The 2009 championship, which was the WCC's first-ever at a neutral site, set conference records for both total championship attendance (33,320) and single session championship attendance (7,845). In conjunction with the success, the WCC made two major announcements relating to the basketball championships in the off-season. The WCC first signed a three-year extension with the Orleans Arena to keep the event in Las Vegas through 2012. The West Coast Conference (WCC) and its multi-media rights partner, IMG College, later announced Zappos.com as the official title sponsor of the WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. The three-year deal, effective through the 2011-12 season, marks the WCC's first-ever title sponsorship.
MEET THE COACH: Head coach Cindy Fisher is entering her fifth 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 2008, Fisher led USD to the WCC Tournament championship and back into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight seasons. 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. For her efforts, Fisher was named the 2007 WCC Co-Coach of the Year.
TOREROS TABBED SIXTH IN WCC PRESEASON POLL: The USD women's basketball team was picked to finish sixth by the WCC head coaches in the WCC preseason coaches poll. The Toreros, who won three games in three days at the WCC Tournament last year to reach the title game, received 22 points. Gonzaga was chosen as the favorite to claim the WCC women's basketball title for the second straight year in the 2009-10 preseason coaches poll. The Bulldogs, who received the maximum seven first place votes for a total of 49 points, won the WCC Tournament and earned their second-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. As a 12th seed, Gonzaga upset No. 5 seeded Xavier in the first round, 74-59, before nearly accomplishing the same feat against No. 4 seeded Pittsburgh, losing 65-60. Loyola Marymount received the remaining first place vote and totaled 39 points to come in second in the voting. Pepperdine was tabbed third with 34 points, Portland was fourth with 61 points, Saint Mary's checked in at No. 5 with 29 votes, while both Santa Clara and San Francisco tied for seventh with 10 points a piece.