Women's Basketball Heads to the WNIT Final Four
Cindy Fisher had just finished putting her women’s basketball team through a rigorous practice back in October when she brought the players in for some encouraging, parting words.
“They’d had a really impressive practice and I told them to remember this day and that this team had the potential to be a very special group,” said the seventh-year University of San Diego head coach.
Fast forward to late March now and Fisher doesn’t really have to say it. She knows it. Her staff knows it. Her players and loyal fans know and believe it. Their opponents in this month’s Women’s National Invitation Tournament — Cal State Northridge, University of the Pacific, Texas Tech and, on Sunday, Washington — have found it out as the Toreros have ended their respective seasons.
“Being in that environment against a Big 12 team, in front of their fans, and coming out of it with a win, was so exciting,” Fisher said last Friday after USD defeated Texas Tech on the road. “It’s exciting for our seniors, it’s fun seeing our young players grow and seeing this team have so much confidence in each other. It’s a collective effort.”
The Toreros have a 26-8 overall record, good for the program’s most wins ever in a season. This month’s 4-0 postseason mark are the only wins in the program’s eight-game postseason history. The Toreros, following a 58-47 win over Washington, are now preparing to face host Oklahoma State in a WNIT Final Four game at 7 p.m. (5 p.m. Pacific time) on Wednesday. The winner plays in the March 31 title game.
“Every team still playing this deep in March is going on adrenaline, excitement and the passion to win,” Fisher said. “Each game we win, this team gets stronger and stronger and the bond gets tighter and tighter. It’s a group of kids who understand their roles. All they care about is winning.”
To continue the Toreros’ wave of success, Fisher knows how important it is to focus on each game. A USD win on Wednesday against Oklahoma State would put the Toreros into the WNIT title game against the other semifinal winner, Syracuse or James Madison.
“It says a lot for this (Torero) team and what it’s been able to do so far. I’m extremely proud of them and our staff,” Fisher said. Prior to Sunday’s game, she commented on the Elite Eight field of teams. “There are a lot of big teams left in the tournament. We might be one of the smallest dogs in the fight, but I think we still have a lot of fight left in us.”
Two more “fights” and an already special group of female student-athletes will have a special keepsake of the 2011-12 season.
Join us for a live stream viewing of USD Women's Basketball vs. Oklahoma State, Wednesday March 28, 2012 in Frank's Lounge.
— Ryan T. Blystone