When Amy Torczon, Cal State Fullerton's 6-foot center, finds herself defending someone four or five inches taller--which is often--her response is nearly always the same.
"Oh boy, this is interesting," has been the standard comment--even the time when the player she was assigned to was 6-9.
Torczon, who would make a more natural forward, is the Titan center partly by necessity and partly by the choice of Coach Maryalyce Jeremiah. Eugenia Miller, a 6-3 freshman, is the center-in-waiting, but it doesn't seem that she will be a regular until Torczon graduates after this season and Miller matures.
In the meantime, Torczon must suffer the occasional indignity of having her shots blocked. "If there were a stat for that, I'd be a leader," she said.
But despite playing somewhat out of position, Torczon's statistics are impressive. Her 15.9 scoring average leads the team, as does her 12.1 rebounding average. What's more, both her field-goal percentage (61%) and, her rebounding average were among the top 20 in the NCAA last week. And she's a good enough defensive player that she can generally hold her opponent to her average or below it.
Torczon shrugs off the difficulty of playing center.
"Somebody has to do it," she said.
Part of Torczon's offensive strategy has been to shoot more outside, where she can use her quickness to her advantage. But there's no avoiding playing inside.
"Offensively, I'm not that tough inside," she said. "I have to work for every single point. If I get blocked, I put it back up, and if I get blocked again, I just keep going. It used to bother me, but now I'm used to it. It's just one of those things."
Torczon and the Titans are off to a 5-3 start, the kind of record that has been something of a rarity recently. The Titans were 12-16 last season, 11-18 the year before.
"It's nice to be ahead," Torczon said. "We've struggled in the past. But everyone is playing together. Even our losses have been good games. We probably could have pulled some of them out, but we had some letdowns."
That has never happened to Torczon in the classroom, unless you want to count the B she made in Human Anatomy last spring. It was the only B she has made in her life.
Her 3.95 grade-point average is likely to make her an academic All-American. She already has won awards as the Cal State Fullerton and Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. female scholar-athlete of the year.
Torczon, a physical education major, plans to become a physical therapist. But there's still more than half a basketball season waiting.
Richard Morton's 25.7 scoring average after 6 games was the highest in the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.