Jan. 19, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - It took nearly five years, but Oklahoma is back among the nation's elite.

The Sooners (13-3, 3-0 Big 12), winners of 12 of their last 13 games, entered the Top 25 poll this week for the first time since Feb. 28, 1995, sneaking in at No. 25.

Oklahoma will try to stay in the Top 25 when it travels to Texas (11-5, 3-1) on Wednesday.

"This is a great thing for our players," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "It's a reward for how hard they have worked and the commitment they have made to take this program into national prominence. The key is sustaining our climb."

Oklahoma is led by senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley's 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Whaley is one of three players averaging a double-double in Big 12 play at 22 points and 10.3 rebounds.

In Oklahoma's most recent game, an 87-66 win over Baylor on Sunday, the 5-foot-10 senior forward scored 28 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Sophomore guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales are averaging 14.1 and 12.6 points, respectively. Caufield is the team leader in steals with 2.8 a game, while Dales averages a team-high 6.6 assists.

Texas has some impact players of its own. All-American candidate Edwina Brown had 18 points, 10 assists and seven steals as the Longhorns rolled by Missouri, 80-64, on Saturday to stay undefeated at home (7-0).

Freshman guard Alisha Sare, who scored 18 points against Missouri, was recently named Big 12 rookie of the week. She is second on the Longhorns in scoring, averaging 11.3 points despite averaging only 19.4 minutes of action.

Oklahoma will need to keep a hand in Sare's face behind the arc. She leads Texas in 3-pointers made (35) and attempted (97).