Oct. 20, 1999

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the Big 12 Conference in a preseason poll voted on by the league's head coaches and released Wednesday by the conference office. Oklahoma's senior Phylesha Whaley was also recognized as a preseason All-Big 12 first-team selection.

Oklahoma's sixth-place prediction is its highest ever under Head Coach Sherri Coale. OU, which returns all five starters, was one of nine Big 12 teams that participated in postseason action a year ago. The Sooners had a winning record of 15-14 and ended the 1998-99 season ranked among the nation's best in scoring (29th/75.5 ppg), rebound margin (27th/+5.4) and free throw percentage (28th/73.0).

Whaley, who is a 1999-2000 Women's Basketball Journal Preseason All-American, averaged 19.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year, earning her All-Big 12 first team honors. The 5-10 forward has been the leading scorer for the Sooners for the past three years and the top rebounder for the last two seasons. The Slaton, Texas, native poured in a career-, school- and Bud Walton Arena-record 40 points against Arkansas in the second round of the 1999 WNIT. The power forward is only 647 points shy of becoming Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer and owns the school record for most career free throws made with 435. She became the 14th player in women's basketball history to record 1,000 points. She surpassed that milestone on Nov. 29, 1998, against Coppin State at the Cancun Invitational.

Iowa State, which collected 11 of 12 first place votes (head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players) was tabbed as the team to beat and was followed by Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech. Iowa State finished second in the Big 12 last season with a 12-4 conference mark and 25-8 overall record. ISU advanced to the final of the Big 12 Conference tournament, marking its first appearance in a conference tournament championship game, and made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament "Elite Eight." ISU returns its entire starting lineup, including senior Stacy Frese, who was picked by the coaches as Big 12 Conference Preseason Player of the Year. The 5-8 guard averaged 17.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 4.3 apg in 1998-99, and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team, the All-Big 12 Tournament Team and the NCAA Mideast Regional All-Tournament Team.

Three players tied for preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors: Iowa State's Gintare Cipinyte, Oklahoma State's Tari Cummings and Texas A&M's Jaynetta Saunders. Cipinyte and Saunders were both NJCAA First Team All-Americans last season while Cummings was fourth in the nation in scoring average.

Colorado's Sabrina Scott was named preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. The Lake Oswego, Ore., native was a WBCA and Parade All-American at Lakeridge High School.

1999-2000 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll

 1. Iowa State (11)  121

 2. Kansas           102

 3. Nebraska          92

 4. Texas (1)         90

 5. Texas Tech        83

 6. Oklahoma          74

 7. Kansas State      59

 8. Colorado          54

 9. Missouri          49

10. Oklahoma State    31

11. Baylor            19

12. Texas A&M         18

1999-2000 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Team

Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Stacy Frese, Iowa State    G   5-8   Sr.  Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Lynn Pride, Kansas        G/F  6-2   Sr.  Arlington, Texas

Edwina Brown, Texas        F   5-10  Sr.  Lockhart, Texas

Nicole Kubik, Nebraska     G   5-10  Sr.  Cambridge, Neb.

Phylesha Whaley, Oklahoma  F   5-10  Sr.  Slaton, Texas

Player of the Year:

Stacy Frese, Iowa State    G   5-8   Sr.  Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Newcomer of the Year (three-way tie):


Gintare Cipinyte, Iowa State     C  6-5   Jr.  Kaunas, Lithuania/Seward County (Kan.) CC

Tari Cummings, Oklahoma State    F  5-10  Jr.  Pocola,Okla./Westark (Ark.) CC

Jaynetta Saunders, Texas A&M     F  5-11  Jr.  Louisville, Ky./Belleville (Ill.) Area College

Freshman of the Year:


Sabrina Scott, Colorado          F  6-2   Fr. Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge HS