Oklahoma-Texas Tech Preview

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 20, 2002

March 20, 2002

GAME: No. 4 Texas Tech (20-11) vs. No. 1 Oklahoma (29-3).
REGIONAL: West Regional, semifinals.
TIME: Saturday, 11:30 p.m. EST.
SITE: Boise State Pavilion; Boise, Idaho.

Oklahoma and Texas Tech, Big 12 rivals who already have met twice this season, play each other again in an NCAA West regional semifinal game.

This is Oklahoma's third straight trip to the round of 16, while Texas Tech is making its fourth straight appearance.

The Sooners dominated two regular-season contests between the teams, winning those games by an average of 15.5 points.

The Sooners finished first in the conference with a 14-2 record. Texas Tech, meanwhile, split its 16 conference games.

So it seems Oklahoma has a good chance to end its failings in the round of 16. The Sooners have been upset in the regional semifinals each of the past two seasons, and have never gotten past that round.

"I don't know that they're even going to really feel like they're in the NCAA tournament until we get past that Sweet 16 ceiling," said Sooners coach Sherri Coale, who has led the team to a team-record 29 victories. "That's been a thing we've been shooting for the entire year."

Oklahoma also has the advantage of having senior leadership. Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield, Oklahoma's top scorers, are among six seniors, four of whom start.

The Sooners, who own the top seed in the West region, have won seven straight games and 15 of 16.

"Our team is just clicking so well together right now," Caufield said after scoring 30 points in a 66-53 second-round victory over Villanova on Monday.

Texas Tech, coming off a 77-55 win over Mississippi State in the second round Sunday, is looking for its fourth trip to the round of eight.

Lady Raiders forward Amber Tarr is coming off a 25-point effort, ending a shooting slump. In four prior games, Tarr had made only nine of 38 shots.

"It's about time since my past two games I've been really cold," Tarr said.

Texas Tech has struggled at times on defense, allowing an average of 72.8 points, but it is yielding just 59 per contest in the tournament. In the first half, Texas Tech held Mississippi State scoreless for more than eight minutes and limited its top two scorers to just seven points.

The Lady Raiders lead the all-time series vs. Oklahoma 17-7.

The winner faces either second-seeded Stanford or third-seeded Colorado on Monday for the right to advance to the Final Four.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Texas Tech - F Jolee Ayers (9.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Tarr (12.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg), C Tanisha Ellison (5.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G Candi White (3.5 ppg, 4.5 apg), G Jia Perkins (16.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg). Oklahoma - F Caton Hill (12.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), F Jamie Talbert (7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg), G Rosalind Ross (11.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg), G Caufield (17.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg), G Dales (16.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.9 apg).

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Texas Tech - At-large bid, Big 12 conference; defeated No. 13 Stephen F. Austin 84-63, first round; defeated No. 12 Mississippi State 77-55, second round. Oklahoma - Automatic bid, Big 12 tournament champion; defeated No. 16 Hartford 84-52, first round; defeated No. 9 Villanova 66-53, second round.

ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Texas Tech - 24-13, 15 years. Oklahoma - 8-4, 5 years.



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