March 10, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team (27-3) earned its first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament today when the Sooners were awarded the top seed in the West Region. OU will play its first two NCAA games at the Lloyd Noble Center on March 16 and 18. Times for Saturday's games will be announced Monday. The two first-round winners advance to Monday's second-round game that will be televised by ESPN Fullcourt beginning at 8:36 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the West Regional's semifinals in Boise, Idaho.

Top seed Oklahoma will host No. 16 seed Hartford, No. 8 seed Pepperdine and No. 9 seed Villanova. Hartford will be the Sooners opponent on Saturday. The Hawks own a 16-14 overall record and earned an automatic bid to the Big Dance after winning the America East Tournament on its home court in Hartford, Conn. Hartford went 8-7 in conference regular season action.

This will be Pepperdine's second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. The Waves sport an overall mark of 23-7 and went 11-3 in the West Coast Conference. Pepperdine earned the WCC's automatic bid after winning its first ever WCC Tournament title.

With a 19-10 overall record, Villanova earned an at-large bid. The Wildcats also produced a 12-4 record and finished third in the Big East Conference. Villanova is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and sixth in school history.

Tickets for the first and second rounds are $20 for adults and $15 for college age and younger. The prices include all three games. Tickets are available at the East Box Office at the Lloyd Noble Center, over the phone at (405) 325-2424 and 1-800-GoOU (4668) and on the Internet at www.SoonerSports.com.

Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale and seniors Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield comments on the upcoming NCAA Championship.

Head Coach Sherri Coale:

Comment on the NCAA Tournament: "I think it's a great draw. I think it's up to us to play up to our potential and if we do that everything will take care of itself."

"We could easy play another Big 12 team again. Colorado is a very very good and Texas Tech is dangerous. I think I like just about anybody outside of our league better than those within. It's a great statement for Big 12 women's basketball and our winning the league outright gives us confidence heading into the tournament."

On playing Hartford: "I know nothing about Hartford but I do know about Jen Rizzotti (head coach) and if her team plays anything like her than we had better be ready because she'll fight you until the final buzzer. I know they will be scrappy, they'll play hard and play with a lot of energy. We will have to be ready for them."

Playing at home: "I love the fact that we're playing at home. The crowd played a huge part last year. We needed a little bit of extra energy and got it from our packed house. We are looking forward to seeing the same thing (sold out games) and what a great way for our seniors to finish their career on the floor of the Lloyd Noble Center."

Stacey Dales

On playing at home the first two games: "It's critical to any teams' success because it give you the advantages of not having to traveling, you can sleep in your our bed and you are familiar with the surrounding and people. I'm sure we'll have another impressive crowds like we did last year, which played a big part in our success."

On the bracket: "Our bracket is great. There are some good teams and we have played Stanford before which could be a possible match up for us. We are excited about it. There are some Big 12 teams in there that we're familiar with too."

On OU:: "I think more than anything it's about Oklahoma right now and what Oklahoma's going to do and how we are going to play together just like we did this weekend at the Big 12 Tournament."

LaNeishea Caufield

On playing at home the first two games: "It's very important for a team to play their first two games at home, mainly because you have your home crowd behind you and we have great fan support. It's always nice to play in front of your home crowd because you're in a comfortable environment and you have family, friends and fans there."

OU's strong play as of late: "Here lately we have been immerse in the game. We just get lost in the game and really have a fun time playing together. We are enjoying every second together out on the court."

On the Big 12's seven teams in the NCAA: "The Big 12 Conference has made a big statement today. We have seven teams hosting first and second round games and that says a lot about our conference."