NORMAN, Okla. -- One week after the first women’s basketball preseason poll was announced, Athlon Sports countered with their own preseason ranking. The Oklahoma women’s basketball team is ranked No. 3 in the Athlon preseason poll, which is up three spots from the No. 6 preseason ranking bestowed by Lindy’s.
The preseason No. 3 ranking is the highest on record for OU. OU was ranked No. 4 in the 2001-02 Preseason Associated Press Poll. The Sooners were also ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/Coaches Preseason Poll that same season.
The top-10 ranking comes on the heels of the 2005-06 season, which was one of the most successful years in OU history. Last season the Sooners posted a 31-5 record, which included a 19-0 run through Big 12 play and a Sweet 16 appearance.
Athlon also named its preseason All-Americans. 2006 USBWA Freshman of the Year Courtney Paris was named to the first team along with Crystal Langhorne (Maryland), Jessica Davenport (Ohio State), Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Candace Parker (Tennessee).
This season, OU returns five starters and nine letterwinners, including 2006 consensus All-American Paris and 2006 All-Big 12 second team performer Leah Rush. OU also added five true freshman, who are headlined by McDonald’s All-Americans Abi Olajuwon and Amanda Thompson.
OU opens its season by hosting the State Farm Tip-Off Classic at the Lloyd Noble Center on Nov. 12. OU will play DePaul (No. 21 in Athlon poll) at 2:30 p.m., while Rutgers (No. 18 and Georgia (No. 8) will meet in the early game at Noon CST. All four teams reached the Sweet 16 last season.
Athlon’s Preseason All-Americans
First Team: Jessica Davenport (Sr., C, Ohio State), Crystal Langhorne (Jr., C/F, Maryland), Ivory Latta (G, Sr., North Carolina), Courtney Paris (C, So., Oklahoma), Candace Parker (So., F, Tennessee).
Second Team: Sylvia Fowles (Jr., C, LSU), Tasha Humphrey (Jr., F, Georgia), Tiffany Jackson (Sr., F, Texas), Erlana Larkins (Jr., F, North Carolina), Candice Wiggins (Jr., G, Stanford).