Oct. 18, 2001

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team was picked to defend its 2000-01 Big 12 regular season championship in the 2001-02 Big 12 Women's Basketball preseason poll voted on by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office Thursday. The Sooners garnered eight first place votes and tallied 117 points (coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players).

In addition, Oklahoma's Stacey Dales was picked to repeat as Big 12 Player of the Year. The 6-0 senior guard led the conference in assists last year with 7.29 per game and assist/turnover ratio with a 1.77 ratio. She was eighth in the league in scoring (16.0 ppg) and eighth in steals (2.41 spg) while being named a consensus All-America. Dales was a member of the Canadian National Team that competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and in the COPABA Tournament of the Americas in Sao Luis, Brazil, in September, 2001.

The top four teams in last year's final regular season standings were picked in the same places in this year's preseason poll. Texas Tech is second in the preseason poll with three first place votes and 112 points, followed by Iowa State in third with one first place vote and 99 points and Colorado fourth with 92 points. Texas rounded out the top five in fifth place with 79 points. The remainder of the preseason poll included: 6. Baylor; 7. Kansas State; 8. Nebraska; 9. Oklahoma State; 10. Missouri; 11. Kansas; and 12. Texas A&M.

Nebraska's Keasha Cannon was named preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and her teammate Katie Robinette was honored as preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Sooners LaNeishea Caufield and Caton Hill each received voted for the All-Big 12 team.

Joining Dales on the preseason All-Big 12 team is: Angie Welle, Iowa State; Plenette Pierson, Texas Tech; and Sheila Lambert and Danielle Crockrom, Baylor. Dales, Welle, Lambert and Crockrom were 2000-01 All-Big 12 first team members while Pierson was on the second team. Lambert and Crockrom are the league's top two returning scorers from last season with 22.1 (first/Big 12) and 21.2 (third/Big 12) points, respectively. Crockrom led the conference in rebounding with 11.6 rpg. Lambert was third in assists (6.07 apg) and fourth in steals (3.00 spg). Welle finished fifth in the Big 12 in scoring last year (18.3 ppg), second in rebounding (10.0 rpg) and led the conference in field goal percentage (.655/second in nation). Crockrom and Welle were the only two Big 12 players to average a double-double in points-rebounds a year ago. Pierson was 10th in the league in scoring last year (14.7 ppg), ninth in rebounding (7.4 rpg), and fifth in blocked shots (1.31 bpg).

All five members of the preseason All-Big 12 team were named to various All-America squads last season and preseason All-America teams this year, including the list of preseason Naismith candidates.

2001-02 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Coaches Preseason Poll

1. OKLAHOMA (8)117
2. Texas Tech (3)112
3. Iowa State (1)99
4. Colorado92
5. Texas79
6. Baylor76
7. Kansas State57
8. Nebraska47
9. Oklahoma State41
10. Missouri34
11. Kansas27
12. Texas A&M11

(first place votes in parentheses; coaches not allowed to vote for own team)

2001-02 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Team
(coaches not allowed to vote for own players)

PlayerPos.Ht.Yr.Hometown/Last School
Stacey Dales, OklahomaG6-0Sr.Brockville, Ontario, Canada/Thousand Islands Secondary School
Angie Welle, Iowa StateC6-4Sr.Fargo, N.D./Shanley
Plenette Pierson, Texas TechF/C6-2Jr.Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood
Sheila Lambert, BaylorG5-7Sr.Seattle, Wash./Grayson (Texas) CC
Danielle Crockrom, BaylorF6-2Sr.Houston, Texas/North Shore

(Others Receiving Votes: Mandy Nightingale and Jenny Roulier, Colorado; Lindsey Wilson, Iowa State; Nicole Ohlde, Kansas State; Caton Hill and LaNeishea Caufield, Oklahoma; Jia Perkins, Texas Tech)

Player of the Year:

PlayerPos.Ht.Yr.Hometown/Last School
Stacey Dales, OklahomaG6-0Sr.Brockville, Ontario, Canada/Thousand Islands Secondary School

Newcomer of the Year:

Keasha Cannon, NebraskaG5-10Jr.Kansas City, Kan./Penn Valley (Mo.) CC

Freshman of the Year:

Katie Robinette, NebraskaF6-2Fr.South Sioux City, Neb./South Sioux City