Dec. 3, 2002

Norman, Okla. - - Oklahoma's Maria Villarroel and Kansas State's Nicole Ohlde were named Big 12 Women's Basketball Players of the Week as voted on by a media panel and released by the Big 12 Conference Office Monday. Villarroel was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week while Ohlde took Player of the Week honors.

Villarroel, a 5-8 junior transfer guard, exploded last week after the Sooners suffered two ACL injuries. She scored a career-high 31 points against Sam Houston State, the night Caton Hill and Erin Higgins were hurt, as OU defeated SHSU 79-52, in Norman. The Margarita, Venezuela, native also led OU to a second-place finish and was named to the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Rainbow Classic All-Tournament team after averaging a team-best 24.0 points and ranked second with 5.3 rebounds per game. She nailed 70.7 percent of her shots, hitting 29-of-41 attempted field goals. In OU's opening game of the Classic, Villarroel scored 30 points against Fordham, followed by 15 points in OU's 66-63 victory over No. 11 North Carolina. She recorded 27 points against No. 4 Connecticut.

"This is a well deserved honor for Maria," said OU Head Coach Sherri Coale. "She had an outstanding tournament in Hawaii against some very tough competition. Maria also played extremely well against Sam Houston State. She went out an scored 31 points the same day we lost Caton (Hill) and Erin (Higgins) to injuries. She has really stepped up her game over the past week and we will continue to need her to be aggressive."

Ohlde averaged 20.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals in two games last week while being named Co-MVP of the Stanford Tournament.

Big 12 Player of the Week
Nov. 25 - Kendra Wecker, Kansas State
Dec. 2 - Nicole Ohlde, Kansas State

Big 12 Rookie of the Week
Nov. 25 - Erin Grant, Texas Tech
Dec. 2 - Maria Villarroel, Oklahoma