Jan. 25, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - The 23th-ranked Oklahoma (15-3, 5-0 Big 12) women's basketball team puts a six-game winning streak on the line Wednesday when the Sooners travel to College Station, Texas, to face the Aggies of Texas A&M (9-7, 1-5) at Reed Arena at 7 p.m.

Since the last time the two teams met on Jan. 12, Oklahoma has not lost a game, while the Aggies have lost five in a row, including three since OU.

The OU-Texas A&M women's game will be broadcast live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City). Ed Murray (play-by-play) and Jenny Bramer (analyst) will call the action.

#23 Oklahoma (15-3, 5-0) at Texas A&M (9-7, 1-5)
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2000
Arena: Reed Arena (15,500)
Radio: OU - KOMA (1520 AM) - Live
Internet: www.soonersports.com - Live
TV: None

OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Oklahoma is being labeled as one of the most dangerous teams in the Big 12 Conference and in the nation -- and for good reason. OU has an overall record of 15-3 and records of 9-1 at home, 6-0 on the road and 0-2 on neutral court. The Sooners are also shooting a whooping 49.6 percent from the field and are dominating opponents on the glass, owning a 40.3 to 29.7 rebounding edge. Oklahoma has outrebounded all but three of its opponents this season and has shot 50-percent-or-better in 12 games.

With a Big 12 record of 5-0, OU ties its best conference start ever. The Sooners matched the 1984-85 team had a 5-0 run as a member of the Big Eight Conference.

Senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley (Slaton, Texas) continues to lead a balanced Sooner attack that features four players averaging in double figures. Whaley, who became the school's career record holder in defensive rebounds and minutes played at Baylor, is averaging 19.2 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. She has produced seven double- doubles this season and scored in double digits in all 18 games.

Following Whaley is a trio of underclassmen in sophomore guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales and freshman forward Caton Hill. Caufield averages 14.2 points and a team-high 3.1 steals per outing. Dales is the team leader in assists with 6.7 and ranks third on the team in scoring with 12.0 ppg. Hill, who is coming off career highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds at Texas, is an all-around contributor as she averages 10.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals and shoots 51-percent from the field.

In Oklahoma's last 15 games, the Sooners boast an overall record of 14-1 with its only loss being against Connecticut.

ABOUT TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M is on a five-game losing streak which started on Jan. 8, against Oklahoma State. The Aggies last win was a 62-59 victory over Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Jan. 5. The team leads the Big 12 Conference in blocked shots with 5.25- and assists with 20.38 per game. The Aggies also rank second in steals, averaging 12.88 assists per try. But, in conference games only, Texas A&M ranks fifth in blocked shots (3.33/g) and assists (16.00/g) and third in steals (12.00/g).

The Aggies are coming off a 74-71 loss at Nebraska Saturday. Junior transfer Jaynetta Saunders had a 21 point and nine rebound performance for the Aggies. Saunders has been the team's leading scorer and rebounder five times this season. The Louisville, Ky., native entered her first season as an Aggie as the 1999-2000 Big 12 Conference Preseason Newcomer of the Year. Saunders has been named the league's Rookie of the Week three times and ranks among the top shot blockers. A year ago, she led the nation in scoring for all junior colleges at 27.1 ppg.

Like Oklahoma, Texas A&M has four players who average double digits in scoring. Saunders charts a team-high 14.7 points per game, followed by senior Prissy Sharpe's 13.5, junior Brandy Jones' 11.7 and senior Kera Alexander's 11.2 a game. Sharpe paces TAM defensively with 8.9 boards per outing, while Saunders and Alexander grabs 7.3 and 6.8 a game. Saunders also ranks third in the league with 1.88 blocked shots per game.

Peggie Gillom is in her second season as head coach of the Aggies. Gillom served as the assistant coach at her alma mater (Mississippi) under head coach Van Chancellor for 16 years (1981-97). In the spring of 1997, she joined Chancellor's coaching staff with the newly formed Houston Comets of the WNBA. She joined the Aggies' program as the head coach on June 26, 1998, and has posted a 16-26 overall record and a 3-18 Big 12 mark. This past year, Gillom served as an assistant coach to USA Basketball head coach Nell Fortner for the USA Senior Select Team and then for the USA/Pan American Games Team that won the bronze medal.

Probable Starters

Oklahoma
Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPGOthers
F34Phylesha Whaley5-10Sr.18-1819.28.41st in ppg & rpg
F10Caton Hill6-1Fr.18-1810.57.22nd in rebounds
G20LaNeishea Caufield5-9So.18-1814.24.73.1 spg
G21Stacey Dales6-0So.18-1812.05.26.7 apg
G13Sunny Hardeman5-7Jr.18-155.01.93.7 apg

Off the bench (listed numerically)

Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPG
C00Desiree Taylor6-1Jr.18-35.03.3
C15Jen Cunningham6-3So.17-02.22.5
G23Jadrea Seeley6-2Fr.18-09.11.8

Texas A&M

Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPG
F32Jaynetta Saunders5-11Jr.16-1614.77.3
F30Kera Alexander5-11Sr.16-1611.76.8
C14Prissy Sharpe6-1Sr.15-1213.58.9
G23Brandy Jones5-7Jr.16-1611.23.2
G13LaToya Rose5-6So.16-167.01.6

Off the bench (listed numerically)

Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPG
F10Meg Banahan6-0Fr.14-02.81.6
G12Tina Jones5-5Jr.16-126.82.4
C22Celeria Washington6-2So.16-02.73.1

THE SERIES
Oklahoma holds an 9-7 series lead against Texas A&M. The Sooners and the Aggies first met on Nov. 26, 1978, in Springfield, Mo., as participants of the Southwest Missouri State Invitational. TAM won the first game, 52-45 to start a seesaw battle between the two schools. Until last year, neither team has swept the two-game Big 12 series. OU took both games a year ago by scores of 83-71 (College Station) and 95-69 (Norman).

Texas A&M's Peggie Gillom has never defeated an OU team, while OU's Sherri Coale holds a 5-2 edge against the Aggies.

TEAM COMPARISONS

OVERALL GAMES
OUCATEGORYTAM
15-3Records9-7
79.7Points70.6
40.3Rebounds38.8
.496FG%.439
.3293pt. FG%.254
.743FT%.700
19.4Assists20.4
10.8Steals12.9

BIG 12 GAMES

OUCATEGORYTAM
5-0Records1-5
81.6Points57.2
41.2Rebounds34.0
.536FG%.379
.3453pt. FG%.195
.750FT%.640
20.6Assists16.0
10.2STEALS12.0

Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M
Year-by-Year Recap

YearResultSiteMargin
1979L, 52-45Springfield-7
1979W, 58-49Denton+9
1980L, 71-53College Station-18
1982W, 83-55Norman+28
1986W, 93-62Norman+31
1990L, 101-86College Station-15
1991L, 83-71Norman-12
1994W, 90-69Norman+21
1995L, 99-74College Station-25
1997W, 71-69Norman+2
1997L, 66-63College Station-3
1998W, 84-76Norman+8
1998L, 91-83College Station-8
1999W, 83-71College Station+12
1999W, 95-69Norman+26
2000 W, 87-59Norman+28

NEXT UP
Oklahoma travels to Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 29, to face Missouri at the Hearnes Center. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

A win Wednesday and at Missouri Saturday would mark the first time a Sooner women's basketball team had gone unbeaten in January.

WHALEY TIED SCHOOL RECORD VS. THE AGGIES
Oklahoma made it three in a row with an 87-59 win over Texas A&M in Norman on Jan. 12. The Sooners used a 25-7 run to close out the first half, including 17 unanswered points, to capture the first win of the two-game series.

Against the Aggies, senior forward Phylesha Whaley tied the school career record for most defensive rebounds. Whaley collected seven defensive rebounds but had 11 totoal boards vs. TAM. Since that game, Whaley has become OU's career leader in that category and now owns 506 defensive rebounds.

"I thought our effort was outstanding," said OU Head Coach Sherri Coale. "Our help defense was outstanding. We did a great job of blocking out. Transition offense is what broke the game open. When we started running in the first half, we were able to get out of that half-court game and we obviously prefer to go up and down. I thought we had a real nice finish to the first half and a good start to the second half."

Sophomore guard LaNeishea Caufield led OU in scoring with 18 points, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line, and eight rebounds. Whaley and sophomore Stacey Dales both turned in 16 point performances, with Whaley registering her then sixth double-double on the season. Sophomore center Jen Cunningham came off the bench to produced a career-high 11 rebounds, 10 defensive.

"If I had a game ball to give, I would give it to Jen Cunningham," said Coale. "She did a great job off the bench. She really effected their interior players and did a great job of rebounding. She was strong with the ball and made determined post moves inside."

The Sooners performed well offensively, shooting 53-percent from the field, 46-percent from three-point range and tied a then season-high 86-percent from the charity stripe. Once again, Oklahoma dominated down low scoring 40 points in the paint and outrebounding the Aggies, 49-25, including 18 second-chance points.

The Aggies were held to its second lowest shooting performance of the season, hitting just 33-percent of their shots (20-61). However, Texas A&M had four players in double-digit scoring, led by junior Jaynetta Saunders with 14, senior Kera Alexander had 13, while senior Prissy Sharpe and junior Brandy Jones both scored 11 points.

The 28-point defeat is the Aggies worst loss of the season.

WHALEY NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading the 23rd-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team to two Big 12 Conference wins and helping extend the Sooners' perfect league record to 5-0, OU senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week Monday afternoon by the league office. It marks Whaley's first league honor this season but it's her eighth career Big 12 Player-of-the-Week-title.

The 5-10 power forward averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, two steals and shot 50-percent from the field (12-of-24), 60-percent from the three-point line (3-of-5) and hit 90-percent from the foul line (9-10) last week, while the Sooners improved their overall record to 15-3 with wins over Texas and Colorado.

The Slaton, Texas, native played 37 of 40 minutes and scored 15 points, was 2-for-3 from three point land, grabbed eight rebounds and pocketed two steals against Texas. Oklahoma became just the 42nd out of 330 teams to beat the Longhorns (76-73) in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center last Wednesday.

OU returned to the Lloyd Noble Center Saturday to hand Colorado its fourth-straight conference loss of the year, 76-73. Whaley posted game highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. She was perfect from the foul line (6-6), shot 59-percent from the field and added two steals and assists to her total.

Earning Rookie-of-the-Week honors was Texas' freshman Alisha Sare. Sare averaged 22.5 points, hitting nine of 20 threes.

WHALEY WATCH

CategoryCurrently NeedsTo move, pass
PointsNo. 2, 1847301No. 1, Molly McGuire (1980-83)
FG MadeNo. 3, 64625No. 2, Jacquetta Hurley (1983-86)
214No. 1, Molly McGuire (1980-83)
FG AttemptedNo. 2, 135579No. 1, Molly McGuire (1980-83)
3pt. FG MadeNo. 12, 533No. 11, Kelley Workman (1995-99)
3pt. FG AttemptedNo. 12, 1532No. 11, Kelley Workman (1995-99)
FT MadeNo. 1, 506XHas record
FT AttemptedNo. 1, 650XHas record (vs. Tulsa, 11-21-99)
ReboundsNo. 5, 7826No. 4, Lynn McCurdy (1983-86)
288No. 1, Molly McGuire (1980-83)
Off. ReboundsNo. 1, 276XHas record (vs. Tenn. Tech, 11-19-99)
Def. ReboundsNo. 1, 506XHas record (at Baylor, 1-15-00)
Games StartedNo. 4, 1019No. 1, Angi Guffy (1992-95)
should tie it at Texas Tech (F19) and break it at Kansas State (F22)
Minutes PlayedNo. 3, 3510XHas record (at Baylor, 1-15-00)
Consecutive No. 1, 101XHas record (vs. UALR 12-11-99)
GAMES STARTED

SOONERS AMONG THE FEW TO BE UNDEFEATED IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Oklahoma is one of only 25 teams out 310 schools to still be undefeated in conference play. The following is a list of conferences, undefeated teams and conference records as of Jan. 23.

ConferenceTeamConf. Rec.
Atlantic 10St. Joseph's (PA)5-0
George Washington4-0
ACCDuke5-0
Big East Connecticut6-0
Notre Dame6-0
Boston College6-0
Big WestUC-Santa Barbara3-0
Big 12Iowa State5-0
Oklahoma5-0
ColonialOld Dominion6-0
Mid-AmericanKent7-0
MidwesternButler3-0
Wis.-Green Bay2-0
MVCSW Missouri St.7-0
Mountain WestUtah4-0
Northeast Mount St. Mary's6-0
Ohio ValleyTennessee Tech8-0
Pac 10UCLA5-0
PatriotBucknell4-0
SouthernTenn.-Chattanooga8-0
SouthlandSFA8-0
SW AthleticGrambling State8-0
SunbeltLouisiana Tech4-0
West CoastSt. Mary's (CA)4-0
WACSMU4-0

MOVING ON UP
The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team moved up two slots to No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Poll released late Monday afternoon. Last week's national ranking of 25th marked the first time in four years that the Sooners were among the nation's top 25 programs.

Oklahoma boasts an overall record of 15-3, including a 14-1 run in its last 15 games. OU and Iowa State is tied for first place in the Big 12 Conference with identical 5-0 records.

"This is a great thing for our players," said OU Head Coach Sherri Coale. "It's a reward for how hard they have worked and the commitment they have made to take this program into national prominence. It's a part of that big picture we have been pursuing since day one. The key is sustaining our climb."

"I'm excited and very proud of our team and coaching staff," said Marita Hynes, OU Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator. "Before the season ever started, Coach Coale indicated that this team would be very good and it just proves to me that she is a master of assessing talent at the NCAA Division I level."

Prior to this year, the last time Oklahoma was ranked in the top 25 was on Feb. 28, 1995. The highest national ranking the Sooners have ever received was 11th in 1985-86. That season, OU was ranked for 16-consecutive weeks.

NOTABLES
Stacey Dales needs four assists to move to No. 5 (275) on OU's all-time assists list.

With LaNeishea Caufield's 55 steals this season the sophomore from Ada, Okla., ranks 13th on OU's career list with 129. She's 12 shy of Terry Willis' 141 career steals for 12th.

In career blocks, Dales is tied for 15th with four this season, pushing her career total to 20.

Junior Desiree Taylor now ranks among OU's best in offensive rebounds with 118, ranking her 14th on the all-time record list.

Junior Sunny Hardeman has moved from 13th to 10th on OU's all-time three-pointers made chart with 56. Hardeman has hit 21 this year. Her season high is 22 set as a freshman in 1997-98.

OKLAHOMA RUNS
Not since the 1986-87 season has an Oklahoma women's basketball team been able to put together an 8-0 and 6-0 run in the same season. Top-ranked Connecticut ended the Sooners eight-game winning steak on Dec. 29, 1999. However, Oklahoma bounced back to start another winning streak. The Sooners are a perfect 6-0 in the new millennium heading into Wednesday's contest against Texas A&M.

The 1984-85 team opened the year with an 8-0 run, followed by losing two games and winning the next six.

Never before has an OU team won eight-straight games, lost a game and then won seven-consecutive games.

DALES LEADS THE LEAGUE
Sophomore Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) is currently the Big 12 Conference leader in assists and boasts the league's second best assists/turnover ratio. She's dished out 6.72 assists a game and has an 1.73 assists/turnover ratio. Texas Tech's Melinda Pharies' 2.24 assists/turnover ratio tops the conference.

In conference games only, Dales also tops the league in assists with 7.00 a game.

WHALEY BECOMES SCHOOL'S ALL-TIME LEADER
Senior Phylesha Whaley became Oklahoma's all-time leader in defensive rebounds and minutes played at Baylor on Jan. 15. The Slaton, Texas, native collected a total of 11 boards, for the second consecutive game, and nine defensive boards to give her the record. The 5-10 forward now has 506 defensive rebounds to her credit.

Whaley also became OU's all-time leader in minutes played with 33 against the Lady Bears.

She is the OU's record holder in six career statistics: free throw made (506), attempted (650), offensive (276) and defensive (506) rebounds, minutes played (3510) and consecutive games started (101).

WHALEY LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS
Senior forward Phylesha Whaley was one of five players selected to the 1999-2000 Preseason All-Big 12 Conference team. The Slaton, Texas, native is living up to the all-conference and preseason All-America praise as she ranks among the league's best in six different categories. She is tied with Iowa State's Stacy Frese for the most individual categories to be ranked in.

SOONERS AMONG THE NATION'S ELITE
In the latest Collegiate Basketball News Women's RPI Rankings, the University of Oklahoma women's basketball team was ranked 14th in the country.

Only Texas Tech (7th) from the Big 12 Conference ranks higher than the Sooners. Oklahoma also has a higher RPI than 12 teams in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll (Auburn, Rutgers, Virginia, Stanford, Iowa State, Arizona, UCLA, Mississippi State, Kansas, Tulane, Illinois, Purdue).

The Ranking Percentage Index (RPI) is used by the NCAA women's basketball committee to supplement the selection of at-large teams for the NCAA Tournament. The RPI is derived from three component factors: Division I winning percentage (25%), schedule strength (50%) and opponent's schedule strength (25%). Games against non-Division I opponents are not used in calculation of the RPI.

SHARP SHOOTING SOONERS
Out of the 18 games that Oklahoma has played this season, the sharp shooting Sooners are nailing 49.6 percent of their shots and 53.6 percent in Big 12 games.

In addition, out of the nine players who have seen action in at least 17 games, seven are shooting 50 percent or better from the field. Leading OU in field goal accuracy is sophomore center Jen Cunningham's 69.6. Cunningham has hit 16-of-23 attempted shots, while sophomore forward Shannon Selmon has hit 11-of-19 shots for a field goal percentage of 57.9, followed by junior Desiree Taylor's 56.0 (28-50) and freshman Jadrea Seeley's 53.8 (71-132).

Out of the starters, senior Phylesha Whaley's is shooting 52.2 (132-253), followed by sophomore LaNeishea Caufield's 51.6 (83-161 and freshman Caton Hill's 51.0 percent (77-151).

INJURY REPORT
OU is injury free heading into the game.

SOONERS LASSO LONGHORNS
Oklahoma entered Wednesday's game against Texas in Austin winless but the Sooners left the Frank Austin Center with a stunning 76-73 victory that ended UT's 10-game home winning streak. OU dominated the glass, outrebounding the much bigger Horns, 44-30, and shot 49.2 percent to UT's 41.0 from the field.

Freshmen Caton Hill and Jadrea Seeley carried the Sooners when experienced Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield and Phylesha Whaley were saddled with four personal fouls each midway through the second half. Hill recorded career highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds, for her fourth double double of the year, and Seeley followed with 15 points and a career-high five boards. Whaley had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Caufield contributed nine points and pocketed four steals. Dales, who forced a shot clock violation and drew a charge on UT's All-American Edwina Brown in the final seconds of the game, dished out a game-high seven assists and added eight points, including 2-of-4 threes.

Texas led 33-29 at halftime but Oklahoma hit 17-of-30 (56.7%) in the final 20 minutes to outscore the Longhorns 47-40 in the second half. This was just the fourth time this season the Sooners trailed at intermission and was the first time this year OU won a game after trailing at half.