Sooners Fight Off Pesky Denver, 69-62

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 19, 1999

Dec. 19, 1999

DENVER - Senior Phylesha Whaley tallied her fifth double-double of the season and 20th of her career to lead the Oklahoma women's basketball team to a 69-62 win over Denver late Saturday night inside the Magness Arena in Denver, Colo. Whaley scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard LaNeishea Caufield produced a game-high 17 points, hitting 6-of-10 shots from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line.

Freshman Jadrea Seeley came off the bench to score 10 points, while sophomore point guard Stacey Dales had nine points, nine rebounds and five assists.

Denver jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the opening 3:31 on sloppy Oklahoma defense and poor rebounding. With just more than six minutes left in the first half, the Sooners had completed the trek back when Dales' layup gave them a 21-20 lead. The Sooners kept threatening to run away from the hosts after that but DU would never let them.

After a 34-28 halftime lead, Oklahoma appeared on the verge of taking the drama from this one in the second half. The Sooners opened a 42-31 advantage five minutes in and pushed their largest lead to 16. However, the Pioneers came back to close it to five with 2:38 remaining. But Oklahoma used free throws and lay ups after breaking DU's press to make sure the upset did not happen.

Solid shooting from the field and free throw line wrapped up Oklahoma's eighth win of the season. The win improved OU to 8-2 overall and extends its longest winning steak under Head Coach Sherri Coale to seven games. Denver dropped to 4-4 on the season.

Oklahoma shot 52.8 (28-53) percent from the field, compared to DU's 39.7 (25-63) mark. However, Denver forced Oklahoma to turn over the ball a season-high 26 times.

"This was our worst defensive performance of the year," said Coale. "I didn't think we played very well at all. We averaged 14 turnovers a game, we had 13 in the first half. You never know what you might get when you come off finals week. But give Denver credit. They played well."

"The one improvement that I saw as the game went along was that our rebounding improved and Desiree Taylor came off the bench and contributed in ways that won't show up on the stat sheet, such as taking a critical charge, diving for loose balls, etc."

Oklahoma returns to Norman to host San Diego on Tuesday, Dec. 21 before taking four days off for Christmas break. The Sooners host top-ranked Connecticut to close out 1999 on Dec. 29th. Both games will start at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center located on the OU campus.



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