Sept. 24, 2001

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team has been ranked No. 4 in Athlon's, Women's Basketball News Service's and SLAM Magazine's 2001-02 preseason polls. In addition, three Sooners have earned preseason All-America honors, including senior Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada/Thousand Islands Secondary School) who was named WBNS preseason co-player of the year. Connecticut's Sue Bird was also selected WBNS player of the year. In addition, the WBNS and Athlon named Dales to its All-America first team, while Sooners LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla./Ada HS) and Caton Hill (Ada, Okla./Ada HS) were selected to the WBNS honorable mention team.

Head Coach Sherri Coale led OU to a school-best 28-6 overall record and first-place 15-1 Big 12 Conference mark in 2001. The Sooners repeated their NCAA Sweet 16 appearance for second year and closed out the campaign ranked seventh in the country. Oklahoma returns 11 letterwinners from last year's squad which won its second straight conference title and welcomes four freshmen and one transfer to this year's team.

Dales, 2001 Kodak All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year, had a phenomenal season for the Sooners a year ago. She averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and a Big 12-leading 7.3 assists a game. Her mark for assists per game ranked eighth in the NCAA. Dales also shot 47.6 percent from the field and had a team-best 1.8 assist/turnover ratio.

Caufield, who led the nation and conference in total steals with 135, was OU's second leading scorer with 15.8 ppg. She also ranked second best in nation and led the league in steals per game, pocketing an impressive 4.0 per contest. The Oklahoma native enters her senior season holding the school's all-time record in thefts with 305 and ranks sixth in points scored with 1,499, 688 shy of the school record.

Hill, a junior, is OU's top returning rebounder with 9.3 boards per game. She led the Sooners in three-point field goal percentage, hitting 45.8 percent (27-of-59) of her shots, and ranked third on the team in points with 13.0 ppg. Hill ended the last season bettering her previous single season record for most defensive rebounds with 219. She now holds the program's top two marks in this category. The Ada, Okla., native spent the summer fine tuning her skills with the USA Women's Basketball team that won a gold medal at the World University Games in Beijing, China.

Oklahoma tips off the 2001-02 season with a pair of exhibition games on Nov. 1 against Southern Nazarene and Nov. 6 versus Oklahoma Christian. Both games will be played at the OU Field House. The Sooners will open the season against Purdue, last year's national runner-up, as one of four teams participating in the State Farm's Tip-Off Classic in Durham, N.C., on Nov. 11.


2001-02 Women's Basketball News Service Preseason Top 25 Poll

1. Connecticut

2. Vanderbilt

3. Tennessee

4. Oklahoma

5. Texas Tech

6. North Carolina State

7. Louisiana Tech

8. Iowa State

9. Duke

10. Georgia

11. Purdue

12. Colorado

13. Florida

14. George Washington

15. Colorado State

16. Loyola Marymount

17. Clemson

18. Notre Dame

19. North Carolina

20. Stanford

21. Iowa

22. Rutgers

23. Baylor

24. Texas

25. Boston College

(t) BYU


Athlon's Preseason Top 25 Poll


1. Tennessee

2. Vanderbilt

3. Connecticut

4. Oklahoma

5. Duke

6. Iowa State

7. Louisiana Tech

8. Stanford

9. Texas Tech

10. Baylor

11. North Carolina State

12. Florida

13. Washington

14. Purdue

15. Colorado

16. Penn State

17. Arizona State

18. Michigan

19. Notre Dame

20. Maryland

21. Drake

22. Utah

23. George Washington

24. North Carolina

25. Georgia


SLAM Magazine Preseason Top 10 Poll

1. Connecticut

2.Vanderbilt

3.Tennessee

4.Oklahoma

5.Louisiana Tech

6.Duke

7.Texas Tech

8.Iowa State

9.Washington

10.Purdue