No. 24 Oklahoma Heads to Texas A&M In Big 12 Action

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 04, 2003

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Feb. 4, 2003

Quickly: Looking to end a two-game losing streak, Oklahoma (13-7, 4-3 Big 12) heads to College Station, Texas, to face Texas A&M (8-10, 1-6 Big 12) for the second time this season. OU dealt the Aggies a 38-point loss, 77-39, 18 days ago in Norman (Jan. 18).

For the first time since the 1998 season OU lost back-to-back games inside the Lloyd Noble Center last week against nationally-ranked Texas, 60-54, and Kansas State, 74-45. Oklahoma's offensive power was missing as the Sooners shot a disappointing 32.8 percent from the field, 14.8 percent from beyond the arc and 56.5 percent at the free throw line which resulted in just 49.5 points per game against the Big 12 leaders.

Texas A&M will also be looking to snap its own losing streak of five-games. Oklahoma State has been A&M's only victim in Big 12 play, winning 69-54 on Jan. 11. However, Kansas shocked the Aggies and ended its Big 12 Conference 21-game losing streak by defeating TAM, 64-57, in College Station on Jan. 25.

TV: None

Radio: Saturday's game can be heard on the Sooner Sports Network. Sooner fans can tune to one of 15 stations, including KOMA (1520-AM) and the Internet at, to hear play-by-play by Brian Brinkley and color analyst Tara DeGiusti. A list of Sooner Sports Network stations can be found on page four of this release.

Series Records: Oklahoma leads the all-time series 15-7. OU has won nine straight and 10 of the last 11 games against TAM including a 77-39 victory earlier this season. Oklahoma has not loss to the Aggies since Jan. 21, 1998, in College Station (91-83).

Rankings: Oklahoma is ranked 24th in this week's Associated Press poll. OU was ranked 18th in last week's USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches poll. This week's coaches' poll was not released as of Noon on Tuesday. Texas A&M is not ranked.

Coaches: Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) is in her seventh season at the helm of the OU women's basketball program. The Healdton, Okla., native directed the Sooners to their first Final Four and national championship game appearance a year ago. Coale also has three Big 12 regular season titles under her belt and owns an overall record of 126-80. (For more information on Coale see page 3).

In five years, Texas A&M Head Coach Peggie Gillom (Mississippi, 1980) has produced an overall record of 51-78. She served as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor for two years with the WNBA Houston Comets prior to accepting the A&M job. Chancellor also hired Gillom as an assistant coach for 16 years at Mississippi, following an outstanding collegiate career for Ole Miss.

Upcoming Opponent: Oklahoma will host state rival Oklahoma State for the first of two Bedlam matchups on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center. The game will be televised by Sooner Sports Network.

OU Tickets: Single game tickets for adult reserved seating is $10, while general admission seating is $8. Youth will be admitted for $5 and OU students are free with valid I.D. To order tickets or for more ticket information, fans should call (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU during regular business hours. Tickets may also be purchased online at


Oklahoma                                               PPGRPG
14  CBeky Preston (6-3, Fr., Albuquerque, N.M.)  3.03.2
12  GLauren Shoush (5-11, So., Oklahoma City, Okla.)  2.11.7
35  GDionnah Jackson (5-9, So., St. Louis, Mo.)  12.56.3
 0  GChelsi Welch (5-9, Fr., Plainview, Texas)  10.93.7
33  G/FLaura Andrews (6-0, Fr., Washington, Okla.)  4.34.2

Texas A&M PPGRPG 4 FJanae Derrick (5-11, Jr., Trotwood, Ohio) 7.66.2 55 CLynn Classen (6-3, Jr., San Antonio, Texas) 8.93.4 24 G/FSabrina Mitchell (5-9, So., Corpus Christi, Texas)6.34.9 12 GMindy Garrison (5-9, So., San Marcos, Texas) 6.32.1

Although OU was the 2002 NCAA runner-up, the Sooners have a whole new look in 2003. Oklahoma entered the season with just one returning starter from last year's team that won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles. They entered conference play with five new starters, after senior forward Caton Hill was lost for the season with a knee injury on Nov. 26. Hill is one of four OU players out for the season with knee injuries, including freshman Casey Walker and Erin Higgins, and senior Stephanie Simon.

Junior guard Maria Villarroel, a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma A&M, leads the Sooners with 15.6 points per game and a 61.9 field goal percentage. She also averages 4.3 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Dionnah Jackson joins Villarroel in double figures with 12.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and a team-high 4.7 assists per game.

Freshman Chelsi Welch has also started every game for the Sooners, averaging 10.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Inside, senior center Theresa Schuknecht, a transfer from Arizona State, has added 11.0 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per contest, while freshman forward Laura Andrews (4.3ppg, 4.2 rpg) has started eight of the last 10 games for the Sooners.

Pushing Schuknecht and Andrews for playing time is sophomore guard Lauren Shoush (2.1ppg, 1.7 rpg) and freshman center Beky Preston (3.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg). Preston and Shoush both have started the last three games for the Sooners.

Oklahoma is averaging 66.8 points per game on offense, while allowing 61.3 points per game defensively for an average scoring margin of +5.5 points per game. Last season, OU owned an average scoring margin of +16.3 points per game (78.2-61.9).

One of the big factors in OU's decreased offensive production has been its lack of success from three-point range. The Sooners are shooting just 28.7 percent (78-272) from three-point range, compared to their 36.4 percent (211-580) success rate from long range last season.

Texas A&M is a team that has not finished any higher than ninth in the Big 12 Conference regular season race. TAM currently sit at No. 11 in the Big 12 standings. The Aggies are 8-10 overall and 1-6 Big 12 this season. They opened the 2002-03 campaign winning six of their first seven games and have lost their last five Big 12 games.

Texas A&M is lead by junior guard Toccara Williams' 13.1 points per game. Williams leads the nation in steals per game with 4.9, while the Aggies rank as the ninth best team in thefts per outing with 13.6 per game.

Junior center Lynn Classen and freshman guard Natasha Summerville follows Williams with 8.9 and 8.8 ppg, respectively. Junior forward Janae Derrick tops the team in rebounds with 6.2 boards an outing.

A&M's top rebounded, Kim Moore, left the team at the beginning of January for personal reasons.

As a team, TAM averages 63.9 points, while their opponents score 66.5 points per game. The Aggies are also being outrebounded, 39.1-44.1.

Junior Maria Villarroel had a flawless game against Texas A&M the first time around on Jan. 18 in Norman. Villarroel scored 21 points to lead Oklahoma past the Aggies, 77-39, for its first conference win of the season.

A crowd of 5,229 got to see Villarroel go 9-of-9 from the field and hit all three attempted free throws, to tie the Lloyd Noble Center record for best individual field goal percentage of 100 percent. Former Sooner Jamie Talbert also had a flawless showing against TCU in Norman when she went 5-of-5 from the field in 2001. However, Villarroel did not attempt enough shots to meet the minimum number to qualify for the school record in this category.

The Sooners beat the Aggies for the ninth straight time by holding Texas A&M to 25 percent shooting. OU held TAM to only 17 points and 7-of-38 shooting (18%) in the final 20 minutes of play, including only 1-of-10 outside the arc. OU outscored Texas A&M 46-17 after intermission. Toccara Williams scored 12 points and was the only player in double figures for Texas A&M.

Oklahoma outrebounded A&M, 46-32, and outscored the Aggies 16-3 from the foul line. OU shot shot 80.0 at the charity stripe with the starters shooting an impressive 13-13. The Sooners pocketed a season-high 17 steals, while an assist was credited on 23 of OU's 28 field goals. Oklahoma's bench hit 3-of-4 treys.

Both teams were sloppy, however: Oklahoma had 24 turnovers, two more than A&M.

Villarroel added six assists and seven to her totals. Theresa Schuknecht added 14 points and Dionnah Jackson had 13 points and seven assists. Sophomore Lauren Shoush had a career high of five steals and made her first three-pointer of the season.

Dionnah Jackson has become Oklahoma's floor general as a sophomore due to senior Caton Hill being sideline with a knee injury.

Jackson has picked up her production in Big 12 play. Her ability to take care of the basketball has her second on the Big 12 charts in assists/turnover ratio with a 2.2, compare to a 1.2 assists/turnover ratio in non-conference action. Her 10 assists to zero turnovers in 38 minutes of play against Texas has been her best showing in a Sooner uniform at the point guard position. Her previous best was eight assists and one turnover in 23 minutes against Tulsa as a freshman.

Another area that Jackson has improved in is her free throw percentage. Over the past five games, she has nailed 83.3 percent of her attempted shots at the foul line. And, in league play she's hitting 76.9 (20-of-26). In non-conference action, Jackson was only able to connect on 61.2 percent (41-of-67) of her free throws.

The 5-9 guard leads the team in rebounds with 7.3 boards per game (9th in the Big 12), in conference games, and ranks fifth the Big 12 in defensive boards with 5.86 per game. In addition, the St. Louis, Mo., native ranks second on the team in overall points (12.5 ppg) and in Big 12 scoring (12.0 ppg). Jackson appears among the Big 12 top 25 in seven statistical categories in league play. (see page 5 for rankings)

Freshman Chelsi Welch has come up with stellar performances against Big 12 opponents. The Plainview, Texas, native has scored at least 10 points against six of the seven league teams, including a career-high 20 against Texas. She also dropped 17 at Nebraska.

She scored all eight of OU's points with the assistance of two threes in the final 1:32 against Texas to cut the lead to 54-57 with 28 seconds to play. At Nebraska, she scored 10 of her 17 points in the final 20 minutes of the game, including going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Welch leads the Sooners in three-point field goal percentage (37.9%), attempts (4.1) and threes made per game (1.6) in conference matchups. She also leads the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) and third in field goal percentage, hitting 37.5 percent (29-of-72), of players attempting more than 20 shots.

Prior to the last four games, Oklahoma had appeared at the free throw line at least 20 times in its previous 14 of 15 games. The Sooners are averaging 16.3 points per game from the stripe and attempts an average of 23.6 free throws per game.

However, over the past three games, OU has only scored 6.7 points from the foul line and attempted just 13.7 shots from the stripe.

Nebraska became the first team this season to shoot more free throws than OU. The Cornhuskers appeared at the stripe 27 times to Oklahoma's 20. Baylor topped Nebraska's appears with 35 free trips to the foul line, hitting 23, while Texas hit 21-of-29 free throws.

The fewest free throws Oklahoma has attempted in a single game this season has been 11 against Kansas State and at Stanford, second lowest was 12 against Texas.

OU has hit 80 percent from the charity stripe five times, including a season-best 84.2 percent (16-of-19) at Kansas.

Oklahoma now has five different players to have score 20-or-more points in a single game. OU's five players have do so in 14 different games. Most recently, freshmen guards Laura Andrews and Chelsi Welch shocked Big 12 opponent Baylor and Texas with 20 plus points each. Andrews took Baylor for a career-high 21 points in OU's 65-64 win at Baylor. Welch dropped in a career-best 20 points against Texas Wednesday.

Junior Maria Villarroel tops the team in this category with seven 20-plus point performances. Senior Theresa Schuknecht has had three games where she's score better than 20 points and sophomore Dionnah Jackson has performed this task twice.

Villarroel is the only Sooner to have netted 30-or-more points in a single game. She's done it twice (30 vs. Fordham and 31 vs. Sam Houston State).

Sophomore guard Lauren Shoush and freshman center Beky Preston has started the last two games for Oklahoma. The duo earned the promotions with previous game and practice performances.

Shoush, an Oklahoma City native, has been the energy source for the women's basketball team as of late. Shoush's intensity sparked Sooner runs in the Texas A&M and Kansas games. She started the second half and played a career-high 28 minutes against the Jayhawks. The guard turned in five points, had three rebounds, three steals and an assist. Her minutes were more than just numbers, she was divining for loose balls, jumping into passing lanes and battling for every rebound. At Baylor, she played 14 minutes producing two points, two assists and two steals. The Putnam City North High School graduate is averaging 3.0 points, 2.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in Big 12 match ups. But, what's more impressive is her 100 percent effort.

Preston, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, played 23 minutes and had four rebounds, two points and one assist in her first collegiate start. She also assisted in guarding Baylor's top player, Steffanie Blackmon. Blackmon only scored six points, 13.2 below her season average of 19.2 ppg. Preston is averaging 2.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in Big 12 play.

Over the last three games, freshman Laura Andrews has stepped up for the Sooners. The 6-0 guard/forward has averaged 11.0 points and a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game. She also shot 40 percent from the field (12-of-30) and 31.6 percent from beyond the three-point line (6-of-19). For the year, Andrews is contributing 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Oklahoma is 9-0 when leading at halftime and 1-3 when trailing at intermission against Big 12 teams.

Oklahoma shot a season-best 54.9 (28-51) percent from the field and 45.9 (5-11) percent from the arc against Texas A&M in its first meeting.

OU's 23 assists and 17 steals vs. Texas A&M also tops the league for best single game performance. Maria Villarroel's 9-of-9 field goal shooting against the Aggies sits atop the league charts for best field goal percentage.

Oklahoma's 27-of-36 performance at the free throw line against Texas Tech ranks No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the Big 12 Conference for single game best in league match ups.

Laura Andrew's five made three at Baylor ranks second best and 10 attempts is the most in league play by an individual.

Oklahoma hit a season-high 10 three pointers and had a season-high 28 fouls called against the Sooners at Baylor. OU's 38.9 percent free throw performance (7-18) at BU was a season low. Unfortunately, OU followed that poor free throw shooting performance with a 41.7 (5-12) showing at the stripe against Texas. OU's five free throws made was a season low. These are the only two games of the season that OU has shot below 50 percent from the stripe.

OU connected on a season-best 84.2 percent (16-19) of its free throws at Kansas. OU also matched a season low 31 rebounds at KU, while the Jayhawks had an OU opponent season-high 30 turnovers.

Junior guard Maria Villarroel is averaging 16.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in games played inside the Lloyd Noble Center compare to just 12.4 points and 3.0 boards in games played away from the center. She is also hitting 65.3 percent of her shots at home. In games that OU has lost, Villarroel has only scored 11.1 points per contest.

Over the last three games, Villarroel has only produced 3.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, one assist and shot 38.5 percent (5-of-13) from the field. She has also averaged 3.0 turnovers per game in 21.3 minutes per outing.

Since being benched for the last three games, senior center Theresa Schuknecht has contributed 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game plus shot 38.9 percent from the field (7-of-18).

Oklahoma is 1-6 against top 25 teams and 0-5 vs. teams in the top 10. Five of OU's six losses came against top 10 teams, with setbacks to No. 2 Tennessee (94-68), No. 5 Connecticut (73-60), No. 6 Stanford (58-38) along with a narrow loss to SMU (71-68). OU's losses in Big 12 play have been to No. 3 Kansas State (74-45), No. 7 Texas Tech (80-71) and No. 11 Texas (60-54). OU also owns a 66-63 victory over No. 12 North Carolina on Nov. 30.



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