Nov. 20, 2001
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OKLAHOMA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO TOURNAMENT
The third-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team wraps up its five-game road trip as one of four teams competing in the Texas-San Antonio Tournament over the Thanksgiving holiday break. OU (3-0), North Texas (1-1), Butler (0-2) and host UTSA (0-1) make up the four-team two-day tournament field hosted at the Convocation Center (5,100) on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 23-24, 2001.
OU opens play on both days at 6 p.m. The Sooners will face Butler on Friday and North Texas on Saturday. Oklahoma and UTSA will not play each other.
Both of OU's games will be broadcast live on KOMA-AM (1520) and on the Internet at www.soonersports.com. Brian Brinkley will provide the play-by-play and Tara DeGiusti will be the color analyst for the women's basketball radio network.
OVERVIEW OF THE FIELD
Oklahoma is the only undefeated team entering this weekend's tournament. The Sooners defeated Purdue, 80-75, Oral Roberts, 73-38, and Tulsa, 75-52, in previous action. UTSA has only played one game, last Saturday, losing 62-45 to Houston in Houston.
Butler and North Texas each have two games under their belt. Butler is winless (0-2) on the young season, losing to Utah, 77-54, and Minnesota, 114-65, at the Minnesota Gopher Tournament last weekend. North Texas is the only other team, besides the Sooners, that has won a game this year. UNT played in the Nevada Tournament in Reno, Nevada, last weekend. The Lady Eagles defeated Memphis, 75-70, on Saturday, after opening its season with a loss to Big 12 opponent Baylor, 85-78, on Friday.
OU vs. North Texas
Friday's game will be the 20th meeting between the two teams. OU owns the all-time series record, 17-2, which includes winning the last seven games against the Lady Eagles. The last time UNT defeated an OU team was in 1990, 91-85, in Denton. Oklahoma is 17-10 when playing teams from the Sun Belt Conference.
OU vs. Butler
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the two teams.
OU vs. Texas-San Antonio
Oklahoma is flawless, 5-0, when playing Texas-San Antonio, however, the two teams will not play each other this weekend.
The Sooners, an experienced and veteran team, are led by four players who are averaging 10-plus points per game. OU also has six players playing 23-plus minutes per contest. Leading the Sooners' scoring charge is senior Defensive All-American and preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.). Caufield is averaging 15.0 points per game and shooting .889 percent from the foul line (16-of-18). She also has pocketed seven steals and grabbed nine rebounds on the year.
Senior Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada), another preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate, junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) and senior Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) are each contributing 13.3 points per game. However, Dales led OU last weekend with 17.5 points per game while shooting .615 percent (16-of-26) from the field. Hill continues to be a strong defensive presence in the paint and remains a legitimate threat on the arc for the Sooners. She ranks second on the team in rebounds, averaging 6.3 per game, and three-point field goal percentage (.467), hitting seven-of-15 threes taken. Ross leads OU in three pointers taken (18), made (9) and accuracy (.500), of players who have shot more than five treys. Senior Jamie Talbert (Elkhart, Kan.) tops the team in rebounds with 6.7 per outing.
As a team, Oklahoma is shooting 44.6 percent from the field (82-of-184), 41.5 percent from the arc (22-of-53) and 68.9 percent from the charity stripe (42-of-61). However, OU's opponents hold a slight 38.0-to-37.3 advantage on the boards. But, the Sooners' defense has forced 75 turnovers and pocketed 41 steals. OU has also dished out an impressive 47 assists to its opponents' 25.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
OU will set a school record for most consecutive away games played to open the season this weekend. The Sooners tipped off the 1997-98 and 2000-2001 campaigns with four consecutive away games, but this weekend OU will have played its fifth road game before opening its home schedule.
Who would have thought that freshman Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.) would be leading Oklahoma in assists, steals and blocked shots categories, categories that are usually ruled by senior All-Americans Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield. Jackson tops the team and ranks eight in the Big 12 Conference with 4.67 assists per game. She also ranks 14th in the league in steals with 2.67 per outing. The Parkway West High graduate plays 29.0 minutes per game, second most on the team, and contributes 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Sooners are looking foward to next Tuesday (Nov. 27), when they finally open their 2001-02 home schedule against TCU at 7 p.m. inside the recently renovated Lloyd Noble Center. The Lloyd Noble Center has become a safe haven for the Sooners as they sport an impressive 36-6 record (.857 winning percentage) inside the building over the last three seasons. Since OU Head Coach Coale's arrival in 1996-97, OU is 42-21 at home (.666 winning percentage).
Third-year Head Coach Wendy Gatlin has an extremely young team. Coach Gatlin's starting lineup consists of four sophomores and one freshman. She has no seniors and just one junior on this year's squad. Even with all the youth, the Bulldogs have three players averaging double digits in scoring. Topping the chart is Lisa Pryer's 13.0 ppg, followed by Nancy Bowden's 11.0 and Sarah Boltan's 10.0 ppg. Dionna Goodwin tops the team and all teams competing in this weekend's tournament with 11.0 rebounds per game.
Butler returns six letterwinners and only one starter from last year's team that went 8-20 overall and 3-11 in conference action. BU is a member of the Horizon League, formerly known as the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC).
North Texas is no stranger to the Sooners as the two programs have meet the past two seasons. OU won both games with an average margin of victory of 18.5 points. Unlike Butler, North Texas sports five seniors in its starting lineup and its top two reserves are juniors. UNT returned 10 letterwinners and four starters from last year's team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT and finished 19-11. The Lady Eagles have a lot of experience and are probably the most veteran team in the Sun Belt Conference.
In the league's preseason coaches poll, UNT was picked to finish second in the West Division. Denver, who participated in the NCAA Tournament and won the division title last year, is the preseason favorite to win the conference crown this seaon. Earning preseason All-Sun Belt honors were seniors Jalie Mitchell and Rosalyn Reades. Mitchell was voted to the first team, while Reades was selected to the honorable mention squad.
Mitchell leads the Lady Eagles in early season action as she tops the team in scoring, with 22.0 points, and rebounding, with 6.0 boards per game. Senior Shannan Stephenson is the only other UNT player to average double digits in scoring as she contributes 17.0 ppg. Against Baylor, Mitchell dropped 29 on the Lady Bears, while Stephenson scored 24 points against Memphis.
Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) has become one of the most talked about and respected head coaches in NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball. She has taken a 5-22 program (1996-97) and turned it into a nationally-ranked 28-6 program in five short seasons. Coale was named the eighth head women's basketball coach in OU history on April 6, 1996. The Big 12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons has directed the Sooners to the program's first back-to-back Big 12 regular season titles and NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Oklahoma has compiled an overall record of 53-14 and a 28-4 mark in conference play the past two years. Since Coale's arrival, OU is 82-69.
Tina Slinker (Wayland Baptist, 1978) is in her 13th season as head coach of the North Texas women's basketball program, one she has taken to the top of the Sun Belt conference and into contention for a possible NCAA berth this season. She owns an overall record 142-184 and was named the Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 1998-99. Following that season UNT joined the Sun Belt Conference. Coach Slinker guided her 2000-01 squad to the WNIT, the first postseason action for the Lady Eagles since the 1985 team. Slinker's 1999-2000 team tied for first in the Big West eastern division, while the 1998-99 team won the Eastern division outright. Prior to UNT, Slinker was an assistant coach for Texas Tech's Head Coach Marsh Sharp in the 1980s. Sharp is also a graduate of Wayland Baptist.
Wendy Galtin (Marshall, 1992) enters her third season as Butler's head coach. In her tenure with the program, she has compiled an 18-38 record. Galtin spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa before accepting Butler's head position in 1998. While at Iowa, the Hawkeyes won a Big 10 regular-season title and made an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Though Oklahoma and Texas-San Antonio do not play each other this weekend, there will be a familiar Sooner face on the sidelines and in the crowd. Former Sooner great Phylesha Whaley (Slaton, Texas) will be on the sidelines as an assistant coach for UTSA and will be a fan in the crowd when the Sooners are playing. Whaley holds a very special place in thousands of Sooner fans' hearts as she was extremely instrumental in changing the face of Oklahoma women's basketball forever. The former four-year letterwinner and starter (1997-2000) was Sooner Head Coach Sherri Coale's first collegiate recruit, first All-Big 12 selection, first Big 12 Player of the Year and first All-American. Whaley remains the school's all-time scorer with 2,187 points. She also holds nine other Sooner career records. Whaley's mom, Cynara, and sister, Patavia, remain supportive of the OU women's basketball program.