April 19, 2002
Norman, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball program had three players selected in the first round of the 2002 WNBA Draft today (April 19). Seniors Stacey Dales -Schuman, LaNeishea Caufield and Rosalind Ross capped off incredible careers at OU by being selected among the top 16 players in this year's draft. The draft was broadcast nationally on ESPN2 from the NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, N.J. Outside of Connecticut's four draft selections, Oklahoma's three picks were the most in the first round. UConn's Sue Bird was the top overall draft choice by the Seattle Storm.
Dales-Schuman becomes Oklahoma's highest draft selection while the trio became OU's second, third and fourth players from OU to ever be drafted by the WNBA. Former Sooner great Phylesha Whaley was the 38th overall draft pick by the Minnesota Lynx in the third round of the 2000 draft.
Dales-Schuman, who was present at the WNBA Draft selection, was selected third overall by the Washington Mystics, a team that finished eighth in the WNBA Eastern Conference last year with an overall record of 10-22. The Mystics are coached by Marianne Stanley who's in her first season with the organization. Tennessee's head coach Pat Summitt is the Mystics' Player Personnel Consultant.
"Stacey Dales is a player that can play any position the coach wants her to play, which is music to our ears," said Summitt. "Watching her on tape the last few days, there's not a more versatile perimeter player in this pool. We certainly think she's a great fit."
Caufield was OU's second player on the day to be chosen. She was taken as the 14th overall pick by the Utah Starzz. The Starzz produced an overall record of 19-13 for third in the Western Conference a year ago. Utah is coached by Candi Harvey. Joining Caufield on the Utah Starzz draft roster is Danielle Crockrom of Baylor, who's a member of the Big 12. Crockrom was chosen 11th overall in the first round.
"I was just glad to hear my name," said Caufield. "I'm extremely happy to be chosen by Utah but shocked to see my name in first round. Today I was more nervous than I've ever been, and I've played a lot of games at Oklahoma. I don't know anything about Utah but I'm a quick learner. I'm ready to work hard and adjust to whatever the coaches ask me to do."
The defending WNBA Champions, Los Angeles Sparks, selected Ross as its first and 16th overall draft choice. Los Angeles, who's coached by Michael Cooper, ended 2002 with an impressive overall record of 28-4.
"I'm so excited but I'm more nervous now than I was before the draft," said Ross who's at her home in Milwaukee, Wis. "My mouth dropped when they called my name. I was in shock when Rosalind Ross popped up on the screen. I really want to play well and do a good job for this team. This is a great opportunity for me."
Dales-Schuman, Caufield and Ross guided the Oklahoma women's basketball program to a NCAA national runner-up finish and a No. 2 national ranking in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls this season. They also helped produce a school best overall record of 32-4 and won the Big 12 with a 14-2 mark. Dales and Caufield assisted the Sooners to a program best four-year record of 99-32 (76% winning percentage), while Ross was a part of the school's two-year record of 60-10 (86% winning percentage). Oklahoma has won three Big 12 regular-season titles, made three NCAA Sweet 16s, won one Big 12 Tournament crown and regional championship plus appeared in the program's first Final Four since the trio joined the women's basketball program.
Dales-Schuman, a two-time consensus Kodak and AP All-American (2001, 2002), became the most decorated women's basketball player to ever wear the Crimson-and-Cream jersey. The Brockville, Ontario, native ended her career ranked 23rd on the NCAA all-time assists list with an OU record 764, the only Big 12 Conference player to appear on this list. Dales, who played for the 2000 Olympics for the Canadian National team, averaged 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per game as a senior. The 6-0 guard was named to the Big 12, NCAA West Regional and NCAA Final Four All-Tournament teams.
Two-time Defensive Player of the Year and All-Big 12 second teamer, Caufield ended her career tied for 12th on the NCAA all-time steals list with 402. Her 17.4 points and 2.7 thefts per game each were OU bests for the 2001-02 season. She also averaged 5.0 rebounds and nailed 86.8 percent of her free throws, which ranked 24th best in the NCAA for the year. The Ada, Okla., native is one of just three Sooners who belong to the 2,000-point club. She scored 2,125 points in four seasons to rank third on OU's all-time scoring chart. Caufield is the only player in school history to have her name ranked in the top 15 among the single season leaders four times in four different categories - steals, free throws made, attempted and percentage.
Dales-Schuman and Caufield also rank among the top 15 in 19 of 22 career categories including games played (132) and started (132).
A third team All-Big 12 selection, Ross leaves OU as one of the best three-point shooters in school history. The Milwaukee, Wis., native ranks sixth in career threes made (128), seventh in threes attempted (340) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (37.6%). She also ranks 13th in career defensive rebounds (232). After averaging 21.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and shooting 44.4 percent from the three-point line, Ross was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team. For the year, she contributed 11.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and shot 36.2 percent from the arc.