May 6, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma head women's basketball coach Sherri Coale announced Monday the signing of Maria Villarroel of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College to a national letter of intent for the 2002-03 academic year. Villarroel, a member of Venezuela's National Team, is one of six who signed with the Sooners this year and concludes Coale's 2002-03 recruiting class.

Villarroel, a native of Margarita, Venezuela, averaged 24.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore at NEO. She also accounted for 2.5 assists and 3.2 steals per game while shooting an impressive 69.4 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from beyond the three-point line this past season.

The two-time Kodak All-American earned Bi-State Athletic Conference and Region II Player of the Year honors after guiding NEO to an overall record of 35-1 and a national ranking on No. 2.

The 5-8 guard also earned second team NJCAA All-American honors and was voted the conference player of the year as a freshman at Independence Junior College (Kansas) in 2000-01.

"Maria brings a wealth of collegiate and international playing experience to our program," said Coale. "She's a very intense and quick guard who has the ability to get to the basket and finish. She's a tough competitor and is a great addition to our roster."