No. 18 Oklahoma Set to Host Two Top 25 teams this week

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 28, 2003

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Jan. 28, 2003

Norman, Okla. -
Quickly: Oklahoma (13-5, 4-1 Big 12) welcomes 11th-ranked Texas (12-5, 5-1 Big 12) to town on Jan. 29, for the first of two Red River Shootouts. The Longhorns and Sooners will tip off at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday. Texas lost to No. 3 Kansas State, 71-69, Saturday in Manhattan, Kan., while OU won on a last second three-pointer by Dionnah Jackson against Baylor in Waco Sunday.

Tickets: Single game tickets can be purchased for a small price. 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

TV: None

Radio: Wednesday's game will air on the Sooner Sports Network. An additional 15 stations will be carrying the OU-Texas Tech game. As usual, all of the women's basketball games are broadcast live on KOMA (1520-AM) and on the Internet at Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti will action the game for the Sooners.

Rankings: Oklahoma is ranked 19th in the Associated Press and 18th USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches polls, while Texas enters the week ranked 11th in the AP poll and 13th in the Coaches' poll.

Series Records: Texas leads the all-time series, 12-7, but Oklahoma has won three of its last four games against the Longhorns. Texas escaped with a 68-62 overtime victory in Austin in the last meeting between the two teams. Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale is 6-7 against UT.

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 126-78. (For more information on Coale see page 3).

Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt (Baylor, 1963) became only the seventh coach in college basketball history to win 800 games. She accomplished this milestone last week when UT upset No. 7 Texas Tech in Austin. The multi-Hall of Famer Conradt became just the second women's basketball coach in history to collect 800 career wins. She joins Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Jim Phelan and Pat Summitt (who collected her 800th win against DePaul on Jan. 14, 2003) as the only NCAA Division I coaches to reach that exclusive plateau. Conradt teams have reached the NCAA Tournament 10 of the past 20 years.

Upcoming Opponent: Once again, Oklahoma will face another nationally-ranked opponent within the Big 12 Conference. OU will host No. 3 Kansas State (18-1, 5-0 big 12) on Saturday, Feb. 1, in a Fox Sports Net televised game inside the Lloyd Noble Center at 2 p.m.


Oklahoma                                               PPG        RPG
14  CBeky Preston (6-3, Fr., Albuquerque, N.M.)     2.83.1
33  G/FLaura Andrews (6-0, Fr., Washington, Okla.)     4.13.8
35  GDionnah Jackson (5-9, So., St. Louis, Mo.)     12.86.2
0   GChelsi Welch (5-9, Fr., Plainview, Texas)     10.33.7
5   GMaria Villarroel (5-8, Jr.-TF, Margarita, Venezuela) 16.74.4

Texas PPG RPG 04 FKala Bowers (6-2, So., Woodward, Okla.) 10.16.1 21 FHeather Schreiber (6-2, So., Windthorst, Texas) 13.18.6 41 CStacy Stephens (6-1, Jr., Winnsboro, Texas) 14.18.2 12 GTai Dillard (5-9, Sr., San Antonio, Texas) 7.64.4 22 GNina Norman (5-6, Fr., Houston, Texas) 5.91.9

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 most recently, senior Stephanie Simon.

Despite the new look, Oklahoma continued its success during a rugged non-conference schedule. Four of OU's five 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 also owns a 66-63 victory over No. 12 North Carolina on Nov. 30. OU's only loss in Big 12 play has been to No. 7 Texas Tech (80-71).

Junior guard Maria Villarroel, a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma A&M, leads the Sooners with 16.7 points per game and a 63.3 field goal percentage, which ranks nationally. She also averages 4.4 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Dionnah Jackson joins Villarroel in double figures with 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and a team-high 4.5 assists per game.

Freshman Chelsi Welch has also started every game for the Sooners, averaging 10.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Inside, senior center Theresa Schuknecht, a transfer from Arizona State, has added 11.5 points and a team-leading 7.0 rebounds per contest, while freshman forward Laura Andrews (3.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg) has started seven of the last eight games for the Sooners.

Pushing Schuknecht and Andrews for playing time is sophomore guard Lauren Shoush (1.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg) and freshman center Beky Preston (2.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg). Preston and Shoush both started the last game for the Sooners.

The Sooners are averaging 68.7 points per game on offense, while allowing 60.7 points per game defensively for an average scoring margin of +8.0 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 30.2 percent (74-245) from three-point range, compared to their 36.4 percent (211-580) success rate from long range last season.

Texas is one of the hottest teams in Division I women's basketball. The Longhorns have won five of their last six games and gave Head Coach Jody Conradt her 800th career victory against state rival and seventh-ranked Texas Tech, 69-58, in Austin on Jan. 22. UT enters Wednesday's game with an overall record of 12-5 and Big 12 mark of 5-1. The Longhorns have a 2-2 record when playing teams ranked among the top 10 and top 25 in the nation. In their last 10 games, the Longhorns are 7-3.

Four Longhorns are contributing 10 points or more per game, while three account for six plus rebounds a contest. Leading UT is junior center Stacy Stephens. Stephens tops the Longhorns with 14.1 ppg, followed by Heather Schrieber's 13.1, Jamie Carey's 10.4 and Kala Bowers' 10.1 ppg. Schreiber is the team leader in rebounds with 8.6, while Stephens is a close second with 8.2 rpg. Bowers hauls down 6.1 boards per game.

As a team, UT averages an 74.5 points, while their opponents are only allowed to score 54.8 points per game. Texas is outrebounding its opponents, 42.4 to 33.8.

Oklahoma swept the Big 12 women's basketball player of the week honors as Dionnah Jackson was named Player of the Week and Laura Andrews was named Rookie of the Week for the week of Jan. 20-26.

Jackson, a 5-9 sophomore guard, averaged 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.5 steals per game in Oklahoma's two Big 12 road victories last week. She also shot 43.3 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from the foul line.

The St. Louis, Mo., native nailed the game-winning shot at Baylor, hitting her only three-pointer of the game with two seconds left to give OU the victory and its first lead of the contest. Jackson scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and had four steals while battling foul trouble. She also hit and attempted a career-best 8-of-17 shots (47.1%) against the Lady Bears. At Kansas, Jackson tallied 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and matched a career-best five steals.

Andrews, a 6-0 freshman guard/forward, averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds last week. At Baylor she produced her first collegiate double-double with a career-best 21 points and 11 rebounds. Andrews also nailed a career-best five threes and shot 50 percent from the field (7-of-14) in the last-second win. For the week, the Washington, Okla., native shot 50 percent from the field (8-16) and three point range (6-12) and hit both attempted free throws.

Oklahoma hit a season-high 10 three pointers and had a season-high 28 fouls called against the Sooners at Baylor Sunday. OU's 38.9 percent free throw performance (7-18) was a season low.

OU connected on a season-best 84.2 percent (16-19) of its free throws at Kansas last Wednesday. The Sooners have hit 80 percent or better from the stripe in five games this season. OU also matched a season low 31 rebounds at KU, while the Jayhawks had an OU opponent season-high 30 turnovers.

Oklahoma is 9-0 when making more field goals than its opponent. OU is also 9-0 when leading at halftime.

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. OU also shot 80.0 percent from the foul line.

Oklahoma leads the Big 12 Conference, for league games, in steals per game as the Sooners are averaging 12.40 thefts an outing. OU pocketed a season-high 17 steals against Texas A&M.

Junior guard Maria Villarroel is averaging 19.7 points and 6.3 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 69.8 percent of her shots at home. In games that OU has lost, Villarroel has only scored 13.6 points per contest.

Sophomore guard Dionnah Jackson also prefers to play at home, averaging 15.7 ppg as to 11.3 ppg on the road. Jackson also shoots 51.2 percent from the field in games that the Sooners have won compare to shooting just 26.2 percent in OU's losses.

Preferring to play on the road is freshman Chelsi Welch. Welch averages 12.0 ppg to her 9.3 ppg at home. She also averages 3.8 rebounds a game on the road to 3.2 boards at home.

Junior point guard Stephanie Luce and Texas center Stacy Stephens are extremely familiar with one another as the pair teamed up together to play on the same AAU team during high school.

Sophomore guard Lauren Shoush and freshman center Beky Preston appeared in the starting lineup for the first time in their careers Sunday against Baylor. 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, 2.0 assists and 2.0 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 guard Baylor's top player, Steffanie Blackmon. Blackmon only scored six points, 13.2 below her season average of 19.2 ppg. Preston is averaging 2.8 points and 3.1rebounds per game.

Oklahoma won its 500th game in program history Sunday against Baylor. The Sooners squeak out a 65-64 win over the Lady Bears on three-pointer with two seconds to play.

Current and previous Sooner teams have established an overall record of 500-371 in 28 years (.574 winning percentage).

Head Coach Sherri Coale has been responsible for 126 of those victories. Coale is 16 wins shy of tying OU's all-time winningest coach Maura McHugh's 142 victory mark.

Oklahoma is ranked 16th in an unofficial NCAA Division I Women's Basketball home attendance survey, which is compiled by the University of Wisconsin Women's Sports Information Office. The Sooners are averaging 4,733 fans overall.

Topping the overall chart is Connecticut's 13,966, Tennessee's 13,323 and Texas Tech's 12,025 fans per game. Six Big 12 schools rank among the nation's top 25 in attendance.

Junior Maria Villarroel continues to lead the Big 12 Conference in field goal percentage. Villarroel is shooting an impressive 63.3 percent from the field. She also ranks sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 16.7 ppg, and 10th in steals with 2.18 thefts per game. In league games only, the 5-8 guard ranks eight in scoring (16.2), third in field goal percentage (61.4%), fourth in steals (2.75), ninth in free throw percentage (81.8%) and 14th in offensive boards (2.6).

Senior Theresa Schuknecht, sophomore Dionnah Jackson and freshman Chelsi Welch also ranks among the conference best in scoring. Jackson ranks 17th (12.8 ppg), followed by Schuknecht at 22nd (11.5 ppg) and Welch at 27th (10.3 ppg).

Schuknecht moves up to fourth in free throw percentage (87.0), stays at fifth in offensive rebounds (3.22) and slides to 12th in total rebounds (7.0 rpg).

Jackson moves up to second in steals (2.47), stays at 13th in defensive boards (4.67), ninth in assists (4.50) and advances to 13th in assists/turnover ratio (1.20). The St. Louis, Mo., native also ranks 17th in rebounds per game (6.2).

With a solid three-point performance Sunday, Welch now ranks 14th in the league for best three-point field goal percentage, hitting 32.3 percent of her shots. She also has hit 76.4 percent of her free throws to rank 10th in the league.



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