Sooners See Familiar Foe In Sweet 16

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 21, 2002

March 21, 2002

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Oklahoma, the top seed in the West Region, will be making its third consecutive NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. The Sooners downed 16 seed Hartford, 84-52, and ninth seeded Villanova, 66-53, to advance to the West Regional Championship in Bosie, Idaho. Joining the Sooners in Boise will be two Big 12 teams, Colorado and Texas Tech, and Pac 10 power Stanford.

Oklahoma has never advanced past the NCAA regional semifinals. OU will face fourth seeded Texas Tech on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. MST, while Colorado and Stanford opens the evening at 7 p.m. at the Boise State Pavilion in semifinal action. Tech and Stanford have participated in a final four but OU and Colorado have not.

This will be the third meeting between OU and Tech this year. Oklahoma swept the two game series, 80-68 in Lubbock, and 75-56, in Norman this year.

The winners of Saturday's semifinal games will play for the right to advance to the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four on Monday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. MST on ESPN2. Pam Ward (play-by-play), Carolyn Peck (color) and Heather Cox (sidelines) will team up to broadcast all the West Regional games.

Oklahoma will be playing its first women's basketball game in the state of Idaho this weekend. The Sooners have never played Idaho, Idaho State, Boise or Boise State.

Out of the four teams in the West Regional, four are from the Big 12 Conference. No other Regional has more than two teams from the same conference. The Midwest Regional sports Southeastern Conference powers Tennessee and Vanderbilt but the Mideast and East Regionals are single conference teams.

Out of the eight Big 12 Conference teams that qualified for the 2002 NCAA Championship, five are participating in the Sweet 16. The Southeastern Conference sent a tournament best eight teams to the "Big Dance" but only three remain.

The Big 12 and SEC has had three matchups in this year's the NCAA Championship. The Big 12 has won all three! Kansas State beat Arkansas, 82-68; Texas Tech eliminated Mississippi State, 77-55; and Colorado defeated LSU, 69-58, all to advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

This season, Oklahoma boasts an 10-3 record against top 25 teams and a 5-2 mark vs. top 10 teams.

Oklahoma is very familiar with its opponents in the West Regional. OU is in the same league as Texas Tech and Colorado and played Stanford twice last year. The Big 12 Conference, a league that got seven teams to the 2002 NCAA Championship, is the toughest in the country.

Since 1997 OU is 12-10 against the West Regional field.

OU vs. Texas Tech
TTU leads 17-7

Oklahoma and Texas Tech will face each other for the 25th time in program history on Saturday, March 23. The two teams have been dominate programs in the Big 12 with each claiming three Big 12 Conference regular season titles, the most of any league school.

Texas Tech leads the all-time series 17-7 against OU. However, the Sooners have swept the two-game series with the Lady Raiders for the last two years and have won five of the last six games. Never before has OU won four consecutive games against the Lady Raiders. Sooner Coach Sherri Coale also led OU to its first ever win in Lubbock a year ago.

OU vs. Colorado
CU leads 31-13

Colorado is another team that Oklahoma has defeated four straight times. The Sooners own a margin of victory of +10.8 points over the Buffs in these four games. The last time CU defeated the Sooners was in 1999, 63-62, in Boulder.

These two teams have met twice in Big 12 Tournament action, splitting the results. Colorado won, 71-66, in 1998, while OU eliminated the Buffs, 102-93, in an offensive showdown in the semifinals of the 2001 tournament.

OU vs. Stanford
OU leads 2-1

Oklahoma and Stanford has built up quite a rival over the last year-an-a-half. The Sooners defeated Stanford twice in Norman, Okla., last year. OU eliminated the Cardinal, 67-50, from the NCAA Tournament and handed Stanford a 102-98 overtime loss in December.

The only other time these two teams have met was in 1988 when SU won 91-66 in Stanford, Calif.

Oklahoma is 3-10 against teams from the Pac 10 Conference.

Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) was named the eighth head women's basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma on April 6, 1996. Six years ago, the University took a risk on hiring Coale because she had no NCAA Division I coaching experience. What she had was an impressive high school resume from Norman High School and community support. At the conclusion of the interview process, OU's administration was wowed by her energy, determination and enthusiasm to turn the Oklahoma women's basketball program around. The university, community, state and nation are still reaping the benefits of the energetic and determined mindset that search committee saw six years ago.

The two-time Big 12 and WBCA District V Coach of the Year (2000, 2001) recently led the Sooners to their second straight outright and third consecutive Big 12 Conference regular season title. She has also coached three teams (2000, 2001, 2002) to the NCAA Sweet 16 and won OU's first conference tournament title.

Over the last three years, Coale's teams have produced 20 or more wins, been ranked among the nation's elite, including a program high of No. 2 this season and boast an overall winning percentage of 82.8% overall (82-17) and 87.5% (42-6) in the Big 12 Conference.

She is one of only two coaches in Oklahoma women's basketball history who has won 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons and has more than 100 wins as a Sooner coach.

Coale, who grew up in Healdton, Okla., married Dane Coale on June 20, 1987. The couple has two young children, son Colton, 9, and daughter, Chandler, 5.

Coale has become one of the most talked about and respected head coaches in NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball. That search committee did see something special.


  • Three Big 12 regular season titles (2000, 2001, 2002)
  • Three NCAA Sweet 16 (2000, 2001, 2002) appearances
  • Two Big 12 Tournament title appearances (2001, 2002)
  • Won OU's first Big 12 Tournament title (2002)
  • Ranked among the nation's top-25 programs the last three seasons, with its highest being No. 2 this year
  • Coached OU's first Academic All-American first teamer and Academic Player of the Year for women's basketball
  • Home fan attendance has grown from 2,009 per game, in 1996-97, to 5,800 fans per game in 2001-02
  • Growth in season ticket sales has esclated from 700 a year ago to 3,000-plus this season
  • Oklahoma has had Academic and Athletic All-Americans.
  • Three straight Big 12 Player of the Year award winners, Phylesha Whaley, 2000, and Stacey Dales, 2001, 2002

    In NCAA action, Oklahoma is holding its opponents to just 52.5 points per game and 32.0 rebounds per outing. OU is scoring 75.0 ppg and grabbing 39.0 rpg. The Sooners are also holding their opponents to just 32.5 percent from the field and 28.2 percent from the arc.

    Oklahoma men's and women's basketball programs are one of ONLY FOUR that has both still playing in the NCAA Tournament. OU is joined by Duke, Connecticut and Texas as four programs that could sweep national titles.

    They are also one of only three programs that have both seeded either as a No. 1 or No. 2. OU, Connecticut and Duke women are No. 1 seeds. Duke men is a No. 1 seed, while Oklahoma and Connecticut are two seeds.

    The Sooners were only one of 18 programs to have both teams to qualify for the 2002 NCAA Tournament. The following were programs that had both men's and women's basketball teams competing in this year's NCAA Tournament: Boston College, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Creighton, Duke, Georgia, Indiana, Kent State, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Pepperdine, Stanford, Texas, Texas Tech, Wisconsin and UC Santa Barbara.

    For the first time in Sherri Coale's tenture, the Sooners will have an experienced and veteran team on the floor for NCAA Tournament action. OU sports four seniors and a junior among its starting lineup.

    The Sooners' starting lineup played at least 25 minutes per game in last year's NCAA Sweet 16 run -- Caton Hill (3 games, 33.0), Stacey Dales (3 games/32.7), LaNeishea Caufield (3 games/29.7 mpg), Jamie Talbert (3 games/28.7) and Rosalind Ross (3 games/25.0). Oklahoma also has bench players who bring NCAA Tournament experience to the court.

    Hill was named to the 2001 NCAA All-West Regional team after leading the Sooners in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (12.0). The Ada, Okla., native also ranked among the NCAA Tournament leaders in five statistical categories including first in rebounds (12.0) and defensive rebounds per game (7.0). Caufield topped the team in NCAA scoring average (23.7) in 2000, while Hill is OU's best rebounder in NCAA Tournament action, pulling down 8.7 rpg.

    After scoring 30 points in the second round of the NCAA Championship, senior LaNeishea Caufield went from being not ranked to No. 6 for most points scored in a single season. She also ranks No. 9 for her 536 points she recorded a year ago.

    Senior All-Americans LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales have scored better than 1,000 points combined this year. Caufield has recorded 557 points while Dales has netted 541. Together they account for 44.4 percent of OU's scoring this season.

    OU has won 23 straight home games, including going 14-0 this year, and has won 29 of its last 30 at the Lloyd Noble Center ... the Sooners are 4-2 against top-10 teams and 10-3 vs. top 25 teams this season ... Oklahoma is a perfect 25-0 when making more field goals than its opponent ... the Sooners are 24-0 when ahead at halftime ... OU is also undefeated when shooting better than 50% from the field (9-0), shoots more free throws (20-0), has more total rebounds (22-0) and more defensive boards (23-0) ... OU's 10-0 start to open the season matched a school best ... OU has dished out 20 assists in a single game 11 times ... Oklahoma has had four players score in double digits in the same game 16 times this season ... Six players scored 10 or more points against Texas (J19), while five players have had 10-plus points in four other games.

    The Oklahoma women's basketball program is featured in the March 18, 2002 Sports Illustrated. The article, Back From The Dead, highlights the Sooners' rise to success by author Kelli Anderson.

    For the third consecutive year, Oklahoma sports the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. Sooner point guard Stacey Dales was awarded the league's top honor in February. Dales also appeared on the All?Big 12 first team, while teammate LaNeishea Caufield, a senior guard, was named to the second team for the third straight year. Junior forward Caton Hill and senior guard Rosalind Ross were selected to the All?Big 12 third team.

    Former Sooner Phylesha Whaley received the leagues' player of the year honor in 2000.

    Oklahoma concluded the 2001-02 home season with a flawless 14-0 record. The Sooners also extended their home winning streak to 23 games with an 66-53 victory over ninth seeded Villanova Monday. This record currently ranks third among the NCAA's best home winning streaks.

    OU was the only team in the Big 12 Conference that had a flawless home court record this season. Oklahoma has not lost a game at the Lloyd Noble Center since Jan. 6, 2001 (vs. Iowa State, 81-79).

    Connecticut currently holds the longest active home winning streak of 46 games, followed by Purdue's 25.

    The Sooner men also went through their home season flawless, 16-0.

    Oklahoma improved its record to 4-0 in NCAA first round games and 4-1 in second round games. However, OU looks to pick up its first regional semifinal win this weekend. The Sooners are 0-3 after advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. Two of OU's losses in regional semifinal action have come against the eventual national champion: Texas, 1986, and Connecticut, 2001.

    For the second consecutive year, Oklahoma has been the only team in the NCAA tournament to have sold out its first two games of the NCAA Tournament. Monday's school record 11,245 fans improved Saturday's mark of 11,200 fans that filled the Lloyd Noble Center. Both attendance figures were the largest for an NCAA sub-regional site. It also marked the largest crowd to ever witness a female sporting event in the state of Oklahoma.

    Last year was the first time in women's basketball history a sellout crowd was announced.

    With a 20-point victory (90-70) over Missouri in Columbia on Feb. 23, the Sooners captured their second straight outright and third consecutive Big 12 Conference regular season title. OU shared the 2000 crown with Iowa State and Texas Tech. The Sooners have now matched TTU for most Big 12 regular season titles with three. It also marked Oklahoma's fourth overall conference title. OU won the Big Eight crown in 1985-86 with a 10-4 record.

    Oklahoma's senior All-Americans Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield and junior All-Big 12 third teamer Caton Hill account for 61.0 percent of Oklahoma's scoring this season.

    The trio accounted for a career-high 82 percent of the team's points against Villanova. They scored 54 of OU's 66 points Monday night. The previous best was 80 percent (53-of-66 points) against Iowa State.

    Oklahoma has not lost a game when leading at half time this season. The Sooners sport an impressive 24-0 record when holding the advantage after the first 20 minutes of action. OU is 3-3 when behind at half and 2-0 when the score is tied at intermission.

    Senior guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales account for 43 percent of OU's field goals made. If you include senior guard Rosalind Ross into this, OU's starting guards account for 56 percent of Oklahoma's field goals made.

    Oklahoma played its first Monday game of the season against Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Prior to defeating 'Nova, the Sooners' last Big Monday showing was when OU eliminated Stanford, 67-50, in last year's NCAA second round game.

    OU is 14-1 when playing Saturday games.

    The 2001-02 team established a school record for most wins in a single with 29. OU's first and second round victories matched and surpassed the previous record of 28 set a year ago.

    Oklahoma is a very unselfish team. Of OU's 892 field goals made this year, 62.1 percent have been assisted. As a team, the Sooners have dished out 554 assists for a 17.3 per game average. Senior Stacey Dales leads the team with 4.9 assists per game, followed by freshman Dionnah Jackson who comes off the bench for 3.0 apg. In addition, seniors LaNeishea Caufield and Rosalind Ross distribute 2.6 and 2.2 assists per outing, respectively.

    At the Big 12 Tournament, OU had 80 percent of its field goals assisted. The Sooners distributed 71 assists on their 89 field goals made. Oklahoma had 24 of its 27 field goals made assisted against Kansas State and 25-of-30 were assists against Baylor.

    Senior LaNeishea Caufield currently ranks No. 14 among the NCAA all-time individual leaders in career steals. She has pocketed a school record 390 in four seasons. The all-time record holder is Natalie White of Florida A&M (1995) who has 624 steals. Caufield needs 12 to match Arkansas' Sonja Tate's 402 for 12th.

    Oklahoma is known for its high scoring and fast paced offense. This year, the Sooners have taken extra pride in their defense. OU holds the league's top marks in fewest opponent points per game (61.0) and best field goal percentage defense. Sooner opponents only shoot 37.7 percent from the field.

    Junior forward Caton Hill matched Oklahoma's all-time school record of 25 double-doubles on Jan. 26 against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. She tied former Sooner great Phylesha Whaley's (1997-2000) mark. Hill has produced a team-high five double-doubles this season. Four of Hill's double-doubles were against Big 12 opponents, three on the road.

    Senior Stacey Dales surpassed ESPN sportscaster Beth Mowins (Lafayette) on the NCAA all-time assist list on Sat., Feb. 23, at Missouri. Mowins held the No. 31 spot with 715.

    Dales has push her career total to 742, ranking 27th on the list. She needs nine more assists to rank within the top 25. She is the only Big 12 player listed among the elite. The Canadian owns OU's and the Big 12's career assists record.

    Senior guard LaNeishea Caufield has scored 54.9 percent of her points in the paint this season. The 5-9 guard has scored 557 points this season, 171 from the free throw line, and 212 points have come in the paint or off layups.

    The 2001-02 senior class will leave Oklahoma with its best four-year run in school history. Four-year letterwinners Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield and Shannon Selmon plus seniors Jamie Talbert, Rosalind Ross and Jen Cunningham have worked together to produce a program-best 95-31 mark. They have also won three consecutive Big 12 titles, a Big 12 Tournament crown and advanced to three straight NCAA Tournaments, including triple NCAA Sweet 16s. The only other four-year span that comes close to this type of success was from 1983-87. OU went 87-34, won a Big Eight title and appeared in one NCAA Regional.

    Senior Stacey Dales became the sixth player in Associated Press history to repeat as a first-team selection. Joining Dales on the first team were Sue Bird of Connecticut, Alana Beard of Duke, Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt and LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State.

    Dales also becomes the first player in OU women's basketball history to repeat as an All-American. The 6-1 guard earned first team honors a year ago. Dales and Bird were the top two picks.

    Senior LaNeishea Caufield was named to the Associated Press honorable mention team, her first selection.

    Regardless of what happens in the NCAA Tournament, Oklahoma will end its season with the fewest losses in program history. The Sooners have three heading into postseason action. The next fewest losses is seven (1984-85, 1985-86).

    Senior Stacey Dales was named the Big 12 Tournament MVP after averaging 22.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Dales also shot 60.5 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from behind the arc and 75.0 from the foul line. The Canadian opened up tournament action with a game-high tying 23 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, in 22 minutes of action against Oklahoma State (March 6). She followed that performance with a game-high six assists, six rebounds and 19 points, including three threes, in OU's 69-49 victory over Kansas State in the semifinals. Dales capped off the three-day event with tournament highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds against Baylor for a 84-69 title win.

    After scoring a career-high 23 points in 19 minutes of action against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament freshman Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.) proved she's one of the top rookies in the league. She averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and had a team-best three blocked shots to earn all-tournament honors. She also shot 66.7 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from behind the arc and hit all three attempted free throws. Jackson was solid defensively as well. She held Baylor's Shelia Lambert to just 15 points, five below her average, and forced her to turn the ball over seven times in the title game.

    Jackson appears among the top 10 Big 12 Conference's Freshmen leaders in 12 categories. The 5-9 guard ranks second in steals, behind Kansas State's Kendera Wecker, and assists per game. She also ranks third in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in rebounding and field goal percentage.

    After rolling through the Big 12 Conference Tournament, Oklahoma jumped from No. 4 to No. 2 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN-Coaches Polls. This is the final AP poll of the season. OU defeated Oklahoma State, 87-56, Kansas State, 69-49, and Baylor, 84-69, for its first conference tournament crown, by an average of 22 points. OU is the first team to win each game of the tournament by at least 15 points.

    OU has been ranked in 46 straight polls. Oklahoma's first appearance under current Sooner coach Sherri Coale was Jan. 17, 2000. OU appeared among the AP Top 10 for the first time on Jan. 30, 2001. The Sooners' highest ranking was a No. 2 appearance for two weeks in this year's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' polls (Jan. 7, Jan. 14). Prior to this season, OU's previous high was 11th for the week of Jan. 12, 1986.

    Oklahoma crashes the boards with the best of them. Five Sooners averages 5.0-or-more rebounds per game and six sports a 4.9-or-better mark. The Sooners are the only team in the Big 12 with six players averaging 4.9 or more rpg.

    The Sooners are led by junior sensation Caton Hill with 6.5 boards per game, followed by seniors Rosalind Ross' 5.3 and Jamie Talbert's 5.2 rpg. Seniors LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales average 5.0 boards per game while freshman Dionnah Jackson grabs 4.9 rpg.

    Oklahoma is one of three current Big 12 Conference teams that has three players who have scored more than 1,000 career points. Colorado and Iowa State are the other two.

    OU's Caton Hill joined teammates LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales, both seniors, in the 1,000-point club this year. Hill now has 1,1150 career points. Caufield has scored 2,056 points to rank third on OU's all-time list while Dales' 1,850 points ranks her fourth.

    Senior Stacey Dales is the ONLY player in Oklahoma women's basketball history to have scored 1,800 points, grabbed 600 or more rebounds and dished out more than 700 assists. She is also one of only two players in rank among the top 10 in each category. Etta Maytubby (1993-1996) is the other.

    Oklahoma's 67-51 victory over Texas A&M on Feb. 9 gave the Sooners their third 20-win season in as many years. It has been 13 years since an OU women's basketball team put together three 20-win seasons. The 1983-84, 1984-85 and 1985-86 teams also accomplished this feat three years in a row.



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