OU-Texas Concludes Regular Season Women's Basketball Action

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 03, 2003

March 3, 2003

Quickly: The Oklahoma women's basketball team (18-10, 9-6 Big 12) concludes its 2002-03 regular season with a Red River Shootout in Austin, Texas. No. 10 Texas (21-5, 14-1 Big 12) will host the Sooners Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. inside the Frank Erwin Center. OU is riding a three-game winning streak with victories over Iowa State (61-48), Missouri (74-69) and Oklahoma State (71-57). Texas also is riding a winning streak of its own of nine-games. The Longhorns have not lost since suffering a 71-69 setback to Big 12 leader Kansas State on Jan. 25.

Texas won, 60-54, the first meeting between the two teams in Norman (Jan. 29). It wasn't an easy victory for UT as Oklahoma made 23 field goals to Texas' 18 but UT connected on 21 of 29 free throws, while OU made five of 12 from the stripe. The Sooners shot 34.8 percent from the field (23-of-66) and UT hit 36.7 percent (18-of-49). The Longhorns barely outrebounded OU, 43-42.

Since the last two teams meet Texas has not lost, 9-0, while OU has gone 5-4.

TV: Wednesday's game will be broadcast by Sooner Sports Network at 7 p.m. Brian Brinkley will be handling play-by-play duties while former Sooner great Stacey Dales-Schuman will serve as the color analyst.

Radio: James Hale (play-by-play) and Tara DeGiusti (color analyst) will broadcast the game live on KOMA (1420 AM) and on the Sooner Sports Network. All women's basketball games are also available live by Yahoo! on the Internet at www.soonersports.com. * see page 4 for listing of additional radio stations that will be broadcasting the game.

Series Records: Texas leads the all-time series, 13-7, but Oklahoma has won three of its last five games against the Longhorns. Texas escaped with a 60-54 victory in Norman in Jan. 29 and a 68-62 overtime win in Austin last year. Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale is 6-8 against UT.

Rankings: Texas is ranked 10th in both the Associated Press and USA Today/WBCA/ESPN Coaches Polls (as of Feb. 24). Oklahoma is not ranked.

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 131-83. (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 earlier this season. She accomplished this milestone against Texas Tech in Austin on Jan. 22. 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 Opponents: Oklahoma will play in the 2003 Big 12 Tournament next week.


Oklahoma                           PPGRPG
14  CBeky Preston (6-3, Fr)         4.14.1
22  CTheresa Schuknecht (6-3, Sr)11.36.8
35  GDionnah Jackson (5-9, So)11.46.4
05  GMaria Villarroel (5-8, Jr)15.05.0
00  GChelsi Welch (5-9, Fr)        12.03.6

Texas PPGRPG 21 FHeather Schreiber (6-2, So)13.48.1 41 CStacy Stephens (6-1, Jr)13.68.7 04 GKala Bowers (6-2, So) 9.15.4 12 GTai Dillard (5-9, Sr) 7.54.7 11 GJamie Carey (5-6, Jr) 11.31.6

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.

As the season has developed the Sooners have found their new leader in sophomore Dionnah Jackson and been forced to rely on a handful of now experienced role players. Of OU's 10 active players, eight average at least 10 minutes per game and four are averaging better than 10 points and four rebounds per contest.

Jackson is one of only two players that have started all 28 games this season. Her offensive production exploded against Iowa State when she nailed a career-high five of seven three pointers for a season-best 20 points. She also had seven assists and seven rebounds against the Cyclones. Jackson's defensive skills have been improving as she currently ranks second on the team for most rebounds per game with 6.4. She tops the team in assists, 5.0, and steals, 2.0, per game and ranks third in scoring with 11.4 ppg. Jackson boast a Big 12 best 2.3 assists/turnover ratio against league opponents.

Freshman Chelsi Welch, a Big 12 Freshman of the Year candidate, has also started every game for the Sooners, averaging 12.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Over the last six games, Welch has contributed at least 15.0 ppg and she leads the club in Big 12 scoring with 14.1 ppg. The 5-9 guard has scored 10-plus points in 12 of 15 conference games and shot 87.7 percent from the free throw line.

Appearing in 25 of OU's 28 starting lineups has been junior Maria Villarroel. Villarroel, a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma A&M, has been the team leader in scoring the entire season and currently boasts 15.0 ppg. Villarroel unleashed a career-high tying 31 points against Missouri Wednesday night. She has surpassed the 30-point mark three times this season. Because of her quickness and ability to finish at the rim, Villarroel leads the Big 12 Conference for best field goal percentage (.581). She also averages 5.0 rebounds per game and has a team-high 21 blocks.

OU's inside play comes from a pair of 6-3 centers in senior Theresa Schuknecht and freshman Beky Preston. Schuknecht, who has re-entered the starting lineup, has averaged 11.5 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the last two games. She has also shot better than 50 percent from the field (53.3%) and 60 percent from the stripe (6-of-10). Preston has started the last 11 games with averages of 5.5 rebounds and 5.7 points per game. She also boasts a field goal percentage of 54.9 as a starter. Last week, Preston produced double-doubles against Iowa State and Oklahoma State.

Appearing in the starting lineup at times has been freshman forward Laura Andrews and sophomore guard Lauren Shoush. Andrews came up huge for the Sooners against Baylor in Waco with career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. For the season, she's averaging 4.1 points and 4.0 rebounds but in league play she has improved to 4.9 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Shoush, an Oklahoma City native, brings an immediate burst of energy and excitement to the floor for the Sooners. Even though her numbers only reflect 3.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg, for the year, her presence means a lot more than just numbers.

As a team, Oklahoma is averaging 66.9 points and 40.3 rebounds per game. The Sooners have improved to 41.2 percent from the field and remains solid at the stripe, hitting 70.7 percent.

Texas enters Wednesday's game coming off of an emotional victory, 70-67, over Texas Tech Sunday in Lubbock. At 21-5 overall and 14-1 in the Big 12, UT is in a tie for first with No. 5 Kansas State atop the league standings. However, the Longhorns lost to K-State, 71-69, earlier this season, giving the Wildcats the current advantage for the No. 1 seed at the Big 12 Tournament.

Texas has won nine-straight games since last facing the Sooners. UT's last loss was to K-State on Jan. 25.

Junior center Stacy Stephens added her 10th double-double of the year and seventh in Big 12 play against the Lady Raiders with 11 points and 11 boards. Stephens leads the Longhorns with 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest. Her rebounding average is the third best in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor freshman Sophia Young's 9.4 and KSU Nicole Ohlde's 9.2 boards per game.

Sophomore forward Heather Schreiber also had 11 points against Texas Tech Sunday. She ranks second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Both her and Stephens shot 48 percent from the field on Sunday.

Guard Jamie Carey gives UT three players averaging in double figures with 11.0 points per game. She stepped up hugh Sunday scoring Texas' final five points, including the game winning three pointer in the final seconds. For the game she scored a team-best 17 points. Carey leads the Horns with 37 three-pointers on the season, just ahead of Schreiber's 34 trifectas.

Forward Kala Bowers (9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and guard Tai Dillard (7.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg) rounds out UT's probable starting five, while Nina Norman (6.1 ppg, 2.3rpg), Coco Reed (4.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Annissa Hastings (2.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg) have given the Longhorns quality minutes off the bench throughout the season.

One of the most physically dominant teams in the league, Texas ranks third in the Big 12 with a plus 7.5 team rebounding margin (42.3-34.8), while also leading the conference with a plus 6.0 team turnover margin (20.6-14.6). Those numbers have helped Texas outscore the opposition by an average of 19.2 points per game (74.5-55.4).

Texas is a solid shooting team, connecting on 43.5 percent of its field goal attempts and a league best 40.4 percent of its three-point attempts, while dropping off to 70.5 percent from the free throw line.

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Stacy Stephens had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamie Carey had seven of her 17 points from the free-throw line in the final minute as No. 11 Texas withstood a late rally to beat No. 19 Oklahoma 60-54 Wednesday night.

Stephens' performance in the paint was critical to the Longhorns, who shot only 37 percent. She made eight 8 of 13 shots.

But it was a 12-of-14 performance by Carey from the foul line in the closing minutes that did the most helped thwart an Oklahoma comeback. Five of those free throws came after the Sooners cut a 13-point lead to four with 37 seconds remaining.

Oklahoma trailed 51-38 after Stephens banked home a close-range jumper with 5:02 left. The Sooners rallied behind a pair of baskets from Teresa Schuknecht and one from Chelsi Welch.

After misfiring on their first 11 3-point attempts, the Sooners finished strong behind Welch who hit three 3s after the break, including a pair in the final rally. Her last 3-pointer cut the Texas advantage to 57-54 with 29.2 seconds left.

Welch led Oklahoma with a career-high 20 points. Maria Villarroel and Dionnah Jackson finished with eight points apiece.

Heather Schreiber added 14 points from Texas.

With the 71-57 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, OU earned its 12th season with 18-plus victories (18-10).

The Sooners established a school-best 32 wins a year ago (32-4) and OU Head Coach Sherri Coale has coached three teams to 18 or more victories (all three of Coale's teams won 20-plus games).

Oklahoma post players, senior Theresa Schuknecht and freshman Beky Preston, played an important role in OU's wins over Missouri and Oklahoma State. The 6-3 centers have accounted for 33.1 percent of the team's points (48) and 55.4 percent of its rebounds (46) over the last two games.

Against Missouri, Schuknecht scored 11 points and had a career-high 15 rebounds, while Preston chipped in 12 and had a career-high 10 rebounds. At Oklahoma State, Preston had a career-high tying 13 points and 10 boards, followed by 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Schuknecht.

The last time an OU post tandem combine for 25 rebounds and 20-plus points was during the 2000-01 season.

Caton Hill teamed up with Jamie Talbert for 33 points and 21 rebounds against Colorado (March 10) in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament. Hill scored 23 points and had 11 rebounds to Talbert's 10 points and 10 rebounds. Hill also joined Jen Cunningham for 35 points and 24 rebounds against Texas (Jan. 10). Cunningham had a career-high 18 points and 12 rebounds while Hill chipped in 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Freshman Beky Preston has started the last 11 games for Oklahoma. The Albuquerque, N.M., native has been a consistent contributor but as of late she has made a greater impact on OU's offensive and defensive systems.

Over the last two games, the 6-3 center has averaged a double double with 12.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Preston also hit an impressive 68.8 percent from the field, connecting on 11 of 16 shots against Missouri and Oklahoma State. Between these two games, she produced double doubles in each plus set or matched nine personal best.

Preston defensive skills have improved over the course of the season. She held Iowa State's 6-3 center, Lisa Kriener, to just six points and two rebounds and Colorado's 6-5 center, Tera Bjorklund, to just 10 points.

Preston provided a spark for the Sooners against nationally-ranked Stanford. She pulled down six rebounds, three offensive and three defensive, and scored six points in 18 minutes of play. She canned three of four shots from the field.

Preston also enters the Texas game with overall averages of 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 points per game in 15.5 minutes a contest. She also sports an overall field goal percentage of 51.1 percent, hitting 45-of-88 shots. Preston has played in 26 games, starting 11.

Senior Theresa Schuknecht, junior Maria Villarroel, sophomore Dionnah Jackson and freshmen Beky Preston and Laura Andrews are members of the double double club this season.

Schuknecht has produced four double doubles, two back-to-backe. She had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds at Oklahoma State, prior to scoring 11 points and grabbing a career-high 15 rebounds vs. Missouri last week. Schuknecht scored a then career-high 27 points and had 12 rebounds in her first game in a Sooner uniform at Tennessee (Nov. 10). She nearly repeated her numbers with 20 points and 12 rebounds against Stephen F. Austin (Dec. 5) for her second double-double.

Preston has recorded back-to-back double-doubles with a career-tying 13 points and 10 rebounds at OSU and 12 points and 10 rebounds against Missouri.

Jackson earned her first double double against Wichita State (Dec. 9) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Villarroel netted 13 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds against Iowa State. Andrews had a career day at Baylor scoring 21 points and collecting 11 boards.

Caton Hill had three double doubles to open the season before being sidelined.

Junior Maria Villarroel became the 16th player in OU women's basketball history to score 30-plus points in a single game. The Venezuelan has surpassed this mark three times with the most recent performance being a career-high tying 31 points against Missouri Wednesday. The 5-8 guard hit 10-of-13 shots from the field and connected on all 11 attempted free throws. Her flawless performance at the stripe tops the Big 12 Conference for best free throw performance in a single game (11-of-11, 100%).

Villarroel also became just the sixth player to score at least 30 points in three or more games as a Sooner.

Former Sooner great Phylesha Whaley (now an assistant coach for Oklahoma State) holds OU's record for most 30-plus performances with eight. She is also the record holder for most 30-plus performances in a single season with four (1998, Soph.), followed by Tammy Roger's (1990, Sr.) and Villarroel's three.

OU's bench scored 37 of the team's 74 points (50%) against Missouri, marking the most points scored by the bench since scoring 36 against Oklahoma State in Norman (Feb. 9). Junior guard Maria Villarroel accounted for 31 of those points.

Freshman standout Chelsi Welch was not allowed a field goal against Missouri (0-of-9) and scored just five points, her fewest point production in Big 12 action. However, the guard left Gallagher-Iba Arena Saturday with a game-high 18 points on five field goals, three being three-pointers, against Oklahoma State. She also hit five of six free throws in 29 minutes of play.

Dionnah Jackson is the only guard in the Big 12 Conference that ranks among the league's top 20 in rebounds per game. Jackson averages 6.4 boards per contest for 16th best in the conference.

In conference games only, she has increased that average to 7.1 rebounds per game for 11th best. Jackson's small 5-9 frame finds its way to the paint on the defensive end as she grabs the league's fourth best 6.00 defensive boards per game.

Each member of this year's women's basketball team was named to the 2002 Fall Sooner Scholar list. Every player earned at least a 3.0 grade point average last semester or has a 3.0 cumulative GPA to date.

Senior Theresa Schuknecht sports a flawless 4.0 GPA for each semester she has been at OU.

Point guard Dionnah Jackson has picked up her production in Big 12 play. Her ability to take care of the basketball has her first on the Big 12 charts in assists/turnover ratio with a 2.4, compared to a 1.2 assists/turnover ratio in non-conference action.

Over the last five games, the sophomore has earned a sound 2.3 assists/turnover ratio in 33.8 minutes of play. And, against Texas Tech and Iowa State she has produced 10 assists to just four turnovers for a 2.5 A/T ratio.

The St. Louis, Mo., native had a career-high 10 assists to zero turnovers in 38 minutes of play against Texas (Jan. 29) has been her best showing in a Sooner uniform at the point guard position. Ranking a close second is her performance of nine assists to one turnover in 36 minutes of court time against Baylor.

Prior to this season, Jackson's best was eight assists to one turnover in 23 minutes against Tulsa.

One of the biggest improvements in Dionnah Jackson game since the beginning of the season has been her production at the free throw line. Over the past 11 games, she has nailed 83.3 percent (15-of-18) of her attempted shots at the charity stripe. In non-conference action, Jackson was only able to connect on 61.2 percent (41-of-67) of her free throws.

Oklahoma's 463 free throws scored from the charity stripe tops the Big 12 Conference. OU is the only team that has attempted more than 600 free throws this year (655).

In league play, the Sooners have only scored 230 points, second to Texas' 238. Oklahoma ranks fifth in overall games (70.7%) and fifth in league games (72.1%) for best free throw percentages.

OU has appeared at the free throw line at least 20 times in 19 of 28 games and has hit 80 percent or better from the charity stripe eight times, including a season-best 84.2 percent (16-of-19) at Kansas and 81.8 percent (18-of-22) against Oklahoma State.



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