Women's Basketball Opens 2001-2002 Preseason Exhibition Schedule

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 31, 2001

Oct. 31, 2001

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Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma Christian
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2001 o 7 p.m.
Women's Basketball Game Notes

The highly-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team is set to open its 2001-02 preseason exhibition schedule against Oklahoma Christian inside the Howard McCasland Field House at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1. Thursday's game will not be broadcast via the radio or Internet.

OU played its first three seasons at the Field House (1974-78) and following the 1977-78 year the team was moved to the Lloyd Noble Center. However, selected games and double headers with the men's team during those three years were played at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The two teams met a year ago for the first time in an exhibition setting in which OU won, 94-61, at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU had five players to score in double figures including a game-high 19 points by Stacey Dales. Caton Hill, LaNeishea Caufield and Sunny Hardeman each had 11 points, while Jadrea Seeley chipped in 16 points. Lindsay Wilson led the Lady Eagles with 19 points followed by Ali Griffin with 11. For the game, the Sooners shot 52.3 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from the arc and 73.1 percent from the foul line. OC nailed just 38.8 percent of its shots from the field, 33.3 percent of its treys and 65.4 percent of its free throws.

Instead of playing Southern Nazarene on Thursday OU will host Oklahoma Christian and play Southwestern Oklahoma State on Tues., Nov. 6, at the Howard McCasland Field House at 7 p.m.

2001-02 SOONERS
For the first time in Head Coach Sherri Coale's tenure, she has a veteran and experienced basketball team. Coale returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that produced a program-best 28-6 mark (.824 winning percentage) and won its second straight Big 12 Conference regular season title last year. OU also made its first back-to-back appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.

Oklahoma returns its top five scorers in Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada), LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.), Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.), Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Jamie Talbert (Elkhart, Kan.). Dales led the team with 16.0 points and a Big 12-best 7.3 assists. She also led the conference in assist/turnover ratio with a 1.77 ratio. Caufield averaged 15.8 ppg plus a team- and Big 12-best 4.0 steals per outing. Caufield topped the nation in total thefts with 135 and finished tied for second in the NCAA in steals per game. Hill returns after a solid sophomore season where she contributed nearly a double-double (13.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg). Hill is also a threat from the outside as she shot 45.8 percent from the arc. Ross was named to the 2001 Big 12 All-Tournament team after averaging a team-best 14.3 ppg and nailing 12-of-24 attempted three-pointers. For the year, she was credited with 8.4 ppg and 3.1 rpg and shot 39.7 percent from the arc. Talbert stepped up her production after teammate Jen Cunningham suffered an ACL injury on Jan. 28. She ended the year averaging 7.4 ppg and 4.6 rebounds.

Oklahoma Christian lost only two seniors from last year's team that went 19-11 overall and finished the year ranked 11th in the national NAIA Tournament. OC also expects to be in the hunt for the Sooner Athletic Conference title this year.

The Lady Eagles return their top two scorers and rebounders from a year ago. Senior Sarah Reese (Owasso, Okla.) averaged a team-best 15.8 points while senior Lindsay Wilson (Edmond, Okla.) chipped in with 13.1 ppg. Wilson topped the team in rebounds with 9.6 boards per outing and Reese grabbed 8.9 rpg.

Following Thursday's game, the Lady Eagles will open their regular season at home against Park University, Friday, Nov. 2.

Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) enters her sixth year at the helm of the OU women's basketball program. The Big 12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons has directed the Sooners to the program's first back-to-back Big 12 regular season titles and NCAA Sweet 16 appearances (2000, 2001). Oklahoma has compiled an overall record of 53-14 and a 28-4 mark in the Big 12 Conference over the past two years. Since Coale's arrival OU is 81-69. (For more information on Coale see page 3).

Stephanie Findley (Oklahoma Christian, 1982) has compiled an impressive overall record of 312-186 in her 16-year tenure at Oklahoma Christian. She has also won numerous conference and district honors and taken teams to the NAIA Basketball Tournament six times. Findley took over the reins of the Lady Eagles' program in 1985-86, after serving as an assistant for three years. Findley is married to Dean Findley and the couple has two daughters, Jordan Rae, 15 and Jessica, 11.

Oklahoma is now 8-4 in exhibition play over the past five years. OU crushed Oklahoma Christian, 94-61, and Australia Institute, 62-49, last year. For the 1990s, OU went 9-7 in preseason action and boasts a 2-0 start in the 21st century.

This year's 2001-2002 team captains will be seniors Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario) and Shannon Selmon (Norman, Okla.) plus junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.). Dales is a four-time team captain, while Hill and Selmon will serve their first season as a team tri-captain.

Thursday's sidelines will feature some very familiar faces. Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale will face former coach and good friend in Oklahoma Christian's Head Coach Stephanie Findley. Findley coached Coale (then Sherri Buben) for two years and Sooner assistant coach Jan Ross for one year at Oklahoma Christian. Ross also served as an assistant coach under Findley for five years at OC.

Coale graduated summa cum laude and was an Academic All-American in 1987, while Ross earned academic and athletic All-America honors her senior season (1986).

OU will be without the aid of center Jen Cunningham (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) for the 2001-02 season due to suffering a career-ending ACL injury in mid-October. Sooner Shannon Selmon (Norman, Okla.), a senior forward, will also be sidelined for three more weeks. Selmon underwent authorscopic surgery to remove the osteochondral defect on her talus in her right foot last Thursday.

Oklahoma welcomes the addition of four talented freshman and one transfer to its 2001-02 roster. Sooner coach Sherri Coale's first set of commitments came from Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.) and Antoinette Wadsworth (Grand Prairie, Texas). Coale later added Theresa Schuknecht (Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada) of Southern Nazarene and Arizona State University, Lauren Shoush (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Lindsay Casey (Longview, Texas) to the team.

Senior guards Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) and LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) have been selected as preseason candidates for the 2001-02 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award.

Dales and Caufield, Oklahoma's top returning scorers, becomes OU's first Naismith Player of the Year candidates. Dales, the 2001 Big 12 Player of the Year, averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and a Big 12-leading 7.3 assists a game as a junior. Her mark for assists ranked among the NCAA's top 10. She also became Oklahoma's first consensus All-American earning first team honors on the Kodak, Associated Press, Women's Basketball Journal and Women's Basketball News Service list. She is one of only two players named to the 2001 Kodak All-American first team who's returning to the court this season. LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State is the other.

Caufield ended last season by leading the nation in total steals with 135. The Defensive All-American also led the Big 12 and tied for second in the NCAA for most thefts per game with 4.0. Caufield is a two-time Big 12 second teamer who averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and shot an impressive 83.9 percent from the foul line a year ago.

Caufield and Dales have started all 96 games at Oklahoma. The duo led the Sooners to an overall record of 28-6, a program best, and its second straight Big 12 Conference regular season title and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2000-01.

Head Coach Sherri Coale has added former Norman High School player and member of the Connecticut 2000 National Championship team, Stacy Hansmeyer, to her coaching staff.

Hansmeyer, a 1996 Norman High graduate, brings a tremendous amount of playing experience to the OU program. While at Connecticut, Hansmeyer helped Head Coach Geno Auriemma produce an overall record of 132-10 (.930 winning percentage) and win four Big East regular season and tournament titles. UConn also participated in the national tournament all four years, winning the NCAA Championship in 1999-2000, advancing to the Elite Eight twice (1996-97, 1997-98) and Sweet 16 once (1998-99).

As a Huskie (1997-2000), she averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. The four-year letterwinner also finished her career ranked eighth in career field goal percentage (54.5%) and tied for seventh for most career games played (134).

Hansmeyer spent last season as a student assistant on Huskies' coaching staff while completing her bachelor's of science degree in communications.

Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti will handle play-by-play and color analyst duties for the Oklahoma women's basketball radio broadcast network this season. The duo replaces Ed Murray and Jenny Bramer.

The Sooners will play a school record 12 games on television, including two ESPN2 games and one on ESPN. As part of the Big 12 Conference package, OU will appear four times on the FoxSports Network, the most of any Big 12 school. In addition, Sooner Sports Properties will air five games, the most in history.

Oklahoma was picked to defend its 2000-01 Big 12 regular season championship in the 2001-02 Big 12 Women's Basketball preseason poll voted on by the league's head coaches. The Sooners garnered eight first-place votes and tallied 117 points.

In addition, Oklahoma's Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) was picked to repeat as Big 12 Player of the Year. The 6-0 senior guard led the conference in assists last year with 7.29 per game and assist/turnover ratio with a 1.77 ratio. She was eighth in the league in scoring (16.0 ppg) and eighth in steals (2.41 spg) while being named a consensus All-American. Dales was a member of the Canadian National Team that competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and in the COPABA Tournament of the Americas in Sao Luis, Brazil, in September, 2001.

For the first time in school history women's basketball fans will have the opportunity to purchase reserved seating for all home games at the newly renovated Lloyd Noble Center for the upcoming season. Of OU's 27 scheduled games, 12 will take place in Norman starting Nov. 27. Season tickets are on sale now at the OU Athletic Ticket Office. To purchase your season tickets call 405-325-2424 or 800-456-4668.

Season tickets are on sale for $48 for reserved and $36 for general admission. To date, OU has sold more than 2,225 season tickets compared to last year's 779.



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