Jan. 4, 2002
OKLAHOMA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
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OKLAHOMA FACES SECOND TOP 20 TEAM IN FOUR DAYS
After winning the Big 12 Conference home opener Wednesday, third-ranked Oklahoma (11-1, 1-0 Big 12) is set to face its second top 20 team in four days. The Sooners defeated No. 16/14 Colorado, 78-67, at the Lloyd Noble Center and will head south to challenge No. 9/11 Texas Tech (9-2, 1-0 Big 12) in Lubbock on Saturday, Jan. 5. Tip time is set for 2:15 p.m. and will be played at the United Spirit Arena (15,050) located on the campus of TTU.
Saturday's game will be televised by KJTV34 in Lubbock, Texas (satellite coordinates are KU Band, Telestar 6, Transponder 11). Sooner fans may also listen to the broadcast by tuning to KOMA-AM (1520) where Brian Brinkley (play-by-play) and Tara DeGiusti (color analyst) will call the action for the OU radio network. In addition, the broadcast can be heard over the world wide web at www.soonersports.com.
Following Saturday's game, Oklahoma returns home to host Oklahoma State in Bedlam. Currently OSU leads the Bedlam Battle, 2-1. OSU won football and wrestling while the Sooners defeated the Cowgirls in soccer.
Texas Tech leads the all-time series 17-5. Oklahoma picked up its first win in Lubbock last year when the Sooners defeated the Lady Raiders, 84-66, in front of 13,905 TTU fans. OU swept the two-game series with Tech in 2001 and have won three of the last four meetings. Prior to 2000, TTU won 12 straight games against the Sooners.
Oklahoma enters Saturday's game with an overall record of 10-3 and national ranking of third in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls. OU's recent win over Colorado marked the fifth time under current Sooner coach Sherri Coale that OU won its conference opener.
OU has four players averaging 10-plus points per game and six players playing at least 24 minutes per contest. The Sooners are lead by senior All-America candidates LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) and Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada). Caufield leads the team with 19.8 ppg and 2.5 steals per game. She also sports an impressive 90.1 free throw accuracy (64-of-71), second best in the Big 12. Dales tops the Sooners with 5.0 assists per game. Dales' 14.8 points per game follows Caufield in the scoring category. She also ranks second on the team in steals (2.0 pg) and third in field goal percentage (51.1%).
Junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) and senior Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) also average 10-or-more points per game with 13.2 and 12.9, respectively. After grabbing 14 rebounds against Colorado, Hill now leads all Sooners with 6.3 rpg. Ross and senior Jamie Talbert (Elkhart, Kan.) are tied for second best on the team with 5.5 rebounds per game. Talbert owns a team-best 56.8 field goal percentage. Coming off the bench for the Sooners is freshman Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.). Jackson brings a steady present to the floor as she averages 6.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.5 apg and 2.0 spg.
As a team, Oklahoma has shot 47.5 percent from the field, 71.4 percent from the foul line and 37.7 percent from the arc. The Sooners have also outrebounded their opponents, 39.3-35.3, and dished out 202-141 more assists.
NO. 9/11 TEXAS TECH (9-2, 1-0 BIG 12)
Texas Tech defeated Kansas, 76-54, in its Big 12 opener Wednesday in Lubbock. TTU sports an overall record of 9-2 and 1-0 in league play. Prior to its Big 12 opener, TTU knocked off No. 3 Vanderbilt, 81-71, in the Triple Crown Classic.
Two Lady Raiders enter this weekend's game averaging 10-plus points per game. Sophomore Jia Perkins boasts a team-best 15.7 ppg, while fellow sophomore Natalie Ritchie contributes 12.3 ppg. Freshman center Cisti Greenwalt leads the league with 2.9 blocks and ranks fourth in rebounds with 8.4 boards per game.
As a team, TTU averages 72.4 points and 44.6 rebounds per game. They also shot 42.1 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from the arc and 61.5 percent from the foul line.
Tech opened its season with an 85-69 loss to No. 4 Duke before defeating Oregon State, 64-60, and Oregon, 72-65. TTU's second and final loss of the season was against New Mexico, 74-65. Following that game, junior standout Plenette Pierson was suspended from the team for the season. Pierson averaged 14.5 ppg and 9.0 rpg. Since that loss and Pierson's suspension, the Lady Raiders have won seven straight games and are undefeated inside the United Spirit Arena.
Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) has become one of the most talked about and respected head coaches in NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball. She has taken a 5-22 program (1996-97) and turned it into a nationally-ranked 28-6 program in five short seasons. Coale was named the eighth head women's basketball coach in OU history on April 6, 1996. 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. Oklahoma has compiled an overall record of 53-14 and a 28-4 mark in conference play the past two seasons. Since Coale's arrival, OU is 92-70.
Marsha Sharp (Wayland Baptist, 1974) is in her 20th year at the helm of the Texas Tech women's basketball program. She sports an overall record of 468-143 and ranks seventh among active winningest coaches in Division I. She has led the Lady Raiders to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 12 consecutive, and eight NCAA Sweet 16 and three Elite Eight appearances. Texas Tech won the national championship in 1993. Sharp and the Lady Raiders have won three Big 12 regular season titles (1998-2000) and two tournament crowns (1998, 1999). The 1974 graduate of Wayland Baptist University, Sharp was named the National Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994. She also reaped Southwest Conference Coach of the Year honors seven times, five consecutively.
SOONERS AGAINST RANKED TEAMS
Oklahoma is 19-73 went playing top 25 teams. The Sooners are 2-39 when facing teams ranked in the top 10 and 1-12 against teams among the top five. The lone win verus a top five program was against Colorado in 1993. OU defeated then fourth-ranked Colorado, 74-69, on Feb. 28.
Oklahoma opened its 2002 Big 12 Conference schedule with an 78-67 win over No. 16/14 Colorado Wednesday night in Norman. The Sooners were led by senior Rosalind Ross who scored a career-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. She also finished second on the team with eight rebounds. Controlling the boards was 6-1 junior Caton Hill who grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Hill also netted 16 points for her second double double of the season and 22 of her career. Hill's 22 career double doubles ties her for second on OU's all-time list.
Senior All-America candidate LaNeishea Caufield had another solid performance with 16 points and five steals. However, she ended her streak of 38-straight free throws.
Colorado was paced by senior Mandy Nightingale who scored 20 points and sophomore Tera Bjorkland had 16.
Ross scored six points during a 14-0 first-half run that put the Sooners in control. Colorado pulled within eight early in the second half, but Ross scored seven during an 11-2 run that pushed the lead to 53-34 at the 12:30 mark. The Buffaloes scored on four straight possessions to cut the deficit to 58-50 with 5:40 remaining. Ross ended the run with a jumper, and moments later Caufield had six points in an 8-0 run that made it 68-52. The Buffaloes got no closer than nine in the final four minutes.
Even with the height disadvantage, Oklahoma was able to outrebound the Buffs 45-33. CU shot 40 percent for the game and had 24 turnovers while the Sooners hit 44.9 percent from the field and were forced into 22 turnovers.
SOONERS' TRIPLE THREAT
Oklahoma's senior All-Americans Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) and LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) and junior All-Big 12 second teamer Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) have produced 58.0 percent of Oklahoma's scoring this season.
In five of the last seven games, Dales, Caufield and Hill have accounted for more than 60 percent of the team's total points. The trio combined for a season-high 69 percent of the team's 91 points against Illinois on Dec. 16, 2001.
The most points that the trio has ever been responsible for in a single game was 75 percent against Colorado in Boulder (Jan. 3, 2001). They scored 67 of OU's 89 points in OU's 89-69 win over the Buffs. In that game, Hill produced game highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds, while teammates Caufield and Dales contributed 22 and 20 points, respectively.
DALES ENJOYS PLAYING THE LADY RAIDERS
Senior All-American Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario) enjoys playing Texas Tech as she averages 22.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.7 asssists per game when playing TTU. She also shoots 55.7 percent from the field (44-of-79) and 73.8 percent from the free throw line (31-of-42) against the Lady Raiders. Dales' career high of 28 points was first established in her first ever game against Tech on Jan. 6, 1999 (she was a redshirt freshman). She has since scored 28 points against Baylor in Waco on Jan. 13, 2001.
JACKSON LEADS BIG 12 FRESHMEN IN STEALS
Freshman Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.) sports a team best and ranks third in the Big 12 Conference with a 1.86 assists/turnover ratio. She has dished out 42 assists to only 22 turnovers this season. Her season high for assists is eight against Tulsa on Nov. 18. Jackson also ranks among the conference best in assists (15th/3.6) and steals (11th/2.0).
However, the Parkway West High graduate leads the league's freshman class in assists/turnover ratio, steals and ranks second in assists. She also appears seventh in rebounds (4.5), ninth in scoring (6.6) and 17th in field goal percentage (.424) among the league's newcomers.
SOONERS 15TH IN ATTENDANCE
Oklahoma is ranked 15th 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 4,307 fans per game. Topping the chart is Tennessee's 13,722, followed by Texas Tech's 13,216 and Connecticut's 12,306 fans per game.
Each of Oklahoma's four home games this season rank among the program's top 20 in single game attendance. The Sooners hosted a season best and ninth best of all times 5,302 fans against Colorado Wednesday.
39 STRAIGHT AMONG TOP 25
Oklahoma entered the 2001-02 season with its highest ranking ever at No. 4 in the Associated Press and No. 5 USA Today/ ESPN Coaches Polls. The Sooners ended the 2001 season with a program best ranking of No. 7 in the AP and No. 10 in the coaches poll.
OU has been ranked in 39 straight polls. OU'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 previously had been 11th for the week of Jan. 12, 1986.
CAUFIELD LOOKS TO POCKET BIG 12 STEALS RECORD
Senior All-America candidate LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) looks to pocket the Big 12 Conference all-time steals record this season. The Ada, Okla., native has an OU-best 330 career thefts but needs 88 to match Nebraska's Nicole Kubik's Big 12-best 418 (1997-2000) steals. Caufield led the NCAA in total thefts a year ago with 135 and tied for second for most thefts per game with a 4.0 average.