Feb. 14, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) has been named a finalist for the 2002 Women's Basketball Senior CLASS Award by The Kansas City Club. The Senior CLASS Award - acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - will be presented to the most outstanding senior in NCAA Division I basketball for both men and women.
The award honors the loyalty of senior student-athletes who have remained committed to their university while also maintaining great achievement on the court and in the classroom.
Dales, who was just named a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year, is one of 10 finalist for the award and was one of 30 females nominated, including teammate LaNeishea Caufield. Other top-10 finalist are Sue Bird (Connecticut), Swin Cash (Connecticut), Stacey Dales (Oklahoma), Deanna Jackson (UAB), Sheila Lambert (Baylor), Tamara Moore (Wisconsin), Susan Moran (St. Josephs), Michelle Snow (Tennessee, Angie Welle (Iowa State) and Lindsey Yamasaki, (Stanford).
While the trend of athletes leaving the college ranks to play professionally has been a growing concern in the men's game, it's starting to affect the women's game as well. For the first time ever this past year, two female basketball players decided to leave college early to play in the WNBA.
Dales, a 2001 consensus All-American, was recently voted the Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week. The senior became the league's and Oklahoma's all-time assists leader against TCU on Nov. 27. Dales continues to be the team leader in assists, averaging 4.7 per game. She also ranks second on the team in scoring with 16.3 points and fourth in rebounds with 5.1 boards per game.
The final balloting will be conducted during the month of March and the selection will be made based on a points system that will combine the votes of three voting groups - the national media, basketball coaches and fans.
The first annual award recipients will be honored at the Tribute Gala, a black-tie awards dinner held at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Kan., on Saturday, April 20, 2002.