Nov. 26, 2001
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OKLAHOMA READY TO ENTERTAIN SOONER FANS
After playing five games on neutral courts, the third-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team (5-0) is set to open its home schedule this week. The Sooners host TCU (2-1) on Tuesday, Nov. 27, followed by Wichita State (1-1) on Thursday, Nov. 29. Game times are set for 7 p.m. inside the newly renovated Lloyd Noble Center.
Both of OU's games will be broadcast live on KOMA-AM (1520) and on the Internet at www.soonersports.com. Brian Brinkley will provide the play-by-play and Tara DeGiusti will be the color analyst for the women's basketball radio network.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12 years old. Or, you can purchase your season tickets for all 12 home games for just $48 for reserved and $36 for general admission. Admission is free to OU students with a valid I.D.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Lloyd Noble Center has become a safe haven for the Sooners as they sport an impressive 36-6 record (.857 winning percentage) inside the building over the last three seasons. Since OU Head Coach Coale's arrival, in 1996-97, OU is 42-21 at home (.666 winning percentage).
The Sooners are 18-6 overall in home openers and 3-2 in OU's Sherri Coale's era. Oklahoma has won its last three season home openers, including a 12-point victory, 78-66, over TCU in 1998-99.
OU vs. TCU
Tuesday TCU will attempt to snap a six-game losing streak against Oklahoma. OU owns the all-time series advantage, 7-1, and sports a flawless 4-0 performance vs. TCU in Norman. TCU's only victory over the Sooners was a six-point win, 79-73, in 1993 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Sooners' seven-game margin of victory over the Lady Frogs is 26.9 points.
OU vs. Wichita State
Thursday's game will be the 16th meeting between the two teams. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 9-6 and has won four of the last five games, including a 75-67 decision in the first round of the 1999 WNIT in Wichita, Kan. That win was OU's Sherri Coale's first post-season victory. Coale is 1-1 when playing WSU. In games played in Norman, OU is 4-1 vs. the Shockers.
Oklahoma is 5-0 on the season and ranks third in the AP poll and fourth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Sooners have four players averaging double digits in scoring and six players playing 25-plus minutes per game. OU has outscored its opponents 401-277 while holding a slim 38.8-35.6 edge on the glass.
Leading the Sooners' in scoring and rebounding is junior forward Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.). Hill, a member of the 2001 USA World University team, is averaging a team-best 15.6 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Senior Defensive All-American and preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) ranks second on the team in scoring with 14.0 ppg, followed by Rosalind Ross' (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Stacey Dales' (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) 13.0 ppg and 12.4 ppg, respectively.
Oklahoma opened its schedule with a solid 80-75 win over No. 11/9 Purdue in Durham, N.C., as part of the State Farm Tip-Off Classic. The Sooners then defeated ORU, 73-38, and Tulsa, 75-52, at the Bertha Teague Classic for the third straight year. Last week, OU dismantled Butler, 90-44, and North Texas, 83-68, to win the Texas-San Antonio Classic in San Antonio.
For the first time in school history, Oklahoma produced a perfect 5-0 record when playing opponents on a neutral court. The Sooners are also off to their best start in the Sherri Coale era, 5-0. With five wins under its belt, OU's margin of victory has been 24.8 points. In addition, its 46-point win over Butler last Friday ranks fifth among the Sooners' largest road/neutral site wins.
TCU, the defending WAC champions, joined Conference USA last spring and is expected to have an impressive showing in its inaugural season. They return seven letterwinners and two starters from a team that went 25-8 overall and 1-1 in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. TCU upset Penn State, 77-75, before losing to Louisiana Tech, 80-59, in Ruston, La., in post season play.
To some, TCU signed one of the nation's best recruiting class and expects the Frogs to have a more successful season this year. Joining TCU is 6-4 freshman Sandora Irvin, niece of former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Ervin. Irvin is the highest ranked recruit ever to sign with TCU. She joins senior Kati Safaritova at the post positions. Safaritova, 6-2, was a second team All-WAC selection a year ago and is the team's top returning scorer (12.2 ppg).
This season, TCU has been paced by 6-4 Irvin, who leads the team in scoring (17.3 ppg), rebounding (13.0 rpg) and blocked shots (4.0 bpg). TCU is 2-1 on the season with wins over Sam Houston State, 117-50, and Air Force, 71-48. Oregon defeated the Frogs, 75-63, last weekend in Portland, Ore. TCU has been receiving votes for the top-25.
Wichita State is 1-1 on the season. The Shockers won their season opener over Oklahoma State, 71-66, and loss to Oral Roberts, 62-58. A team OU defeated, 73-38, at the Bertha Teague Classic on Nov. 17, in Stillwater. WSU has four players who are contributing 10-plus points per game. Topping the team is sophomore transfer Carlesa Dixon, who averages 17.0 ppg, followed by senior forward Jennifer Kaczka's 13.5 ppg. Sophomore Angela Buckner, the 2001 MVC Freshman of the Year, and junior Raeven King each adds 10 ppg. Buckner tops the team in rebounds with 11.0 boards per outing. She ended her rookie season ranked second in the NCAA for most rebounds per game (12.8). Buckner also produced a double double in 20 of the team's 27 games a year ago.
WSU was picked to finish fifth in the preseason Missouri Valley Conference Coaches Poll, while Kaczka and Buckner were named to the preseason All-Valley first team. The Shockers return four starters from a team that went 10-17 a year ago.
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 86-69.
Jeff Mittie (Missouri Western, 1989) enters his third season as the head coach of the TCU women's basketball program. In his nine year coaching Division I basketball, he has never had a losing season and witness 20-win performances five times and the reached the 25-win total three times. He has guided the Lady Frogs to an overall record of 43-23 and the school's first ever NCAA appearance and win last season. Mittie coached his 2000-01 team to the Western Athletic Conference regular-season and conference tournament titles, which earned him Coach of the Year honors.
Darryl Smith (College of Great Falls (Mont.), 1981) is in his fourth season as the head coach of Wichita State's women's basketball program. He has produced an overall record of 47-40 while at WSU and owns an overall coaching record of 207-104 (12 years). He led the Shockers to back-to-back postseason berths (WNIT), a first in school history, in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. Hired in June of 1998, from Metropolitan State College in Denver, Colo., Smith compiled a 160-64 record in eight seasons with the Roadrunners, an NCAA Division II school.
SELMON SET TO SEE ACTION
Norman native Shannon Selmon (Norman, Okla.) will see her first action of the season Tuesday night against TCU. Selmon participated in warmup drills last weekend but did not see action. The senior forward underwent arthoscopic surgery to remove the osteochondral defect on her talus in her right foot on October 25.
SOONERS EARN ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS
This year's Oklahoma women's basketball team has variety as four Sooners have earned all-tournament honors. Seniors Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) and LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) were named to the Bertha Teague Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 17.5 and 15.0 ppg, respectively. The duo led OU to victories over state fores ORU, 73-38, and Tulsa, 75-52.
Junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) and senior Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) were selected to the Texas-San Antonio All-Tournament team after leading the Sooners to wins over Butler, 90-44, and North Texas, 83-68. Hill averaged 19.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while Ross contributed 12.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Ross also shot 52.9 percent from field and 41.7 percent from the arc.