Oct. 12, 2001

NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma women's basketball team begins preparation for the 2001-02 season and looks to defend its Big 12 title as official practice starts on Saturday, Oct. 13. The Sooners are set to begin practice sessions on their new Lloyd Noble Center practice court at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Following a week of practice, OU will host "Sneak-A-Peek" on Oct. 21, which will allow its fans to watch the team in an intrasquad scrimmage starting at 3 p.m. at the Howard McCasland OU Field House, located across from Owen Memorial Stadium on campus.

Oklahoma returns 11 letterwinners and four starters, including Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield and Caton Hill, and welcomes four freshmen and one transfer to this year's roster. Head Coach Sherri Coale led last year's team to a school-best 28-6 overall record and a first-place 15-1 Big 12 mark. The Sooners repeated their Big 12 title and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance while closing out the year ranked seventh in the country.

Coale's Sooners are ranked No. 1 in the nation in preseason by Lindy's, No. 3 by Women's Basketball Journal and No. 4 in the Women's Basketball News Service, Athlon and Slam Magazine. Oklahoma tips off the 2001-02 season with a pair of exhibition games on Nov. 1 against Southern Nazarene and Nov. 6 versus Oklahoma Christian. Both games will be played at the OU Field House. The Sooners will open the season against Purdue, last year's national runner-up, as one of four teams participating in the prestigious State Farm's Tip-Off Classic in Durham, N.C., on Nov. 11.