Sooners Open Season Friday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 16, 1999

Nov. 16, 1999

(all times Hawaii Standard)
Fri., Nov. 19:
Hawaii vs. Tennessee Tech 5 pm
Sat., Nov. 20:
Tennessee Tech vs. Arizona 1 pm
Sun., Nov. 21:
Hawaii vs. Arizona 3 pm

Arena: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) - Honolulu, Hawaii
Radio: KOMA (1520 AM) - Live
Internet: - Live ... TV: None

Oklahoma will be one of four teams that will participate in the third annual Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic to open the 1999- 2000 campaign. The Sooners, who are coming off of back-to-back exhibition wins, will face No. 24 Arizona in the tournament opener at 2:30 p.m. (HST) on Friday, Nov. 19, followed by host Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. and Tennessee Tech on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 1 p.m.

Hawaii has never lost a game in the Hawaiian Regent Classic. The Wahine sport a perfect 5-0 record heading into this year's action.

This year marks the third time since the 1987-88 season that OU has played in a tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Sooners went 1-2 under Head Coach Valerie Goodwin-Colbert in 1987-88 losing to Penn State and California before defeating Northern Arizona. In 1991-92, OU went 1-1 with a lost to Hawaii and a win over Howard under Head Coach Gary Hudson. Hudson and Goodwin-Colbert each coached at OU for three seasons.

Oklahoma's Probable Starters

Pos. No. Players             Ht.  Yr. GP-GS PPG  RPG

F    34  Phylesha Whaley     5-10 Sr. 2-2   17.5 5.5

F    10  Caton Hill          6-1  Fr. 2-2   9.5  5.5

C    00  Desiree Taylor      6-1  Jr. 2-2   8.0  2.5

G    20  LaNeishea Caufield  5-9  So. 2-2   16.5 6.0

G    21  Stacey Dales        6-0  So. 2-2   11.0 5.0
Off the Bench (listed numberically)
Pos. No. Players             Ht.  Yr. GP-GS PPG  RPG

G    13  Sunny Hardeman      5-7  Jr. 2-0   4.5  2.0

C    15  Jennifer Cunningham 6-3  So. 2-0   2.5  2.5

F    23  Jadrea Seeley       6-1  Fr. 2-0   11.0 5.0

F    32  Emily Britt         6-0  Fr. 2-0   2.0  1.5

F    40  Shannon Selmon      6-1  So. 2-0   4.5  3.0

Oklahoma returns five starters and seven letterwinners from a team that played in its first postseason tournament, WNIT, and recorded its first winning record, 15-14, since the 1994- 95 squad. The 1999 team also finished tied for fifth in the Big 12 Conference after a preseason predication of 10th. The Sooners ended the 1999 campaign ranked 29th in the nation in scoring (75.5 ppg), 27th in rebound margin (+5.4) and 28th in free throw percentage (.730).

This year, OU returns 85.5 percent of its scoring and 83.1 percent of its rebounding. Plus, the Sooners welcome back three-time All- Big 12 selection Phylesha Whaley. Whaley has led the team in scoring for the past three years and rebounding for the last two seasons. The Slaton, Texas, native ended her junior season ranked 34th in the nation in points per game, averaging 19.6. Whaley became the school's first preseason women's basketball All- American when she was selected by the Women's Basketball Journal in September. She currently ranks among the school's all-time best in 17 career statistics and sits at No. 5 on the all-time scoring chart with 1,501 points. The 5-10 power forward is 647 points and 441 rebounds shy of becoming the school's all-time best in each category.

Sophomores LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales also return for Oklahoma. Caufield was named the 1999 Big 12 Freshman of the Year while averaging 15.8 ppg and 5.3 rebounds per game. Dales, who played on the Canadian National team last summer, was voted to the 1999 All-Big 12 honorable mention team after scoring 11.9 ppg, third on the team, and grabbing 5.3 boards, second on the team, per outing. Both guards already appear among the Sooners' all-time greats in women's basketball. Caufield is among the best in scoring, free throws made, free throw percentage and minutes played average. Dales appears among the best in scoring, three- point field goals made, three-point field goals attempted, rebounding average and minutes played average.

Junior Desiree Taylor and sophomore Shannon Selmon complete the Sooners' starting five from a year ago. Taylor was very effective in the paint, hitting 57.7 percent of her shots. She also averaged 4.1 boards and 9.6 points per game. Selmon earned a starting role for the last 11 games of the 1999 season. With the Norman product in the starting lineup the Sooners were 7-4. She was one of the most consistent players for Head Coach Sherri Coale, averaging 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 points per game.

Also returning from last year's squad are junior guard Sunny Hardeman and sophomore center Jennifer Cunningham. Hardeman appeared in the starting lineup five times, averaging 2.3 points and 1.6 assists per game. Cunningham played in 21 games last year with a torn anterior cruiate ligament and torn meniscus. The Kingston, Ontario, native scored 3.8 points and grabbed 2.4 rebounds per game.

Last year at the Lloyd Noble Center, the Sooners went 10-3 in overall, 5-0 in non-conference games and averaged 1,558 fans per contest.

Senior Phylesha Whaley was named to the Women's Basketball Journal (WBJ) Preseason All-American honorable mention team in September. The 5-10 forward has been the leading scorer for the Sooners for the past three years and the top rebounder for the last two seasons. She poured in a career-, school- and Bud Walton Arena-record 40 points against Arkansas in the second round of the 1999 WNIT.

"This is an amazing honor for me," said Whaley. "It's a privilege to be considered in the same field as some of the top players in the nation. I also know if it weren't for my teammates and coaches this wouldn't be possible.

Whaley, who was Head Coach Sherri Coale's first collegiate recruit, currently ranks among the school's all-time best in 17 categories. She became the 14th player in women's basketball history to record 1,000 points. She surpassed that milestone on Nov. 29, 1998, against Coppin State at the Cancun Invitational. She's a three-time All-Big 12 selection and has averaged more than 18 points and seven rebounds per game during her career at OU. "I'm extremely excited for Phylesha," said Coale. "This is a tremendous individual honor as well as a reflection on our team and program at Oklahoma. She has had an outstanding career at OU so far and I expect her senior season to be stellar as well."

When Head Coach Sherri Coale signed Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.), Jadrea Seeley (Bethel, Okla.) and Emily Britt (Gransbury, Texas) to national letters of intent last November she knew about their talent but wasn't exactly sure of how soon the trio would be contributors to the Sooner program.

Coale's question was answered last week as each player played in both exhibition games and two of the three signees averaged more than 20-plus minutes and nearly 10 points per game.

In their first collegiate exhibition games, Hill and Seeley produced nearly identical numbers. Hill averaged 21.0 minutes to Seeley's 22 ... Seeley averaged 11 points followed by Hill's 9.5 ... Hill grabbed 5.5 rebounds and Seeley collected 5.0 and they each shot 61.5 percent from the field (8-13).

Britt played in both games. She scored four points and took three rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

Hill ended her prep career at Ada High School averaging 24.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. She was a two-time MVP of the Bertha Teague Classic and All-State selection. Seeley, a USA Today All-American selection, became the first player in Oklahoma to score 2,000 points in the five-on-five format. She averaged 21.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior at Bethel High. Seeley also was a three-time Coaches Association MVP, an Oklahoma Blue-Chip selection and Pott County MVP. Britt joins the Sooners as a two-time All-State selection and Dallas Morning News first teamer.

Standouts Phylesha Whaley, Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield were among an elite group of players selected to participate in organized basketball tours, tournaments and trials last summer.

Whaley was one of only 12 players named to the Big 12 All-Stars team that toured Europe last August. The team competed in six games, accumulating a record of 5-1 behind Whaley's team-leading 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

Dales gained valuable experience by playing on the Canadian National team that won a silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in August. The Brockville, Ontario, native averaged 4.6 points, 2.7 assists and 19.4 minutes per game, coming off the bench for the Canadians.

Caufield was invited to try out for the USA Women's Basketball World University Games squad. She was one of 43 players asked to showcase her talent during the six-day trial in Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition to trying out for the 12-member squad, Caufield participated in five seminars that focused on life skills covering various subjects including life after basketball and setting career goals. The 5-9 guard participated in five practice sessions, a three-on-three tournament and a four-team round robin tournament.

Oklahoma used a combination of players to win two back-to-back exhibition games for the first time in the 1990s. The Sooners defeated Sweden, 91-52, and handed Lithuania an 83-69 loss last week at the Lloyd Noble Center. Prior to this year, OU had split its exhibi- tion games going 1-1 for the past four years.

Four players averaged double digits scoring, led by senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley's 17.5 ppg. Sophomore LaNeishea Caufield poured in 16.5 ppg, followed by Stacey Dales' and Jadrea Seeley 11 ppg each. Caufield, a 5-9 guard, was the team leader in rebounds with 6.0 boards per outing. She was one of five players who collected five-plus boards in two games. Whaley and Caton Hill each averaged 5.5 rebounds, while Dales and Seeley pulled down 5.0 boards apiece.

In the first exhibition, Caufield posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Whaley who recorded 12 of her 16 points in the final 20 minutes. Dales added 12 points and team-highs nine assists and five steals, while junior Desiree Taylor pitched in 11 points and shot 80 percent from the field. Oklahoma forced the Sweden into 33 turnovers on the evening and scored 34 points in the paint. The Sooners registered 18 steals, led by Dales' game-high five swipes. Oklahoma continues to be a strong rebounding team, as the Sooners outrebounded the Flamingos, 40-33.

The Sooners continued to use a balanced scoring attack in the win over Lithuania as five players recorded double figures in scoring for the game. Whaley led the scoring charge with 19 points, including a perfect nine-for-nine from the free throw line. She was also one of three Sooners with a game-high six rebounds. Caufield and Hill ended the afternoon with 14 points each, while Seeley recorded her first double-digit scoring performance with 13 points. Hill and Seeley each pulled down six boards to match Whaley's game high. Dales also had a strong game for OU, netting 10 points and a game-high nine assists.

Appearing on Oklahoma's roster and among the Sooners' starting five are two natives of Ada, Okla. Sophomore LaNeishea Caufield and Caton Hill renew their days as teammates as the duo played high school basketball together for one season at Ada High School. Hill joined the Ada program following her sophomore year at Lansing High in Kansas. The two teamed up to produced a 27-1 record in 1997-98.

The Oklahoma women's basketball team is healthy heading into the Hawaiian Regent Classic.

The Oklahoma women's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the 1999-2000 Big 12 Conference Preseason Coaches and Big 12 Media polls. Oklahoma's sixth-place predictionis its highest ever under Head Coach Sherri Coale. OU, who returns all five starters, was one of nine Big 12 teams that participated in postseason action a year ago.

Coaches Preseason Poll

1. Iowa State (11) 121
2. Kansas 102
3. Nebraska 92
4. Texas (1) 90
5. Texas Tech 83
6. Oklahoma 74
7. Kansas State 59
8. Colorado 54
9. Missouri 49
10. Oklahoma State 31
11. Baylor 19
12. Texas A& 18


Junior Desiree Taylor took an official recruiting visit to the Univeristy of Hawaii her senior year in high school.

Oklahoma is 13-12 in season openers.

Senior Phylesha Whaley has been the team's leading scorer each year of her collegiate career and the team's leading rebounder for the last two seasons.

Assistant Coach Bo Overton was Oklahoma's High School Player of the Year in 1979.

Sherri Coale became the eighth head women's basketball coach in Oklahoma history on April 8, 1996.

Senior Phylesha Whaley is the only Sooner in women's basketball history to score 40 points in a single game. She is one of only 19 basketball players at OU, male or female, to reach this milestone.

When LaNeishea Caufield unleashed a career-high 32 points against Missouri in last year's final regular season game, she became one of only four freshmen to ever score more than 30 points in a single game.

Stacey Dales wants to be a regular on the Saturday Night Live Show.

Assistant Coach Kristi Hayes and husband, Jonathan, are expecting their first child in May.

Jennifer Cunningham has torn her ACL in the same knee twice (left knee).

Oklahoma has four current players who rank among the school's all-time best: Phylesha Whaley, LaNeishea Caufield, Stacey Dales and Sunny Hardeman. (See page seven for chart chasers)

Shannon Selmon leads the team's weekly Bible study.

Stacey Dales is the only Oklahoma women's basketball player to have ever played in the Pan Am games for her country.

Stacey Dales and Jennifer Cunningham played on three-time Ontario Provincial team in Canada that either won a gold or silver medal at nationals.

Junior Sunny Hardeman and sophomore Shannon Selmon will face their former Norman High teammate, Stacy Hansmeyer of Connecticut, for the first time since high school on Dec. 29.

LaNeishea Caufield and Caton Hill played on the same high school team (Ada).

LaNeishea Caufield became the first OU player to earn Women's Basket- ball Journal Freshman All-America honors. She's also one of only two players to be selected to the Women's Basketball News Service Freshman All-America team.

Freshman Jadrea Seeley became the first high school girl basketball player to ever score 2,000 points in the five-on-five format.

Shannon Selmon listed the i.Selmon BrotherslI as her favorite athletes. Making up the Selmon brothers are her father, Dewey, and uncles Lee Roy and Lucious Selmon. The trio played football for Oklahoma in the 1970s.

Assistant Coach Jan Ross was Sherri Coale's maid of honor at her wedding.



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