March 18, 2011

 
  Whitney Hand
 NCAA Championship First Round: (6) Oklahoma vs. (11) James Madison
 Date  Sunday, March 20, 2011 | 1:30 p.m. (approximate tip-off)
 Location  Charlottesville, Va. | John Paul Jones Arena (14,593)
 Tickets  Click Here for Info
 TV  ESPN2
 Radio  Sooner Radio Network 
 KOKC 1520 AM in Oklahoma City
 Webcast  ESPN3.com
 Live Stats  SoonerSports.com Gametracker
 Game Info  Game Notes (PDF)

SUNDAY'S GAME PLAN
• Dayton Region 6-seed Oklahoma plays (11) James Madison in the first round of the NCAA Championship Sunday, March 20, at approximately 2:30 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va.
• The game will be televised on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and Ros Gold-Onwude calling the action.
• The Sooner Sports Network radio broadcast with Brian Brinkley will be on KOKC AM 1520 in Oklahoma City.
• The other first round game on location features (3) Miami and (14) Gardner-Webb. Advancing teams play Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT.

NCAA Championship Central | NCAA Bracket (PDF)

The Teams
• Oklahoma is ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll.
• James Madison and Gardner-Webb are not ranked. Miami is No. 10 in the Coaches' Poll and No. 11 in the AP Poll.
• Oklahoma is 25-13 all-time in the NCAA Championship, 10-2 in the first round and 8-3 in the second round. OU is 23-8 when playing a lower seed.

The Coaches
• Sherri Coale is 334-154 (.684) in her 15th season at Oklahoma. She has been the Big 12 Coach of the Year four times.
• James Madison head coach Kenny Brooks is 198-85 (.700) in his ninth season with the Dukes.
• GWU coach Rick Reeves is 118-99 (.544) in his seventh season with the Runnin' Bulldogs and 385-337 (.533) in his 25th overall.
• Miami head coach Katie Meier is 99-88 (.529) in her sixth season with the Hurricanes and 175-133 (.568) in her 10th overall.

 James Madison Projected Starters
No.
 Name
Pos.
Ht.
Year
 2010-11 Statistics
10
 Courtney Hamner
G
5-10
Sr.
 8.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
22
 Tarik Hislop
G
5-7
So.
 10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
23
 Dawn Evans
G
5-7
Sr.
 23.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.5 apg
24
 Lauren Jimenez
C
6-4
Sr.
 14.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg
30
 Nikki Newman
F
6-2
So.
 2.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg

 Oklahoma Projected Starters
No.
 Name
Pos.
Ht.
Year
 2010-11 Statistics
13
 Danielle Robinson
G
5-9
Sr.
 18.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.8 apg
3
 Aaryn Ellenberg
G
5-7
Fr.
 16.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
25
 Whitney Hand
G
6-1
So. (RS)
 11.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
10
 Carlee Roethlisberger
F
6-1
Sr.
 6.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg
4
 Nicole Griffin
C
6-6
Fr.
 5.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg

PREVIEWING OKLAHOMA
The Sooners enter the 2011 NCAA Championship following back-to-back trips to the Final Four. OU returns eight letterwinners, including three with starting experience, and introduces five newcomers. Oklahoma finished third in the Big 12 this season and posted its sixth-straight 20-win season.

OU has one of the premier backcourts in the country with preseason All-American Danielle Robinson leading the team with 18.4 points and 4.8 assists per game and freshman Aaryn Ellenberg adding 16.5 points.

Redshirt-sophomore Whitney Hand, the 2009 Big 12 Freshman of the Year who suffered an ACL injury five games into the 2009-10 season returned to action on Jan. 2 and contributes 11.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

High school All-American Nicole Griffin cracked the starting lineup on Feb. 12 and has provided a reliable post presence.

20 for 2011
Oklahoma reached 20 wins for the sixth consecutive season. OU has recorded all 10 of Sherri Coale's 20-win seasons in the past 12 years and has 16 total in the program's history.

 
 Sooner to Watch 

Danielle Robinson | Sr. | Guard
The senior point guard is approaching Caton Hill's OU and Big 12 records for career starts and games played. Starting on Sunday would give Robinson her 138th consecutive start in 139 games. Hill had 139 total starts in 140 games played.

   

PREVIEWING THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Oklahoma is the 6 seed in the Dayton Region and plays its first round game in Charlottesville, Va., against 11-seed James Madison.

Oklahoma is appearing in its 14th NCAA Championship, and 12th consecutive, the eighth longest active streak. OU has a 25-13 record in the tournament; is 10-2 in the first round; 8-3 in the second; 3-5 in the Sweet 16; 3-0 in the Elite Eight; 1-2 in the Final Four; and 0-1 in the National Championship Game (2002).

The Sooners have been to back-to-back Final Fours and is one of six teams to have advanced to three in the past 10 years. OU has advanced past the second round in four of its last five appearances with the only exception an overtime loss to Notre Dame in the 2008 second round.

OU and James Madison will meet for the second time in history. The Sooners defeated the Dukes 57-55 on Jan. 4, 1986, in Miami, Fla.

Oklahoma met Gardner-Webb for the first time earlier this year in Norman, beating the Runnin' Dogs 84-75. OU and Miami have played three times previously with the Hurricanes winning both matchups in Coral Gables (69-66 on Dec. 30, 1988, and 62-60 on Dec. 19, 1998) and the Sooners winning in Norman (67-62 on Dec. 20, 1997).

What to watch for:
• OU was 8-8 against its 10 opponents selected to the field of 64, including a 2-2 record against non-conference opponents.
• Danielle Robinson will make her 138th consecutive start in her 139th career game Sunday. She trails Caton Hill, who had 139 starts in 140 games, for the OU and Big 12 records.
• Aaryn Ellenberg is one 3-pointer shy of matching OU's single season record of 88 set by Erin Higgins in 2005-06.
• In OU's last three games, all away from home, Whitney Hand averaged 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

Robinson Joins an Exclusive Club
Danielle Robinson crossed the 2,000-point plateau against Colorado (Feb. 23) and became the third top-level women's college basketball player, and the second in NCAA Division I competition, to total 2,000 points, 700 assists and 300 steals in a career, in OU's Big 12 Championship semifinal game against Texas A&M. Previously, only Dawn Staley and Nancy Lieberman had reached those benchmarks.

Players with 2,000 Points/700 Assists/300 Steals
Nancy Lieberman, Old Dominion (1977-80): 2,430 points, 961 assists, 512 steals*
Dawn Staley, Virginia (1989-92): 2,135 points, 729 assists, 454 steals
Danielle Robinson, Oklahoma (2008-11): 2,085 points, 704 assists, 300 steals
*Pre-NCAA statistics

Robinson, Ellenberg Earn All-Big 12 Honors
Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson and Aaryn Ellenberg were among the honorees as the All-Big 12 awards were announced. Robinson was named to the All-Big 12 First Team for the third straight season and completed her career as a four-time member of the All-Defensive Team, voted this year as a unanimous selection to both squads by the coaches.

The senior point guard was the league's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 18.4 points this season. Robinson was also among the Big 12's top five players in field goal percentage, assists and steals. With 2,085 career points, Robinson is the ninth-leading scorer in the history of the Big 12 Conference with her next target former Sooner LaNeisha Caufield, who totaled 2,125 points. The San Jose, Calif., native is also seventh all-time in assists and sixth in steals.

Robinson was also named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team for a second straight season.

Ellenberg was a unanimous selection to the Big 12's All-Freshman Team and an honorable mention to the All-Big 12 Team. The Las Vegas, Nev., native was the Big 12's leading freshmen scorer, averaging 16.5 points, and the top free throw shooter and fifth leading-rebounder among first-year players.

Ellenberg Sparking Beyond the Arc
The freshman is close to setting more Sooner records with her brilliant shooting this season. Ellenberg already has OU freshman records for 3-point makes and attempts, and the best single-season 3-point percentage overall for anyone with more than two made per game. Her 87 3-pointers made ranks second at OU and her 215 attempts is fourth. Her 40.8 3-point percentage would be ninth best if the season ended today.

Hand a V Foundation Comeback Award Finalist
Oklahoma's Whitney Hand was named a finalist for the 11th Annual V Foundation Comeback Award Thursday.

The award is presented in memory of Jim Valvano, the late basketball coach and ESPN commentator, whose personal battle with cancer inspired the creation of The V Foundation.

The other finalists are Jessica Breland, North Carolina; Dawn Evans, James Madison; Jacki Gemelos, USC; Angel Goodrich, Kansas; Levi Knutson, Colorado; Andrea "Drey" Mingo, Purdue; Cory Pflieger, Rice; Thomas Robinson, Kansas; Kim Rodgers, Maryland; and Krystal Thomas, Duke.

Robinson an Academic All-American
Danielle Robinson was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Women's Basketball Team on Thursday, Feb. 24. She was the lone representative from the Big 12 Conference. The senior maintains a 3.50 GPA in sociology and is the seventh OU women's basketball player to have earned the distinction.

Robinson a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist
Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in women's basketball. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Fan voting counts for one-third of the total balloting and will be conducted online at www.seniorclasssaward.com and via Facebook through March 20.

Fans are able to vote for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominees once each day through March 20. Click here to vote for Danielle Robinson.