Jan. 17, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. - For the first time in four years, the University of Oklahoma women's basketball program is ranked among the NCAA Division I top programs. The Sooners enter this week ranked 25th in the nation according to the Associated Press Poll released Monday morning.

Oklahoma boasts an overall record of 13-3, including a 12-1 run in its last 13 games. OU is also one of only two teams in the Big 12 Conference with an undefeated record at 3-0. Oklahoma upset nationally ranked Texas Tech, 82-76, to open league play on Jan. 8.

"This is a great thing for our players," said OU Head Coach Sherri Coale. "It's a reward for how hard they have worked and the commitment they have made to take this program into national prominence. It's a part of that big picture we have been pursuing since day one. The key is sustaining our climb."

OU is led by senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley's 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. Whaley is also just one of three players in the league who averages a double double in Big 12 play with 22.0 points and 10.3 rebounds. Sophomore guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales rank second and third on the team in scoring with 14.1 and 12.6, respectively. Caufield is the team leader in steals with 2.8 a game, while Dales leads the team in assists with 6.6.

"I'm excited and very proud for our team and coaching staff," said Marita Hynes, OU Associated Athletic Director and Senior Women Administrato. "Before the season ever started, Coach Coale indicated that this team would be very good and it's just proves to me that she is a master of assessing talent at the NCAA Division I level."

The last time Oklahoma was ranked in the top-25 was on Feb. 28, 1995. The highest national ranking the Sooners has ever received was 11th in 1985-86. That season, OU was ranked for 16-consecutive weeks.