No. 23 Oklahoma Looks To Pick Up Second Big 12 Win Saturday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 17, 2003

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Jan. 17, 2003

Norman, Okla. -

Quickly: Oklahoma (10-5, 1-1 Big 12) looks to pick up its first Big 12 Conference home win of the season Saturday (Jan. 18) as the Sooners host the Texas A&M Aggies (8-6, 1-2 Big 12) at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center.

General admission tickets are just $5 with a $3 discounted coupon from any Norman, Moore and Purcell Carl Jr's. Reserved tickets are sold for $10.

Both OU and Texas A&M lost its last home game. The Sooners fell to seventh-ranked Texas Tech, 80-71, while the Aggies fell to No. 20/18 Texas, 74-47.

TV: None.

Radio: Saturday's game can be heard on the Sooner Sports Network. In addition, Sooner fans can tune to KOMA (1520-AM) and the Internet at to hear play-by-play action. Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti will action the game for the Sooners. A list of Sooner Sports Network stations can be found on page four of this release.

Rankings: Oklahoma is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches polls. Texas A&M is not ranked.

Series Records: Oklahoma leads the all-time series 14-7. OU has won eight straight and nine of the last 10 games against TAM. Oklahoma has not loss to the Aggies since Jan. 21, 1998, in College Station (91-83).

Coaches: Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) is in her seventh season at the helm of the OU women's basketball program. The Healdton, Okla., native directed the Sooners to their first Final Four and national championship game appearance a year ago. Coale also has three Big 12 regular season titles under her belt and owns an overall record of 123-78.

In five years, Texas A&M Head Coach Peggie Gillom (Mississippi, 1980) has produced an overall record of 51-74. She served as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor for two years with the WNBA Houston Comets prior to accepting the A&M job. Chancellor also hired Gillom as an assistant coach for 16 years at her alumna mater, Mississippi, following an outstanding collegiate career. Gillom still holds the school records, male or female, for most career points, 2,486 and rebounds, 1,271.

Tickets: Single game tickets can be purchased for a small price. Adult reserved seating is $10, while general admission seating is $8. Youth will be admitted for $5 and OU students are free with valid I.D.

To order tickets or for more ticket information, fans should call (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU during regular business hours. Tickets may also be purchased online at

Upcoming Opponent: Oklahoma travels to Kansas and Baylor for its next two Big 12 match ups. OU will face Kansas on Jan. 22, followed by Baylor on Jan. 26.

Oklahoma                           PPGRPG
22   CTheresa Schuknecht (6-3, Sr-TF)12.27.7
33   F  Laura Andrews (6-0, Fr.)3.03.5
35   GDionnah Jackson (5-9, So.)12.36.0
0    GChelsi Welch (5-9, Fr.)10.33.9
5    GMaria Villarroel (5-8, Jr-TF)17.14.5

Texas A&M PPGRPG 4 FJanae Derrick (5-11, Jr.)8.16.1 55 CLynn Classen (6-3, Jr..)9.03.3 24 GSabrina Mitchell (5-9, So.)6.35.1 12 GMindy Garrison (5-9, So.)7.22.1 1 GToccara Williams (5-9, Jr.)13.34.3

Although OU was the 2002 NCAA runner-up, the Sooners have a whole new look in 2003. Oklahoma entered the season with just one returning starter from last year's team that won the Big 12 regular season and tournament titles. They entered conference play with five new starters, after senior forward Caton Hill was lost for the season with a knee injury on Nov. 26. Hill is one of four OU players out for the season with knee injuries, including freshman Casey Walker and Erin Higgins, and most recently, senior Stephanie Simon, who was lost for the year in practice on Jan. 7.

Despite the new look, Oklahoma continued its success during a rugged non-conference schedule. Three of OU's four losses came against top 10 teams, with setbacks to No. 2 Tennessee (94-68), No. 5 Connecticut (73-60) and No. 6 Stanford (58-38) along with a narrow loss to SMU (71-68). OU also owns a 66-63 victory over No. 12 North Carolina on Nov. 30.

Junior guard Maria Villarroel, a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma A&M, leads the Sooners with 17.1 points per game and a 61.3 field goal percentage, which ranks sixth nationally. She also averages 4.5 rebounds per game.

Sophomore Dionnah Jackson joins Villarroel in double figures with 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and a team-high 4.4 assists per game.

Inside, senior center Theresa Schuknecht, a transfer from Arizona State, has added 12.2 points and a team-leading 7.7 rebounds per contest.

Freshman Chelsi Welch has also started every game for the Sooners, averaging 10.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Laura Andrews (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) claimed the fifth starting spot with the loss of Simon and Hill.

The Sooners are averaging 68.9 points per game on offense, while allowing 62.7 points per game defensively for an average scoring margin of +6.2 points per game. Last season, OU owned an average scoring margin of +16.3 points per game (78.2-61.9).

One of the big factors in OU's decreased offensive production has been its lack of success from three-point range. The Sooners are shooting just 28.6 percent (56-196) from three-point range, compared to their 36.4 percent (211-580) success rate from long range last season.

Texas A&M is a team that has not finished any higher than ninth in the Big 12 Conference regular season race. The Aggies are off to an 8-6 overall and 1-2 Big 12 start this season. They opened the 2002-03 campaign winning six of their first seven games.

Texas A&M is lead by junior guard Toccara Williams' 13.3 points per game. She is assisted by freshman guard Natasha Summerville and junior center Lynn Classen who averages are 9.3 and 9.0 ppg, respectively. Junior forward Janae Derrick tops the team in rebounds with 6.1 boards an outing.

A&M's top rebounded, Kim Moore, left the team at the start of the New Year for personal reasons.

As a team, TAM averages 68.3 points, while their opponents only score 65.3 points per game. The Aggies are being outrebounded, 41.0-44.0.

Oklahoma and Texas Tech performances at the free throw line Wednesday night tops the Big 12 Conference charts for a single game performance for most made and attempted free throws in league play.

TTU and OU each appeared at the stripe 36 times, with the Lady Raiders making 28 and OU scoring 27 from the charity stripe.

Junior Maria Villarroel's 10 made foul shots against TTU is a Big 12 single game best, while her 11 attempts and 90.9 free throw percentage ranks second in conference action.

Four of OU's five losses have come against top 10 teams, with setbacks to No. 2 Tennessee (94-68), No. 5 Connecticut (73-60), No. 6 Stanford (58-38) and Texas Tech (80-71), along with a narrow loss to SMU (71-68). OU also owns a 66-63 victory over No. 12 North Carolina.

Oklahoma is 1-4 against top 25 and 0-4 vs. teams in the top 10.

Oklahoma sports a solid 71.7 free throw percentage in the final two minutes of the game. The Sooners have hit 43-of-60 attempted free throws down the stretch.

Oklahoma is currently ranked ninth in the Women's RPI and the WBCA/Summerville RPI polls and 21st in Jeff Sagarin RPI poll.

Texas A&M RPI ranking is 120th, while the Big 2 Conference is ranked sixth in the WBCA/Summerville RPI poll.

OU freshman-redshirt Antoinette Wadsworth played a season-high 20 minutes against seventh-ranked Texas Tech Wednesday night. The 5-11 forward scored six points, hitting two of three shots, and grabbed four rebounds in the Sooners narrow 81-70 loss to the Lady Raiders. Wadsworth also dished out a career-best four assists and made two-of-four free throws, also a personal best.

The Grand Prairie, Texas, native has played in nine games this season with averages of 2.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. She's also shooting 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from the field.

Oklahoma freshman Chelsi Welch currently ranks among the Big 12 top rookies in several statistical categories. Welch ranks third among the freshmen class in scoring with 10.3 points per game, fourth in steals (1.4 spg) and eighth in rebounds per game (3.9).

Freshman-redshirt Antionette Wadsworth ranks eighth in field goal percentage (52.6%) and 17th in rebounds per game with 2.0. In addition, freshman Laura Andrews ranks 10th with 3.5 boards per outing.

Even though she only played three games, freshman standout Erin Higgins racked up some impressive numbers to rank among the leagues top rookies. Higgins leads the league for best free throw percent (100%, 6-6), tied for second for best three-point field goal percentage (50%, 8-16), fifth in scoring (10.0 ppg) and steals (1.33 spg).

For the second straight NCAA rankings, Oklahoma's Maria Villarroel and Theresa Schuknecht still ranks among the nation best in field goal and free throw percentages. Villarroel, a 5-9 guard, currently ranks sixth with a 62.1 field goal percentage, hitting 90-of-145 shots. Schuknecht, a 6-3 center, has connected on 56-of-64 free throws for a 87.5 accuracy at the stripe, 25th best in the NCAA. (as of 1-6-03)

Oklahoma has taken the trip to the free throw line at least 20 times in 13-of-15 games this year. Sooner opponents have only appeared at the charity stripe 20 plus times on five occasions.

Nebraska became the first opponent this season to shoot more free throws than the Sooners. The Cornhuskers appeared at the stripe 27 times to OU's 20.

The fewest free throws Oklahoma has attempted in a single game this season has been 11 (at Stanford). OU has hit 80 percent from the charity stripe three times, including a season-best 80.8 twice.

For the past four season, Oklahoma has been one of the best free throw shooting teams in the league. OU made a Big 12 best 582 free throws and finished second in the conference with a .748 accuracy last year. The Sooners currently rank sixth with a 69.3 free throw accuracy.

Since 1998-99, the Sooners have not ranked lower than fourth in free throw percentage among Big 12 teams. OU finished the 2002, 2000 and 1999 seasons with the second best free throw percentage and in two of those three years (2002 and 2000) OU scored more points from the charity stripe than any other team in the league. In 1999, OU finished second for most points scored from the foul line.

Oklahoma has appeared at the free throw line 392 times this season, while its opponents have only made the trip 253 times. The Sooners have earned 274 free points while 170 points have been scored by opponents at the charity stripe. Oklahoma is shooting 69.9 percent from the free throw line. OU opponents are making 67.2 percent of their free throws attempted.

Head Coach Sherri Coale emphasizes the value of doing the fundamentals right in basketball. One of the biggest fundamental skills in the sport is boxing out your opponent. The Sooners have been extremely successful in this category over the past four years. Oklahoma has finished among the top five teams in the Big 12 Conference for most total rebounds the past four seasons. OU took top honors for most rebounds in the league in 2002 (1,411) and 2001 (1,402).

OU is currently averaging 40.8 rebounds a game, fifth best in the Big 12. The Sooners have outrebounded eight of their opponents, including a grabbing a season-high 51 boards against Wichita State. Oklahoma is 5-2 when collecting more total rebounds then its opponent.

For the first time all season, junior Maria Villarroel does not lead the Big 12 Conference in field goal percentage. She ranks second. Villarroel has hit 95 of her 155 attempted shots for a solid 61.3 field goal percentage. The 5-8 guard also ranks fifth in the conference in scoring with 17.1 ppg.

Senior Theresa Schuknecht, sophomore Dionnah Jackson and freshman Chelsi Welch also ranks among the conference best in scoring. Jackson ranks 18th (12.3 ppg), followed by Schuknecht at 20th (12.2 ppg) and Welch moves up one from earlier in the week to No. 28 (10.3 ppg).

Schuknecht drops to sixth in free throw percentage, hitting 85.5 percent of her shots (59-of-69), stays at fourth in offensive rebounds (3.47) and moves up to ninth in total rebounds (7.7 rpg).

Jackson appears for the first time this season among the conferences' top rebounder. She's 20th with 6.0 rebounds per game and 14th with 4.4 defensive boards a contest. The St. Louis, Mo., native remains at ninth in assists (4.40 apg), moves up a spot in assists/turnover ratio (1.20/13th), but moves down to seventh in steals (2.27 spg).

Welch continues to rank among the league's top players as she's 14th in free throw percentage (.723) and 13th in 3-point field goal percentage (.333).

Oklahoma is three victories shy of its 500th win in program history. Current and previous Sooner teams have established an overall record of 447-371 in 28 years (.546 winning percentage).

Head Coach Sherri Coale has been responsible for 123 of those victories. Coale is 19 wins shy of tying OU's all-time winningest coach Maura McHugh's 142 victory mark.



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