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Feb. 21, 2003

Quickly: The Oklahoma women's basketball team (15-10, 6-6 Big 12) will try to snap a two game losing streak and pick up its first ever win over Iowa State when the Sooners play host to the Cyclones at the Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3 p.m. OU returns home after dropping road games at Colorado and Texas Tech earlier in the week.

OU also will be trying to snap an eight-game losing skid in the series with the Cyclones. The Sooners have not defeated Iowa State since an 89-78 win in Norman on Jan. 7, 1996. Oklahoma is 2-2 when playing teams from the Big 12 northern division this year.

The Sooners are 6-4 inside the Lloyd Noble Center and will play their fourth of five Fox Sports Network games this season.

TV: Saturday's game will be broadcast by Fox Sports Net. Bill Land will be handling play-by-play duties while Brenda VanLengen will serve as the color analyst. LIVE feeds for Empire (Buffalo), Fox Sports Chicago, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Northeast, Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Rocky Mountain and Fox Sports Southwest. A tape delayed broadcast will also be available on Fox Sports West2 (3:30 a.m. PST).

Radio: Brian (play-by-play) and Tara DeGiusti (color analyst) will broadcast the game live on KOMA (1420 AM) and the Sooner Sports Radio Network Saturday. All women's basketball games are also available live by Yahoo! on the Internet at www.soonersports.com.

Series Records: Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 23-15, and when playing in Norman, OU is 14-3 against Iowa State. However, the Cyclones have been winners of the last eight games, dating back to 1996. OU Head Coach Sherri Coale is looking for her first-ever win against Iowa State (0-7), while ISU's Bill Fennelly sports an 8-1 record against the Sooners.

Rankings: Oklahoma and Iowa State are not ranked.

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 128-83. (For more information on Coale see page 3).

Bill Fennelly (William Penn College, 1979) is in his eighth season as head coach of the Iowa State women's basketball program, a program he has taken to the NCAA Tournament six straight seasons. ISU advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight in 1999 and NCAA Sweet 16 twice (2000, 2001). Fennelly also spent seven years at Toledo when he established an overall record of 166-53 and was recently inducted into the University of Toledo Varsity "T" Hall of Fame.

Upcoming Opponents: Oklahoma will close out its 2002-03 regular season home schedule with Missouri on Wed., Feb. 26, inside the Lloyd Noble Center. OU will honor its three seniors that night.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Oklahoma                     PPG  RPG
14  CBeky Preston (6-3, Fr)   3.5  3.4
35  GDionnah Jackson (5-9, So)  11.2  6.4
12  GLauren Shoush (5-11, So)   3.1  2.5
05  GMaria Villarroel (5-8, Jr) 14.8  4.7
00  GChelsi Welch (5-9, Fr)   12.2  3.8

Iowa State PPG RPG 45 FLisa Kriener (6-2, Sr) 10.3 6.1 43 FMary Cofield (6-0, Sr) 7.4 4.9 13 GLindsey Wilson (5-9, Sr) 18.5 2.7 11 GMary Fox (6-0, So) 5.2 5.7 12 GAnne O'Neil (5-11, So) 10.3 4.8

A LOOK AT OKLAHOMA
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.

OU has become more of an all-around team this season as eight players average at least 10 minutes per game and four players are averaging better than 10 points and four rebounds per contest.

Maria Villarroel, a transfer from Northeast Oklahoma A&M, continues to lead the Sooners with 14.8 points per game and tops the Big 12 Conference with a 58.9 field goal percentage. She also averages 4.7 rebounds per game and has a team-high 18 blocks. Villarroel has played in all 25 games, starting 23.

Starting all 25 games this season has been sophomore Dionnah Jackson. Jackson's offensive production has been down a bit but her defensive skills have improved as she is currently tied for first on the team for most rebounds per game with 6.4. She also leads the team in assists, 4.8, and steals, 2.1, per game and ranks fourth in scoring with 11.2 ppg. Jackson boast a Big 12 best 2.4 assists/turnover ratio against league teams.

Freshman Chelsi Welch has also started every game for the Sooners, averaging 12.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Over the last two games, Welch has been the team leader in scoring with 20.5 ppg. The 5-9 guard has also shot 42.4 percent from the field (14-of-33), 38.5 percent from the arc (5-of-13) and 80.0 percent from the free throw line (8-of-10).

Inside for the Sooners is senior Theresa Schuknecht. Schuknecht, a transfer from Arizona State, has shown glimpses of great potential but hasn't been consistent for a lengthy period of time. Over the last four games, she's contributed 14.3 ppg and 5.8 rpg. She has connected on 47.7 percent from the field (21-of-44) and 78.9 percent from the foul line (15-of-19). She returned to the starting lineup at Texas Tech. She had been coming off the bench for the last seven games.

Also appearing in the starting lineup for Oklahoma for the last eight games has been freshman Beky Preston. Preston, a 6-3 center, is averaging 4.3 rebounds and 4.6 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field since becoming a starter. However, she's only connected on 25.0 percent (3-of-12) of her attempted free throws during this time span.

Appearing in the starting lineup at times this season has been freshman forward Laura Andrews and sophomore guard Lauren Shoush.

Andrews came up huge for the Sooners against Baylor in Waco with career highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. For the season, she's averaging 4.4 points and 4.2 rebounds but in league play she has started to blossom with 5.7 ppg and 5.3 rpg.

Shoush, an Oklahoma City native, brings an immediate burst of energy and excitement to the floor for the Sooners. Even though her numbers only reflect 3.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg, for the year, her presence means a lot more than just numbers.

As a team, Oklahoma is averaging 66.7 points per game on offense, while allowing 62.0 points per game defensively for an average scoring margin of +4.6 points per game. 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 28.5 percent (101-of-354) from three-point range.

A LOOK AT IOWA STATE
Iowa State travels to Norman for the first time since escaping the Lloyd Noble Center with an 81-79 buzzer beater in 2001 and after snapping a three-game losing streak with a 58-46 victory over Texas A&M in Ames on Wednesday.

Five of Iowa State's 13 losses have come at the hands of top-25 opponents, including an 88-59 loss to No. 1 Duke, a 64-63 loss at No. 24 Colorado and a 68-60 loss at No. 4 Kansas State.

Although the Cyclones are in serious jeopardy of having their streak of six consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament snapped, they still feature one of the Big 12's top players in Lindsey Wilson.

Wilson, a 5-9, senior point guard from Seattle, Wash., enters Saturday's game averaging 18.5 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. Wilson, a second-team All-Big 12 guard a year ago, currently ranks second in the league in scoring. She is one of three Iowa State players averaging in double figures.

Sophomores Lisa Kriener and Anne O'Neil each average 10.3 ppg. Kriener, a center, also leads the team with 6.1 rebounds per game, while O'Neil contributes 4.8 boards per game.

As a team, ISU is averaging 65.7 points and 35.8 rebounds per game. The Cyclones are shooting 42.2 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from the arc and 66.8 percent from the foul line. Iowa State's opponents have been allowed to score 64.7 points and grabb 38.0 rebounds a game.

LAST TIME IN NORMAN
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Megan Taylor's 17 points included the game-winning jumper at the buzzer as seventh-ranked Iowa State beat No. 19 Oklahoma 81-79.

Taylor's shot in the lane rendered meaningless a late 20-0 run by Oklahoma and gave the Cyclones their second straight road victory.

Angie Welle added 18 points and seven rebounds for Iowa State. Five Iowa State players scored in double figures.

Oklahoma took the lead in the first half and didn't relinquish it until Welle's basket with 8:28 left in the half made it 26-26.

Iowa State led 45-34 at halftime.

The Cyclones were ahead 77-59 with 6:13 left in the game when Oklahoma changed the complexion of the game by scoring 20 straight points.

Sunny Hardeman made three of her career-high six 3-pointers in the second half. Her 3-pointer with 1:32 left in the game put the Sooners up for the first time in the second half, 79-77.

Iowa State's Lindsey Wilson finally stopped her team's drought, tying the game at 79 with two free throws, before Taylor's game-winning basket.

Iowa State outrebounded Oklahoma 37-25 and attempted 14 more free throws than the Sooners. Oklahoma's 25 rebounds and seven free throw attempts were both season lows.

LaNeishea Caufield had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma.

COACHES' SHUFFLE
Both Oklahoma and Iowa State have used six different lineups this season. Six Sooners have played in every game (25), while seven Cyclones have stepped on the court each time out (23).

Not one ISU player has started every game but sophomore Dionnah Jackson and freshman Chelsi Welch have appeared among the top five in all 25 games for the Sooners.

DEFENSE VS. 3-POINTERS
Oklahoma enters Saturday's game ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense (28.3%), while Iowa State leads the league in three-pointers per game (7.61).

OU shoots an average of 4.1 three-pointers per game, ranking sixth in the league. Also ranking sixth in three-point field goal percentage defense is Iowa State's 31.0 percent.

Only Texas Tech has a better three-point field goal percentage defense mark, 27.5%, than Oklahoma.

SCHUKNECHT EARNS ACADEMIC HONOR
Theresa Schuknecht is one of five student-athletes that have been named to the Verizon Academic All-District VI University Division women's basketball first team for 2003. The 11 student-athletes (five first team, six second team) were picked by members of College Sports Information Directors of America from District VI.

Schuknecht was named to the President's Honor Roll and Dean's List for the 2001-02 academic year for maintaining a 3.92 grade point average in marketing. The 6-3 center is also a three-time Sooner Scholar and Commissioner's Honor Roll selection.

Other All-District first team picks were Shelby Hutchens of Oklahoma State, Kimberly Lawson of Rice, New Mexico State's Mari Sanchez and Tulane's Britt Themann.

This is Schuknecht's first Verizon Academic All-District honor. The five first team members now advance to the national ballot and has a chance to earn Verizon Academic All-America honors which will be released on March 7. District VI represents all NCAA Division I schools in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

JACKSON BATTLING WITH THE BIG GIRLS
Dionnah Jackson is the only guard in the Big 12 Conference that ranks among the league's top 20 in rebounds per game. Jackson averages 6.4 boards per contest for 14th best in the league.

In conference games only, she has increased that average to 7.2 rebounds per game for 11th best. Jackson's small 5-9 frame finds its way to the paint on the defensive end as she grabs the third most defensive boards per game at 6.08.

JACKSON CONTROLLING THE COURT
Over the last four games, sophomore Dionnah Jackson has earned an amazing 3.1 assists/turnover ratio in 35 minutes of play.

Jackson had nine assists against Oklahoma State and Baylor to just three and one turnovers, respectively. Even though she only scored 6.5 points per game in these two outings, she averaged team highs of 8.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists.

The 5-9 guard established personal bests of 13 total rebounds and 11 defensive boards against Colorado Sunday.

Jackson's career high in assists is 10, dished out against Texas (Jan. 29, 2003). She played 38 minutes against the Longhorns without committing a turnover.

WELCH - BIG 12 FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE
Freshman Chelsi Welch has come up with stellar performances against Big 12 opponents. The Plainview, Texas, native returned home to drop a career-high 23 points at Texas Tech Wednesday. The guard has scored at least 10 points in 11 of 12 Big 12 games.

Welch has average 19 points and 3.3 rebounds over the last four games. She has also hit 44.6 percent from the field (25-of-56), 40.7 percent from the arc (11-of-27) and 83.3 percent from the stripe (15-of-18).

Welch has improved her point production to a team-best 15.1 points per game against conference opponents. The 5-9 guard ranks second in the league in free throw accuracy, fourth in three-point field goals made per game (1.8) and 10th in scoring.

Against other freshmen in the league, Welch ranks second in scoring (12.2 ppg) and free throw percentage (80.0%), seventh in steals (1.3 spg), eighth in rebounds (3.8 rpg), 11th in three-point field goal percentage (32.1%) and 10th in assists (1.3 apg).

TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
Point guard Dionnah Jackson has picked up her production in Big 12 play. Her ability to take care of the basketball has her first on the Big 12 charts in assists/turnover ratio with a 2.4, compared to a 1.2 assists/turnover ratio in non-conference action.

The St. Louis, Mo., native 10 assists to zero turnovers in 38 minutes of play against Texas (Jan. 29) has been her best showing in a Sooner uniform at the point guard position. Ranking a close second is her performance of nine assists to one turnover in 36 minutes of court time against Baylor. Prior to this season, Jackson's best was eight assists to one turnover in 23 minutes against Tulsa.

CONTINUING TO IMPROVE
One of the biggest improvements in Dionnah Jackson game since the beginning of the season has been her production at the free throw line. Over the past nine games, she has nailed 85.7 percent (12-of-14) of her attempted shots at the charity stripe. In non-conference action, Jackson was only able to connect on 61.2 percent (41-of-67) of her free throws.

CHARITY POINTS GIVE SOONERS ADVANTAGE
Oklahoma's 404 free throws scored from the charity stripe tops the Big 12 Conference. OU is one of only three teams that has attempted more than 500 free throws this year (576).

In league play, the Sooners have only scored 171 points, third to Texas' 199 and Texas Tech's 175. Oklahoma ranks sixth in overall games (70.1%) and in league games (71.2%) for best free throw percentages.

OU has appeared at the free throw line at least 20 times in 17 of 24 games and has hit 80 percent or better from the charity stripe seven times, including a season-best 84.2 percent (16-of-19) at Kansas and 81.8 percent (18-of-22) against Oklahoma State.

BIG 12 FRESHMEN BEST
Oklahoma freshmen Chelsi Welch, Laura Andrews, Antionette Wadsworth, Erin Higgins and Beky Preston rank among the Big 12 top 25 statistical leaders in eight categories.

Welch currently ranks among the Big 12 top rookies in six statistical areas. She's second in scoring with 12.2 points per game, just 0.7 behind Baylor's Sophia Young for top honors, and tied for second in free throw percentage, shooting 80.0 percent from the stripe. Welch also ranks seventh in steals (1.3 spg), eighth in rebounds (3.8 rpg), 10th in assists (1.5 apg) and 11th in three-point field goal percentage (32.1%).

Andrews ranks sixth in rebounding (4.2 rpg), 12th in free throw percentage (69.6%) and 16th in scoring (4.4 ppg) and 18th in assists (0.72 apg) per game.

Preston appears at No. 9 in blocked shots (0.48 bpg), 11th in rebounds (3.4 rpg) and 13th in field goal percentage (47.9%).

Wadsworth ranks 21st in field goal percentage (39.3%) and 20th in rebounds (1.9 rpg).

Even though she only played three games Higgins racked up some impressive numbers to rank among the leagues top rookies in five areas. Higgins leads the league for best free throw percentage (100%, 6-6), ranks second for best three-point field goal percentage (50%, 8-16), fifth in scoring (10.0 ppg), fifth in assists (2.3 apg) and fifth in steals (1.33 spg).

OU RANKS 15TH IN NATIONAL ATTENDANCE
Oklahoma is ranked 15th in an unofficial NCAA Division I Women's Basketball home attendance survey, which is compiled by the University of Wisconsin Women's Sports Information Office. The Sooners are averaging 5,398 fans overall.

Topping the overall chart is Tennessee's 13,733, Connecticut's 13,509, and Texas Tech's 12,111 fans per game. Six Big 12 schools rank among the nation's top 25 in attendance.