Nov. 9, 2001
OU Women's Basketball Banquet
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Season Opener -- State Farm Tip-Off Classic
The opening weekend of college women's basketball will feature four of the top-10 teams in the country. Fourth-ranked Oklahoma (28-6), No. 5 Duke (30-4), No. 7 Texas Tech (25-7) and No. 11 Purdue (31-7) will participate in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic, hosted by Duke, in Durham, N.C., on Sunday, Nov. 11. Each participant in this year's prestigious event is coming off of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, including Purdue's NCAA runner-up finish.
Duke and Texas Tech open the day on ESPN with a 1 p.m. EST tipoff, followed by Oklahoma-Purdue on ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. EST.
Pam Ward (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (analyst) will call the action for the nationally televised audiences. Sooner fans may also listen to the broadcast by tuning to KOMA radio (1520 AM) where Brian Brinkley, play-by-play, and Tara DeGiusti, color, will call the action. In addition, the broadcast can be heard over the world wide web at www.soonersports.com.
Between the Two Teams
Sunday's contest will be the second meeting between Purdue and Oklahoma. The first game occurred on March 20, 2001, when Oklahoma dethroned the then-defending national champions, 76-74, on their home court in West Lafayette, Ind., to advance to OU's first NCAA Sweet 16 under Coach Sherri Coale. OU fought back from a 17-point deficit in the second half to take the lead for the first and only time in the game with 1:02 to play on a pair of free throws by LaNeishea Caufield. (see box score on page 4 of this release)
For the first time in Head Coach Sherri Coale's tenure, she has a veteran and experienced basketball team. Coale returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that produced a program-best 28-6 mark (.824 winning percentage) and won its second straight Big 12 Conference regular season title. OU also made its first back-to-back appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Oklahoma returns its top five scorers in Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada), LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.), Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.), Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Jamie Talbert (Elkhart, Kan.). Dales led the team with 16.0 points and a Big 12-best 7.3 assists. She also led the conference in assist/turnover ratio with 1.77. Caufield averaged 15.8 ppg plus a team- and Big 12-best 4.0 steals per outing. Caufield topped the nation in total thefts with 135 and finished tied for second in the NCAA in steals per game. Hill returns after a solid sophomore season where she contributed nearly a double-double (13.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg). Hill is also a threat from the outside as she shot 45.8 percent from the arc. Ross was named to the 2001 Big 12 All-Tournament team after averaging a team-best 14.3 ppg and nailing 12-of-24 attempted three-pointers. For the year, she was credited with 8.4 ppg and 3.1 rpg and shot 39.7 percent from the arc. Talbert stepped up her production after teammate Jen Cunningham suffered an ACL injury on Jan. 28. She ended the year averaging 7.4 ppg and 4.6 rebounds.
Purdue is a young and dangerous squad. Third-year Head Coach Kristy Curry landed one of the top freshman classes in the country last year. Even though some publications have referred to them as the Baby Boilers, Purdue does return the offensive threat of 6-5 center Mary Jo Noon who scored 26 points in an exhibition game last week. Also playing a considerable amount of time last season were sophomores Shereka Wright, a forward, and Erika Valek, a guard. Wright is the team's top returning scorer, averaging 9.9 points per game. Valek is coming back from an ACL injury which she suffered against Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament last season. She looks to team up with senior Kelly Komara to form Purdue's backcourt this year. Komara is a three-point specialist who hit nearly 34 percent of threes taken a year ago.
In Purdue's only exhibition game of the season, six players scored 10-plus points en route to defeating RTU Klondaika, 96-66. Noon's 26 points led the team, followed by Wright's 15, Emily Heikes' 14, Laura Meadows added 13 and Beth Jones and Lindsey Hicks each had 10. As a team, PU shot an impressive 50.7 percent from the field (37-73), 38.5 percent from the arc (5-13) and 70.8 percent from the charity stripe (17-24). The Boilmakers also out-rebounded their foe 50-25 and had 20 assists and nine steals.
Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) has become one of the most talked about and respected head coaches in NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball. She has taken a 5-22 program (1996-97) and turned it into a nationally-ranked 28-6 program in five short seasons. Coale was named the eighth head women's basketball coach in OU history on April 6, 1996. The Big 12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons has directed the Sooners to the program's first back-to-back Big 12 regular season titles and NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Oklahoma has compiled an overall record of 53-14 and a 28-4 mark in the conference over the past two seasons. Since Coale's arrival, OU is 81-69. (For more information on Coale see page 3).
Kristy Curry (Northeast Louisiana, 1988) is quickly becoming one of the elite coaches in women's basketball. In just two years, she has produced an overall record of 54-15 (.783 winning percentage) and captured the 2001 Big 10 title. Prior to being hired by Purdue on April 2, 1999, she served as an assistant coach for eight years with her last stops at Louisiana Tech (1996-99) and Texas A&M (1994-96).
Curry became just the second head coach to guide an NCAA Division I women's basketball team to the national championship game in just two seasons. She is married to Kelly Curry, an assistant coach on her staff. The couple has a daughter, Kelsey.
Oklahoma is 14-13 in its season openers. OU defeated Tulsa, 80-49, in the Bertha Teague Classic last year. The Sooners are 3-2 in season openers under current coach Sherri Coale.
Oklahoma and Purdue have two common opponents, North Texas and Illinois, this season. OU and North Texas will face each other in the Texas-San Antonio Tournament on Nov. 23, while Purdue and UNT will play each other on Dec. 8 in West Lafayette, Ind. The OU-Illinois game will take place as part of the Big 12/Big 10 Challenge in Norman, Okla., on Dec. 16. Purdue and Illinois will square off against each other as members of the Big 10 Conference on Jan. 24 and Feb. 7.
Dales, Selmon and Hill Named Team Tri-Captains
This year's 2001-2002 team captains will be seniors Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario) and Shannon Selmon (Norman, Okla.) plus junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.). Dales is a four-time team captain, while Hill and Selmon will serve their first season as a team tri-captain.
The injury bug has hit the Sooners hard in preseason. Oklahoma has lost two players for the year and one is sidelined until late November or early December. OU will be without the services of senior center Jen Cunningham (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) and freshman forward Antoinette Wadsworth (Grand Prairie, Texas) as both suffered ACL injuries. Cunningham's was a career-ending injury that happened during preseason conditioning drills in October. Wadsworth tore her ACL and MCL during the Southwestern Oklahoma State exhibition game on Nov. 6, in Norman. She will redshirt this season.
Sooner Shannon Selmon (Norman, Okla.), a senior forward, will also be sidelined for at least two more weeks. Selmon underwent authorscopic surgery to remove the osteochondral defect on her talus in her right foot on Thurs., October 25.
Sooners End Exhibition Action with Two Wins
Oklahoma played Oklahoma Christian and Southwestern Oklahoma State in its two exhibition games of the year. The Sooners easily defeated both teams, winning 90-62 over OC and 82-46 against SWOSU.
Four Sooners averaged 10-plus points in the two games, topped by junior forward Caton Hill's 17.0 points. Seniors LaNeishea Caufield averaged 13.5 points, while Jamie Talbert chipped in 12.5 and Rosalind Ross added 12.0 ppg. Defensively, Talbert grabbed a team-best 5.5 rebounds, just ahead of Hill's 5.0 rpg. Caufield continued her strong defensive presence as she pocketed 11 steals in two games. She also had 10 assists, one shy of team leader Stacey Dales' 11.
As a team OU shot 47.6 percent from the field compared to its opponents' 44.8 percent. The Sooners also out rebounded their opponents 39.5 to 28.5.
Dales Named Preseason All-American by AP
Senior guard Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) has been predicated to repeat as an Associated Press All-American. Dales is one for five players named to the AP preseason All-America team, a team that was voted on by a national media panel. Dales is the only AP first-team All-American to return to the collegiate ranks in 2001-02. The other four honorees were seniors.
Joining the Canadian are Connecticut's Sue Bird, Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt, LaToya Thomas of Mississippi and Duke's Alana Beard. Bird topped the list of vote getters appearing on 43 of 45 ballots, while Dales and Anderson each received 39 votes. Thomas got 26 votes and Beard collected 24.
Dales, a 2001 Consensus All-American, also is expected to repeat as Player of the Year in the Big 12. The guard led the Sooners in scoring (16.0) and assists (7.3) last season and was second in rebounding (5.1) and steals (2.4). She also played on the Senior Canadian National Team in September and represented her country in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Oklahoma had four members of its program participate in summer basketball activities. Head Coach Sherri Coale was an assistant coach for the USA Basketball Junior World Championship team that won a bronze medal in Brno, Czech Republic in July. Junior forward Caton Hill was a member of the USA Women's Basketball team that won a gold medal at the World University Games in Beijing, China, in September. Hill assisted the USA team to an overall record of 7-1 while averaging 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Seniors Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield also gained international playing experience. Dales played for the Senior Canadian National team that traveled to Brazil to take part in the Tournament of the Americas. She contributed 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for her home country.
Caufield was invited to play on the Big 12 All-Stars team that toured Europe, a team that produced a flawless 5-0 record. She averaged 10.2 points, third best on the team, and pocketed a team-best 3.6 steals per outing. Caufield also improved her three-point shooting, hitting 58.3 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-12).
Dales and Caufield Named to Naismith Watch List
Senior guards Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) and LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) have been selected as preseason candidates for the 2001-02 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award.
Dales and Caufield, Oklahoma's top returning scorers, become OU's first Naismith Player of the Year candidates. Dales, the 2001 Big 12 Player of the Year, averaged 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 steals and a Big 12-leading 7.3 assists a game as a junior. Her mark for assists ranked among the NCAA's top 10. She also became Oklahoma's first consensus All-American earning first-team honors on the Kodak, Associated Press, Women's Basketball Journal and Women's Basketball News Service list. She is one of only two players named to the 2001 Kodak All-American first team who's returning to the court this season.
Caufield ended last season by leading the nation in total steals with 135. The Defensive All-American also led the Big 12 and tied for second in the NCAA for most thefts per game with 4.0. Caufield is a two-time Big 12 second teamer who averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and shot an impressive 83.9 percent from the foul line a year ago.
Caufield and Dales have started 96 games at Oklahoma. The duo led the Sooners to an overall record of 28-6, a program best, and its second straight Big 12 Conference regular season title and NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2000-01.
Coale Adds Former Player to Coaching Staff
Head Coach Sherri Coale has added former Norman High School and Connecticut national champions, Stacy Hansmeyer, to her coaching staff.
Hansmeyer, a 1996 Norman High graduate, brings a tremendous amount of playing experience to the OU program. While at Connecticut, Hansmeyer helped Head Coach Geno Auriemma produce an overall record of 132-10 (.930 winning percentage) and win four Big East regular season and tournament titles. UConn also participated in the national tournament all four years, winning the NCAA Championship in 1999-2000, advancing to the Elite Eight twice (1996-97, 1997-98) and Sweet 16 once (1998-99).
As a Huskie (1997-2000), she averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. The four-year letterwinner also finished her career ranked eighth in career field goal percentage (54.5%) and tied for seventh for most career games played (134).
Hansmeyer spent last season as a student assistant on the Huskies' coaching staff while completing her bachelor's of science degree in communications.
OU Selected as Preseason Big 12 Favorite
Oklahoma was picked to defend its 2000-01 Big 12 regular season championship in the 2001-02 Big 12 Women's Basketball Preseason Coaches and Media polls.
In addition, Oklahoma's Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) was picked to repeat as Big 12 Player of the Year. The 6-0 senior guard led the conference in assists last year with 7.29 per game and assist/turnover ratio with a 1.77 ratio. She was eighth in the league in scoring (16.0 ppg) and eighth in steals (2.41 spg) while being named a consensus All-American. Dales was a member of the Canadian National Team that competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and in the COPABA Tournament of the Americas in Sao Luis, Brazil, in September, 2001.
Sooners Excited About LNC
Oklahoma entered a new era in women's basketball this season. Once the finishing touches are completed on the newly renovated Lloyd Noble Center, OU will be among the elite in facilities for women's basketball. The Sooners started the 2001-02 season by practicing on their own practice court, something few programs have, and await the completion of their new locker room, training room, weight room, conference room and coaches offices.
Brinkley and DeGiusti Set to Call OU Women's Basketball Action
Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti will handle play-by-play and color analyst duties, respectively, for the Oklahoma women's basketball radio broadcast network this season. The duo replaces Ed Murray and Jenny Bramer.
The Sooners will play a school record 12 games on television, including two ESPN2 games and one on ESPN. As part of the Big 12 Conference package, OU will appear four times on the FoxSports Network, the most of any Big 12 school. In addition, Sooner Sports Properties will air five games, the most in history.
Tickets, Buy Your Tickets
For the first time in school history women's basketball fans will have the opportunity to purchase reserved seating for all home games at the newly renovated Lloyd Noble Center for the upcoming season. Of OU's 27 scheduled games, 12 will take place in Norman starting Nov. 27. Season tickets are on sale now at the OU Athletic Ticket Office. To purchase your season tickets call 405-325-2424 or 800-456-4668.
Season tickets are on sale for $48 for reserved and $36 for general admission. To date, OU has sold more than 2,500 season tickets compared to last year's 779.