Jan. 27, 2000

Date: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2000
Arena: Hearnes Center (13,300)
Radio: OU - KOMA (1520 AM) - Live
Internet: www.soonersports.com - Live
TV: None

THE GAME
The 23th-ranked Oklahoma (16-3, 6-0 Big 12) womens basketball team puts a seven-game winning streak on the line Saturday when the Sooners travel to Columbia, Mo., to face the Missouri Tigers (12-5, 2-4) at the Hearnes Center at 7 p.m. This will be the first and only meeting between the two school this season. Last year, Missouri handed OU its final loss, 73-64, of the regular season in Norman.

The game will be broadcast live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City). Ed Murray (play-by-play) and Jenny Bramer (analyst) will call the action.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Oklahoma is enjoying a seven-game win streak, including six-straight Big 12 victories.

OU is the only school in the league with a undefeated road record, 7-0, a mark that set an Oklahoma school record for most consecutive road wins.

The Sooners swept the two-game series with Texas A&M Wednesday with a below average performance in College Station, Texas. Oklahoma had four players to score in double digits, led by senior Phylesha Whaleys game-high 23 points. Whaley recorded 15 of the 23 points in the first half. LaNeishea Caufield (19), Desiree Taylor (12) and Stacey Dales (11) also scored in double figures, while freshman Caton Hill added 10 rebounds for her fifth game with 10-or-more boards. The Aggies matched OUs 36 total rebounds and became just the fifth team this season to post a better field goal percentage than the Sooners, shooting 49.2- to OUs 47.6-percent.

OU is being labeled as one of the most dangerous teams in the Big 12 Conference and in the nation -- and for good reason. OU has an overall record of 16-3 and records of 9-1 at home, 7-0 on the road and 0-2 on neutral court. With a Big 12 record of 6-0, OU is off to its best conference start ever.

Whaley, an All-America candidate, continues to lead a balanced Sooner attack that features four players averaging in double figures. Whaley is averaging 19.4 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. She has produced seven double- doubles this season and scored in double digits in all 19 games. Following Whaley is a trio of underclassmen in sophomore guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales and freshman forward Caton Hill. Caufield averages 14.4 points and a team-high 3.1 steals per outing. Dales is the team leader in assists with 6.6 and ranks third on the team in scoring with 11.9 ppg. Hill is an all-around contributor as she averages 10.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals and shoots 50-percent from the field.

As a team, the Sooners are also shooting a whooping 49.5 percent from the field and are dominating opponents on the glass, owning a 40.1 to 30.0 rebounding edge. Oklahoma has outrebounded all but three of its opponents this season and has shot 50-percent-or-better in 12 games.

In Oklahomas last 16 games, the Sooners boast an overall record of 15-1 with its only loss being against Connecticut.

ABOUT MISSOURI
Missouri is currently in eighth place in the Big 12 Conference with an overall record of 12-5 and conference mark of 2-4. The Tigers have lost to Iowa State, 79-67, Texas, 80-64, Nebraska, 80-63, and Kansas, 63-52, while defeating Baylor, 78-44, and Kansas State, 63-52. Missouri opened the season winning 10 of its first 11 games but have gone 2-4 since the conference schedule started.

The Tigers are paced by junior transfers Amanda Lassiter and Marlena Williams, whos averaging team-highs 13.4 and 12.6 points per game. Senior guard Julie Helm is also averaging in double figures with 12.1 points a game. Williams (5.6), Lassiter (5.3) and Helm (5.2) are also the teams top-three rebounders.

Missouri is averaging 78.9 points and 39.9 rebounds.

Cindy Stein (Illinois, 1984) is in her second season as head coach of the Tigers. She guided her team to an overall record of 13-15 a year ago and finished 10th in the conference (5-11). Prior to MU, Stein was the head coach at Emporia State for three years (1995-97) where she produced an overall mark of 65-25.

Probable Starters

Oklahoma

Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPGOthers
F34Phylesha Whaley5-10Sr.19-1919.48.31st in ppg & rpg
F10Caton Hill6-1Fr.19-1910.27.32nd in rebounds
G20LaNeishea Caufield5-9So.19-1914.44.83.1 spg
G21Stacey Dales6-0So.19-1912.05.26.7 apg
G13Sunny Hardeman5-7Jr.19-165.01.93.7 apg

Missouri

Pos.No.PlayersHt.Yr.GP-GSPPGRPG
F5Amy Monsees6-0Sr.17-179.95.2
F24Amanda Lassiter6-1Jr.17-1713.45.3
F55Marlena Williams6-0Jr.17-1612.65.6
G15Kerensa Barr5-10Fr.17-25.12.5
G44Julie Helm5-11Sr.17-1612.13.9

THE SERIES
Missouri leads the all-time series 27-15, including a 13-4 record at the Hernes Center in Columbia. The Tigers have won the last four meeting between the two schools, but OU swept the two-game series in 1994 and 1995. The two teams split in 1996 with each team winning on its home court.

TEAM COMPARISONS OVERALL GAMES

OUCATEGORYUM
16-3Records9-7
79.7Points78.7
40.1Rebounds39.9
.495FG%.436
.3333pt. FG%.349
.736FT%.757
19.5Assists17.3
10.6Steals13.9

BIG 12 GAMES

OUCATEGORYUM
6-0Records2-4
81.2Points67.7
40.3Rebounds41.8
.526FG%.387
.3583pt. FG%.266
.727FT%.678
20.8Assists12.8
9.8STEALS11.3

NEXT UP
Oklahoma returns to the Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday, Feb. 2, when the Sooners host Baylor at 7 p.m. That game is schedule to be televised locally by NewsNow, Channel 53 in Oklahoma City.

WHALEY NAMED BIG 12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
After leading the 23rd-ranked Oklahoma womens basketball team to two Big 12 Conference wins and helping extend the Sooners perfect league record to 5-0, OU senior All-America candidate Phylesha Whaley was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week Monday afternoon by the league office. It marks Whaleys first league honor this season but its her eighth career Big 12 Player-of-the-Week-title.

The 5-10 power forward averaged 18 points, 8.5 rebounds, two steals and shot 50-percent from the field (12-of-24), 60-percent from the three-point line (3-of-5) and hit 90-percent from the foul line (9-10) last week, while the Sooners improved their overall record to 15-3 with wins over Texas and Colorado.

The Slaton, Texas, native played 37 of 40 minutes and scored 15 points, was 2-for-3 from three point land, grabbed eight rebounds and pocketed two steals against Texas. Oklahoma became just the 42nd out of 330 teams to beat the Longhorns (76-73) in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center last Wednesday.

OU returned to the Lloyd Noble Center Saturday to hand Colorado its fourth-straight conference loss of the year, 76-73. Whaley posted game highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. She was perfect from the foul line (6-6), shot 59-percent from the field and added two steals and assists to her total.

Earning Rookie-of-the-Week honors was Texas freshman Alisha Sare. Sare averaged 22.5 points, hitting nine of 20 threes.

MOVING ON UP
The University of Oklahoma womens basketball team moved up two slots to No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Poll released late Monday afternoon. Last weeks national ranking of 25th marked the first time in four years that the Sooners were among the nations top 25 programs.

Oklahoma boasts an overall record of 16-3, including a 15-1 run in its last 16 games. OU and Iowa State is tied for first place in the Big 12 Conference with identical 5-0 records.

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

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

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

WHALEY MOVES TO NO. 3 IN REBOUNDING
Senior Phylesha Whaley six rebounds against Texas A&M Wednesday moved to No. 3 on the schools all-time rebounding chart with 788. The Slaton, Texas, native is the Sooners career record holder in offensive and defensive boards but ranks three in overall rebounds.

In the early 1980s rebounds were not seperated into offensive and defensive, they were just kept as total rebounds.

INJURY REPORT
OU is injury free heading into the game.

ONE DOWN - FOUR TO GO
Before starting the Big 12 Conference schedule OU made it a goal to beat the five remaining five teams that were perfect against the Sooners and Head Coach Sherri Coale. They are Iowa State (0-3), Kansas (0-3), Missouri (0-3), Nebraska (0-3) and Texas Tech (0-6). Oklahoma has taken care of one this season, Texas Tech (1-6), and hopes to make it two on Saturday against the Tigers in Columbia, Mo.

HALFTIME IS A KEY
When leading at half-time Oklahoma is 15-0. The Sooners also hold a 6-0 road record when holding the advantage at intermission.

NOTABLES
A win Saturday will match OUs longest winning streak of the season, eight.

Stacey Dales needs 26 assists to move to No. 4 (301) on OUs all-time assists list.

With LaNeishea Caufields 55 steals this season the sophomore from Ada, Okla., ranks 13th on OUs career list with 129. Shes nine shy of Terry Willis 141 career steals for 12th.

In career blocks, Dales is tied for 15th with four this season, pushing her career total to 20.

Junior Desiree Taylor now ranks among OUs best in offensive rebounds with 119, ranking her 14th on the all-time record list.

Junior Sunny Hardeman has moved from 13th to 10th on OUs all-time three-pointers made chart with 57. Hardeman has hit 22 this year, matching her season high she set as a freshman in 1997-98.

HISTORY COULD HAPPEN
If Oklahoma wins Saturday against Missouri the 1999-2000 team will become the first squad in OU womens basketball history to go the month of January undefeated.

DALES MAKES PROGRESS
Sophomore point guard Stacey Dales moved up to No. 5 an Oklahomas all-time assists list when she dished out five assists against Texas A&M Wednesday. The Brockville, Ontario, Canada, native now boasts 276 career assists.

OKLAHOMA RUNS
The 1999-2000 OU womens basketball team became the first program in school history to put together an 8-0 and 7-0 run in the same season. In addition, this years team is the first to produce a 15-1 record in 16-consecutive games.

Top-ranked Connecticut ended the Sooners eight-game winning steak on Dec. 29, 1999. However, Oklahoma bounced back to start another winning streak. The Sooners are a perfect 7-0 in the new millennium heading into Saturdays contest against Missouri.

Never before has an OU team won eight-straight games, lost a game and then won seven-consecutive games until the Sooners defeated Texas A&M Wednesday.

OU AND SOONERS AMONG NATIONS ELITE
Two players, Phylesha Whaley and Stacey Dales, are ranked among the NCAA top players in scoring and assists per game. Whaley ranks 28th with 19.2 points per game, while Dales is 11th in the nation in assists, averaging 6.7 a game.

As a team, Oklahoma appears among the best in scoring, rebounding margin and field goal percentage. OUis fourth in rebounding margin with a +11.1 and field goal percentage, shooting 49.6 percent and 12th in scoring with 79.9.

WHALEY BECOMES SCHOOLS ALL-TIME LEADER
Senior Phylesha Whaley became Oklahomas all-time leader in defensive rebounds and minutes played at Baylor on Jan. 15. The Slaton, Texas, native collected a total of 11 boards, for the second consecutive game, and nine defensive boards to give her the record. The 5-10 forward now has 509 defensive rebounds to her credit. Whaley also became OUs all-time leader in minutes played with 33 against the Lady Bears.

She is the OUs record holder in six career statistics: free throw made (507), attempted (652), offensive (279) and defensive (509) rebounds, minutes played (3546) and consecutive games started (102).

DALES LEADS THE LEAGUE
Sophomore Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) is currently the Big 12 Conference leader in assists and boasts the leagues second best assists/turnover ratio. Shes dished out 6.63 assists a game and has an 1.73 assists/turnover ratio. Texas Techs Melinda Pharies 2.24 assists/turnover ratio tops the conference.

In conference games only, Dales also tops the league in assists with 6.67 a game.

WHALEY LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS
Senior forward Phylesha Whaley was one of five players selected to the 1999-2000 Preseason All-Big 12 Conference team. The Slaton, Texas, native is living up to the all-conference and preseason All-America praise as she ranks among the leagues best in six different categories. She is tied with Iowa States Stacy Frese for the most individual categories to be ranked in.

SOONERS AMONG THE NATIONS ELITE
In the latest Collegiate Basketball News Womens RPI Rankings, the University of Oklahoma womens basketball team was ranked 14th in the country.

Only Texas Tech (7th) from the Big 12 Conference ranks higher than the Sooners. Oklahoma also has a higher RPI than 12 teams in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll (Auburn, Rutgers, Virginia, Stanford, Iowa State, Arizona, UCLA, Mississippi State, Kansas, Tulane, Illinois, Purdue).

The Ranking Percentage Index (RPI) is used by the NCAA womens basketball committee to supplement the selection of at-large teams for the NCAA Tournament. The RPI is derived from three component factors: Division I winning percentage (25%), schedule strength (50%) and opponents schedule strength (25%). Games against non-Division I opponents are not used in calculation of the RPI.

SHARP SHOOTING SOONERS
Out of the 19 games that Oklahoma has played this season, the sharp shooting Sooners are nailing 49.5 percent of their shots and 52.6 percent in Big 12 games.

In addition, out of the nine players who have seen action in at least 18 games, seven are shooting 50 percent or better from the field. Leading OU in field goal accuracy is sophomore center Jen Cunninghams 70.8. Cunningham has hit 17-of-24 attempted shots, while sophomore forward Shannon Selmon has hit 11-of-19 shots for a field goal percentage of 57.9, followed by junior Desiree Taylors 55.9 (33-59).

Out of the starters, senior Phylesha Whaleys is shooting 53.0 (142-268), followed by sophomore LaNeishea Caufields 50.6 (88-174) and freshman Caton Hills 50 percent (78-156).

SOONERS LASSO LONGHORNS
Oklahoma entered Wednesdays game against Texas in Austin winless but the Sooners left the Frank Austin Center with a stunning 76-73 victory that ended UTs 10-game home winning streak. OU dominated the glass, outrebounding the much bigger Horns, 44-30, and shot 49.2 percent to UTs 41.0 from the field.

Freshmen Caton Hill and Jadrea Seeley carried the Sooners when experienced Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield and Phylesha Whaley were saddled with four personal fouls each midway through the second half. Hill recorded career highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds, for her fourth double double of the year, and Seeley followed with 15 points and a career-high five boards. Whaley had 15 points and eight rebounds, while Caufield contributed nine points and pocketed four steals. Dales, who forced a shot clock violation and drew a charge on UTs All-American Edwina Brown in the final seconds of the game, dished out a game-high seven assists and added eight points, including 2-of-4 threes.

Texas led 33-29 at halftime but Oklahoma hit 17-of-30 (56.7%) in the final 20 minutes to outscore the Longhorns 47-40 in the second half. This was just the fourth time this season the Sooners trailed at intermission and was the first time this year OU won a game after trailing at half.

POSTING THE NUMBERS
OU sophomore center Jen Cunningham (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) and junior Desiree Taylor (Richardson, Texas) have been essential in the Sooners early Big 12 success. Cunningham came off the bench against Texas A&M and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds and scored nine points (4-of-4 from the field) in only 18 minutes of action. She also had a steal and a blocked shot against the Aggies.

Taylor has played in each game the last two seasons. The power forward is yet to miss a shot in Big 12 play. She has hit all seven attempted shots from the field and is 8-of-9 from the charity stripe. Taylor has scored 19 points, dished out six assists, collected three steals and a blocked shot while averaging 16.3 minutes. In non-conference action, she matched her career-high 20 points against Denver and had 10 rebounds against San Diego. Taylor also scored 15 points, had four offensive and four defensive boards and went 9-of-9 from the foul line in 10 minutes of playing time against North Texas.

Both players contributed valuable minutes at Texas when OUs Phylesha Whaley was benched with four fouls midway through the second half.