March 24, 2000
RICHMOND, Va. - The University of Oklahoma women's basketball team makes its first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 14 years on Saturday, March 25 when the No. 5 seed Sooners face top seed Connecticut in the NCAA East Region semifinal game at the ATTEL Pavilion at the Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth.
Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale and Sooners will face the Huskies on ESPN in a game that will be nationally televised at 1:00 p.m. (Central Time) from Richmond, Vir. The action will also be carried on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network on 1520 AM KMOA and a webcast on the internet at www.soonersports.com. Prior to the OU-UConn game, second seed Duke will face third seed LSU for the right to play in Monday night's NCAA East Regional Championship game that will be televised on ESPN. Tip off time has not been set.
The winner of Monday's game advances to the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 31 and April 2.
Oklahoma (25-7) shocked everyone but themselves by winning its first and second round games on the NCAA Championship. The Sooners advanced to the Sweet 16 by defeating BYU, 86-81, in the opening round and knocking off defending national champions Prudue, 76-74, on its home court, in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Sooners and Huskies met for the first time earlier this season. UConn handed Oklahoma its first home loss of the season with an 84-68 victory at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla., on Dec. 29.
Oklahoma has a trio of dangerous players in All-American Phylesha Whaley and All-Big 12 selections Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield. Each player averages double figures in scoring and plays more than 30 minutes a game. Whaley leads the trio with 20.7 points and 34.5 minutes per game. She also hauls down a team-high 8.1 rebounds a outing. Caufield and Dales follow with 15.1 and 12.8 points, respectively. In addition, Caufield paces the team in thefts with 3.0, while Dales dishes out a team-best 5.8 assists a game.
Junior guard Sunny Hardeman and freshman forward Caton Hill round out Oklahoma's starting lineup. Hardeman is the team's three-point specialist as she has nailed a team-high 39 treys this year. Hill is solid across the board as she contributes 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.
The top-ranked Connecticut Huskies enter the NCAA Sweet 16 on a 13-game winning streak. The only loss on the Big East champion's schedule was a one-point setback to Tennessee, 72-71, in Storrs, Conn., on Feb. 2.
Connecticut has cruised to two easy victories in the opening rounds of NCAA action. Top seed UConn embarrassed No. 16 seed Hampton, 116-45, before eliminating No. 9 seed Clemson, 83-45. Both games were played on the Huskies' home court.
UConn has four players averaging double digits in scoring with junior Shea Ralph leading the way with 14.5 points per game. Junior Svetlana Abrosimova (13.0) and sophomores Sue Bird (10.7) and Swintayla Cash (10.1) also score 10+ points. Abrosimova is the team leader in rebounding with 6.2 game, followed by Cash's 5.7.