Nov. 23, 2001

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Winning by an average of 27.3 points per game through the first four, the Oklahoma Sooners have made an early statement in their quest for a spot among the nation's elite women's basketball teams.

The Sooners' did nothing to hurt their cause in a 90-44 rout of Butler in the first round of the Texas-San Antonio Tipoff Classic on Friday night.

Jamie Talbert and Caton Hill scored 21 points apiece to lead No. 3 Oklahoma to the win. Talbert's total tied a career-high, and Rosalind Ross added 10 points for the Sooners.

"I was very pleased in the way we came out and applied pressure defense," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "We had a goal to dominate the first five minutes of the game and we did."

The Sooners forced Butler (0-3) into 36 turnovers and scored 68 points in the paint, compared to only 14 for Butler. Tiffany Smith led Butler with 11 points.

"Our post players did a good job tonight," Coale said. "They had solid performances for the first time as we established an inside game, which usually doesn't happen for us because of our size."

Oklahoma never trailed in the game, taking a 17-2 lead on two free throws by Talbert with 16:39 to play in the first half. The Sooners upped the margin to 37-7 with 8:30 to play in the first half as Talbert had 13 first-half points.

The Sooners' pressure defense forced Butler into 20 first-half turnovers as Oklahoma led 47-16 at the break. The closest Butler could come in the second half was 54-27 on Lisa Pryor's jump shot with 15:23 to play.

"Last week in the game against Tulsa we didn't come out aggressive and intense," said Hill, who was 9-of-13 from the field and also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. "Tonight that was one of our goals. We wanted to apply pressure on every pass and run from the start of the game."

Oklahoma stretched the lead to 81-35 with 6:25 to play on a layup by Lindsey Casey. The Sooners shot 52.1 percent from the field to only 31.1 percent for Butler.

Oklahoma has now scored wins by five points over Purdue, 35 points over Oral Roberts and 23 over Tulsa before Friday's blowout victory.