Feb. 27, 2003
Norman, Okla. - One year removed from the Oklahoma women's basketball program, former two-time All-American Stacey Dales -Schuman will team up with the ESPN staff in covering the 2003 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Joining Dales-Schuman on the ESPN set will be Rece Davis, as an ESPN anchor, and Nell Fortner, as a ESPN studio analyst.
Davis will host studio coverage of the tournament on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN FULL COURT in this landmark year for the event. Dales-Schuman and Fortner will team up as studio analyst for the 63 NCAA Tournament games. Fortner, head coach of the WNBA's Indiana Fever, returns as studio analyst for the third consecutive year.
Dales-Schuman, who helped guide Oklahoma to the NCAA Championship title game last season, ended her collegiate career as an Academic and Athletic All-American, the first for an OU women's basketball player. She also was voted the 2002 Verizon Academic All-America Player of the Year for all Divisions I sports within the NCAA. In addition, the Big 12 and OU's all-time assists leader (764) was a two-time Big 12 Player of the Year selection for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. The communication major ended her senior season as the team leader in assists per game (4.9) and ranked second on the squad in scoring (17.0) and rebounds (5.0) per game.
For the Washington Mystics, Dales-Schuman averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game as a rookie. She hit 40.4 percent from the field, 39.4 percent from the three-point line and 74 percent from the free throw line as Washington produced an overall record of 17-15. She played and started 31 of 28 games last season.
Davis, Dales-Schuman and Fortner will help usher in a new era as 2003 will mark the first time that all 63 games from the event will be televised. From March 22 through April 8, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN FULL COURT will combine to feature complete first-round through National Championship coverage, culminating with the Final Four from Atlanta. Just eight years ago (1995), only seven games were televised nationally from the event.
The trio will help to direct viewers from one game to another as ESPN plans aggressive game switches during the first two rounds as action dictates. The commentators will also appear during pre-games, halftimes and post-games. Robin Roberts, who was named news anchor on ABC's Good Morning America in 2002 and continues to host select ESPN SportsCenter shows, had hosted NCAA Tournament coverage the past seven years.
"The two distinct perspectives of Stacey and Nell will allow us to blend analysis from a contemporary player with inside coaching strategy," said Tina Thornton, ESPN coordinating producer. "Their combined expertise guided by a seasoned host in Rece will offer viewers consistent and telling insight throughout this unprecedented 63-game journey."