March 8, 2000

NORMAN, Okla. AP - Oklahoma has never won a Big 12 tournament game. The Sooners' faithful hope Phylesha Whaley will change all that.

The 18th-ranked Sooners (23-6, 13-3) have enjoyed their best season since 1986, but now have to find a way to improve upon their dismal 0-3 mark in Big 12 tournament games.

Oklahoma, the third seed and owners of a first-round bye, will take on sixth-seeded Texas (19-11, 9-7) on Wednesday. The Longhorns advanced with an 83-72 first-round win over Texas A&M on Tuesday.

The Sooners shared the conference regular-season title with 10th-ranked Iowa State and No. 6 Texas Tech, but tiebreakers awarded the top seed to the Cyclones and No. 2 to the Lady Raiders.

Whaley, a 5-foot-10 senior forward, was named the conference's player of the year last Friday, after leading the Big 12 in scoring (22.2 points). She was fourth in rebounding (8.4 per game) and shot an impressive 54.5 percent from behind the 3-point line.

Whaley has produced nine double doubles and scored 10-or-more points in all 29 games this year, including 15 20-plus performances.

"I'm kinda' shock to tell you the truth because there's so many great players in this league: Stacy Frese, Edwina Brown, Lynn Pride, I could go on and on," Whaley said. "It's overwhelming when the coaches choose you over all of those great players."

Joining Whaley on the All-Big 12 first team is Texas' Brown, a 5-10 senior guard/forward, who averaged 21.4 points and 8.2 rebounds. Brown finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 of seven statistical categories, more than any player in the league.

Against Texas A&M on Tuesday, Brown scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the second half as the Longhorns used a 12-0 run in the second half to bury the Aggies.

Tracy Cook added 16 for Texas and JoRuth Woods had 13.

The Sooners and the Longhorns split their two meetings this season. Oklahoma snapped Texas' 10-game home-winning streak on Jan. 19, with a 79-76 victory in Austin, while the Longhorns stopped the Sooners, 77-70, in Norman.