March 29, 2002
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Oklahoma will be making its first NCAA Final Four appearance this weekend. The Sooners cruised through their first and second round games with victories over 16 seed Hartford, 84-52, and ninth seeded Villanova, 66-53, in Norman, Okla. In West Regional action Oklahoma swept Big 12 foes Texas Tech, 72-62, and Colorado, 94-60, in Boise, Idaho, for the right to advance to the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
In this four team tournament, Oklahoma has only faced top ranked Connecticut. These two teams have played three times, with OU losing all three. However, the Sooners look to earn the first win in all-time series against Duke on Friday, March 29. These two teams will tip off the 2002 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, at 6 p.m., followed by UConn and Tennessee at 8 p.m. Both games will be aired on ESPN.
The winners of Friday's semifinal games will play for the National title on Sunday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. Calling the action for ESPN will be Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Ann Meyers (color) and Michelle Tafoya (sideline reporter).
OKLAHOMA WINS FIRST REGIONAL TITLE
OU is the first Big 12 school to reach the NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four in conference's history. The Sooners are also the first to achieve this mark among former Big Eight members.
NCAA TICKETS GOING FAST
As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, OU had sold more than 1,000 tickets to the Final Four and was still taking orders.
SOONERS 3-1 IN SAN ANTONIO
Oklahoma is 3-1 all-time when playing in San Antonio, Texas. The Sooners competed in UTSA Classic earlier this season , beating Butler (90-44 on Nov. 23) and North Texas (83-68). Oklahoma also played in the Texas-San Antonio Tournament during 1997-98 campaign, losing to Stephen F. Austin, 82-58, before defeating UTSA, 66-53.
OU JUST ONE OF THREE TO ...
This year, the University of Oklahoma became only the third NCAA Division I College to have both men's and women's basketball teams to advance to the NCAA Final Four.
Georgia did it during the 1982-83 season and Duke became the second school in 1998-99. Both Bulldog squads lost in the national semifinals while both Blue Devil teams lost in the title game.
OU's men will face Indiana in the semifinals on Saturday.
BIG 12 IN NCAAS
The Big 12 topped all conferences with seven teams earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Going into this weekend's Final Four, the conference is 15-6. All seven schools advanced past their first round games and five appeared in the Sweet 16.
OU SPORTS 12-0 RECORD WHEN...
With its victories in the NCAA Regionals in Boise, Idaho, Oklahoma improved to 10-0 when playing on a neutral courts. OU is also 12-0 when facing non-conference opponents this year.
ALL-WEST REGIONAL TEAM
Oklahoma placed three Sooners on the All-West Regional team. Senior Stacey Dales was named the Regional MVP, while teammates and Ada, Okla., natives LaNeishea Caufield and Caton Hill were selected to the all-tournament team. The trio scored 49.5% of OU's 83.0 points over the two game span. Caufield topped the team with 21.5 ppg, followed by Dales' 17.5 and Hill's 11.0 ppg. They also accounted for 46 of the team's 72 rebounds while in Boise, Idaho.
OPPONENTS VS. RANKED TEAMS
Against top 25 teams, Connecticut is 11-0 (1.000) followed by Duke (8-1, .889), Tennessee (13-3, .813) and Oklahoma (12-3, .800). OU is 5-2 vs. top 10 teams.
OLD VS. THE NEW
Tennessee is making its 13th trip to the NCAA Final Four while it's the sixth for Connecticut, second for Duke and first-ever appearance for the Sooners.
In head-to-head competition with the other three 2002 Final Four participants, OU has never faced Tennessee and Duke but is 0-3 against Connecticut. The Sooners lost to UConn, 84-68, on Dec. 29, 1999, in Norman, 102-80 in the 2001 Regional Semifinal in Richmond, Va. and 88-72 on Dec. 22, 2001.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
In NCAA action, Oklahoma is holding its opponents to just 56.8 points per game and 32.2 rebounds per outing. OU is scoring 79.0 ppg and grabbing 37.5 rpg. The Sooners are also holding their opponents to just 35.9 percent from the field and 25.4 percent from the arc.
BY WAY OF...
Duke is the champion of the East Region. The Blue Devils defeated Norfolk State (95-48) and Texas Christian (76-66) in the early rounds at Durham, N.C. before beating Texas (62-46) and South Carolina (77-68) in Raleigh, N.C. in the regional.
Tennessee, winners of the Mideast Region, upended Georgia State (98-66) and Notre Dame (89-50) in the first and second round in Knoxville, Tenn. BYU (68-57) and Vanderbilt (68-63) were the next victims of the Lady Vols in Ames, Iowa.
East Regional champion Connecticut took care of St. Francis (Pa.), 86-37, and Iowa, 86-48, in Storrs, Conn. in the opening rounds then beat Penn State (82-64) and Old Dominion (85-64) at Milwaukee, Wis., in regional play.
SOONERS VS. NO. 1 AND NO. 2 SEEDS
Oklahoma has faced two No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 seed in previous NCAA Tournament action, losing all three. The two No. 1 seeds were Texas in 1986 and Connecticut in 2000 and both went on to win the national title that year. OU's No. 2 foe was Louisiana Tech in 1995.
CAUFIELD PROVIDED SOONERS A SPARK
Senior guard LaNeishea Caufield is averaging a team-best 21.5 points per game in NCAA Tournament action. At 5-9, she also averages 5.8 rebounds, second best on the team, and has been shooting 57.1 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three point range (8-of-14) and 84.6 from the free throw line (22-of-26).
OU LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAKS
Oklahoma has won nine straight games and is undefeated when playing on a nautral court. The Sooners are 10-0 at neutral sites. OU's longest winning streak of the season has been 10 games (11-11-01 to 12-16-01).
The 2001-02 team will be remembered as the best women's basketball teams in OU history. This year's team became the first to capture 30 victories in a single season, win the conference regular season and tournament titles, earn the school's first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and be ranked among the nation's elite all year, including a final Associated Press ranking of No. 2.
Junior forward Caton Hill finally became the school's all-time record holder for most career double-doubles with 26. She had 15 points and 14 rebounds against Texas Tech in the semifinals of the West Regionals. She tied the mark of 25 DD, held by former Sooner great Phylesha Whaley, against Texas A&M on Jan. 26 in College State.
Hill has produced a team-high six double-doubles this season. Five of Hill's double-doubles were against Big 12 opponents, four on the road.
SOONERS' TRIPLE THREAT
Oklahoma's senior All-Americans Stacey Dales and LaNeishea Caufield and junior All-Big 12 third teamer Caton Hill account for 61.0 percent of Oklahoma's scoring this season.
The trio accounted for a career-high 82 percent of the team's points against Villanova. They scored 54 of OU's 66 points March 18. The previous best was 80 percent (53-of-66 points) against Iowa State.
FIRST 20 IS KEY
Oklahoma has not lost a game when leading at halftime this season. The Sooners sport an impressive 25-0 record when holding the advantage after the first 20 minutes of action. OU is 4-3 when behind at half and 2-0 when the score is tied at intermission.
Senior guards LaNeishea Caufield and Stacey Dales account for 44 percent of OU's field goals made. If you include senior guard Rosalind Ross, OU's starting guards account for 57 percent of Oklahoma's field goals made.
OU CONTINUES TO IMPROVE WIN RECORD
The 2001-02 team continues to improve its most wins in a single season record. OU's victory last Monday pushed its record to 31 wins. This team becomes the only one in Sooner women's history to hit the 30-win mark.
62% OF OU'S FIELD GOALS ARE ASSISTED
Oklahoma is a very unselfish team. Of OU's 918 field goals made this year, 62.0 percent have been assisted. As a team, the Sooners have dished out 591 assists for a 17.4 per game average. Senior Stacey Dales leads the team with 5.0 assists per game, followed by freshman Dionnah Jackson who comes off the bench for 2.9 apg. In addition, seniors LaNeishea Caufield and Rosalind Ross distribute 2.6 and 2.1 assists per outing, respectively.
At the Big 12 Tournament, OU had 80 percent of its field goals assisted. The Sooners distributed 71 assists on their 89 field goals made. Oklahoma had 24 of its 27 field goals made assisted against Kansas State and 25-of-30 were assists against Baylor.
CAUFIELD RANKS NO. 13 IN NCAA CAREER STEALS
Senior LaNeishea Caufield currently ranks No. 13 among the NCAA all-time individual leaders in career steals. She has pocketed a school record 394 in four seasons. The all-time record holder is Natalie White of Florida A&M (1995) who has 624 steals. Caufield needs eight to match Arkansas' Sonja Tate's 402 for 12th.
SOONERS STRONG OFFENSIVELY & DEFENSIVELY
Oklahoma is known for its high scoring and fast paced offense. This year, the Sooners have taken extra pride in their defense. OU holds the league's top marks in fewest opponent points per game (61.1) and best field goal percentage defense. Sooner opponents only shoot 37.7 percent from the field.
CAUFIELD SCORES 2,000TH POINT
Senior LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) became just one of three players in OU women's basketball history to score more than 2,000 career points. The three-time All-Big 12 second teamer surpassed this milestone in the Big 12 Tournament title game against Baylor March 2. She has recorded 2,099 points in four years.
The Oklahoma women's basketball program is featured in the March 18, 2002 Sports Illustrated. The article, "Back From The Dead", highlights the Sooners' rise to success by author Kelli Anderson.
BIG 12 HONORS
For the third consecutive year, Oklahoma is home to the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. Sooner point guard Stacey Dales was awarded the league's top honor in February. Dales also appeared on the All?Big 12 first team, while teammate LaNeishea Caufield, a senior guard, was named to the second team for the third straight year. Junior forward Caton Hill and senior guard Rosalind Ross were selected to the All?Big 12 third team.
Former Sooner Phylesha Whaley received the league's player of the year honor in 2000.
OU WINS SECOND STRAIGHT OUTRIGHT, THIRD CONSECUTIVE AND FOURTH OVERALL CONFERENCE CROWN
With a 20-point victory (90-70) over Missouri in Columbia on Feb. 23, the Sooners captured their second straight outright and third consecutive Big 12 Conference regular season title. OU shared the 2000 crown with Iowa State and Texas Tech. The Sooners have now matched TTU for most Big 12 regular season titles with three. It also marked Oklahoma's fourth overall conference title. OU won the Big Eight crown in 1985-86 with a 10-4 record.
DALES REPEATS AP ALL-AMERICA HONORS
Senior Stacey Dales became the sixth player in Associated Press history to repeat as a first-team selection. Joining Dales on the first team were Sue Bird of Connecticut, Alana Beard of Duke, Chantelle Anderson of Vanderbilt and LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State.
Dales also becomes the first player in OU women's basketball history to repeat as an All-American. The 6-1 guard earned first team honors a year ago. Dales and Bird were the top two picks.
Senior LaNeishea Caufield was named to the Associated Press honorable mention team, her first selection.
FEWEST LOSSES IN SCHOOL HISTORY
Regardless of what happens in the NCAA Tournament, Oklahoma will end its season with the fewest losses in program history. The Sooners have three heading into postseason action. The next fewest losses is seven (1984-85, 1985-86).
DALES EXPLODES DURING BIG 12 TOURNAMENT
Senior Stacey Dales was named the Big 12 Tournament MVP after averaging 22.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Dales also shot 60.5 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from behind the arc and 75.0 from the foul line. The Canadian opened up tournament action with a game-high tying 23 points, on 8-of-10 shooting, in 22 minutes of action against Oklahoma State (March 6). She followed that performance with a game-high six assists, six rebounds and 19 points, including three threes, in OU's 69-49 victory over Kansas State in the semifinals. Dales capped off the three-day event with tournament highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds against Baylor for a 84-69 title win.
JACKSON NAMED TO BIG 12 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
After scoring a career-high 23 points in 19 minutes of action against Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament, freshman Dionnah Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.) proved she's one of the top rookies in the league. She averaged 12.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and had a team-best three blocked shots to earn all-tournament honors. She also shot 66.7 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from behind the arc and hit all three attempted free throws. Jackson was solid defensively as well. She held Baylor's Shelia Lambert to just 15 points, five below her average, and forced her to turn the ball over seven times in the title game.
Jackson appears among the top 10 Big 12 Conference's Freshmen leaders in 12 categories. The 5-9 guard ranks second in steals, behind Kansas State's Kendera Wecker, and assists per game. She also ranks third in three-point field goal percentage and seventh in rebounding and field goal percentage.
DALES NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN... HILL EARNS ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
Senior point guard Stacey Dales was named to the Verizon Academic All-America Women's Basketball first team and was voted the Verizon Academic All-America Team Member of the Year as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Junior Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) was named to the Verizon Academic All-District VI Team.
Dales has a 3.73 grade point average in communications, while Hill maintains a 3.62 GPA in zoology. Dales received second team Academic All-American honors last year, becoming the first player in OU women's basketball history to earn academic and athletic All-American honors in the same year. This is Hill's first academic all-district honor.
ACADEMIC ALL-BIG 12
Eight women's basketball student-athletes were placed on the 2002 Academic All-Big 12 first team. As a team, OU produced its highest ever team GPA of 3.44 for the fall 2001 semester.