March 18, 2002

Get Your Sweet 16 Gear

Audio:
Coach Coale

By OWEN CANFIELD
AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Once Villanova's shots stopped falling, the Wildcats had almost no shot of beating Oklahoma.

The Sooners, who withstood an early 3-point flurry, got 30 points from LaNeishea Caufield to win 66-53 Monday night in the second round of the NCAA West Regional.

"We had to figure out how to approach their offense," said All-American Stacey Dales. "We weren't contesting shots as we normally do and we weren't accustomed to their personnel. Once we got used to their personnel and came together defensively, we were fine."

The top-seeded Sooners (29-3) are headed to the regional semifinals for the third straight year. They play fellow Big 12 member Texas Tech - a team they beat twice during the regular season - on Saturday in Boise, Idaho.

Mimi Riley scored 18 for ninth-seeded Villanova (20-11), which has yet to advance past the second round in six NCAA tournament appearances.

"We do a good job on one kid and then somebody else kills you," Wildcats coach Harry Perretta said. "That's what the difference is, is that they have a lot of very good offensive players and if you stop one, then somebody else steps up and hurts you. I thought we gave the best effort we could."

The Wildcats, who lead the nation with 8.5 made 3-pointers per game, had seven in the first 11:15 of the game but only one the rest of the way.

They started out 10-of-18 from the field but wound up 19-of-51 (37 percent) overall and went 8-of-23 from 3-point range.

Caufield scored 18 points in the first 10{ minutes as Oklahoma built a 24-13 lead. Then Villanova made five straight 3-pointers during a run that brought it within 28-27.

Seven of the Wildcats' first 10 baskets were 3-pointers, most coming in the final seconds of the shot clock. But they were just 1-of-11 the rest of the half as Oklahoma surged ahead 42-29.

Oklahoma shot 62 percent in the first half. The Sooners were 5-of-7 from 3-point range and 11-of-12 from the foul line.

"We were just fortunate that our numbers at halftime were really, really good," coach Sherri Coale said. "You look at it and figure we should be up by 30 with numbers like that and instead we're up 13 and they're still in it."

Oklahoma scored the first seven points of the second half to build a 49-29 lead. Villanova chipped away and got as close as 12 with just under four minutes remaining, but consecutive turnovers led to four Oklahoma points and sealed the victory.

Caton Hill had 15 points. Dales scored nine on just 3-of-12 shooting, but had six assists. Trish Juhline had 11 points for Villanova.

Oklahoma's 29 victories broke the school record set last year. The crowd of 11,245 was the largest to watch a women's game in state of Oklahoma, surpassing mark of 11,200 set during the first-round games Saturday night.