No. 3 Sooners Host Montana State On Saturday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 07, 2001

Dec. 7, 2001

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Third-ranked Oklahoma returns to the Lloyd Noble Center for a two-game home stand before heading east to challenge top-ranked Connecticut on Saturday, Dec. 22. Saturday, Dec. 8, will serve as a double header for the men's and women's programs. The women's game against Montana State is schedule to tip off at 1 p.m. followed by the men's game against Louisiana Tech at 4 p.m.

The game will be on KOMA Radio (1520 AM) with Brian Brinkley delivering the play-by-play and Tara DeGiusti adding the color analysis. Sooner action can also be heard on the Internet at

Following Saturday's game, Oklahoma takes a week off to study for finals before hosting Illinois on ESPN in the Big 12/Big 10 Challenge on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3:30 p.m.

Admission for the women's game is $8 for reserved seating and $6 for general seating while children under 12 are admitted for $3. Admission is free to OU students with a valid I.D.

Saturday marks the second time OU and Montana State will have played each other. MSU won the first outing, 86-80, during the 1989-90 season. Oklahoma and Montana State were two of four teams competing in the BYU Invitational in Provo, Utah.

With an 8-0 record Oklahoma is two wins shy of matching the program's all-time best start. The 1984-85 team won its first 10 games. However, the Sooners are off to their best performance under OU Coach Sherri Coale.

For the third consecutive week, OU remains at the No. 3 slot in the AP poll and No. 4 slot in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. With eight wins under its belt, OU's margin of victory has been 22.8 points. In addition, the 46-point win over Butler on Nov. 24 ranks fifth among the Sooners' largest road/neutral site wins.

This year's success has come in a variety of ways as numerous individuals have stepped up to lead the Sooners. A different starter has paced the team in scoring at least once this season. All five starters average 10-plus points per game, while six players play at least 26 minutes per game. OU has outscored its opponents 657-475 while holding a slim 39.6-36.6 edge on the glass.

Leading the Sooners in scoring are a pair of preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidates in LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) and Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada). Over the past three games, the senior duo have been averaging 24.0 (Caufield) and 21.7 (Dales) points per game. In addition, Caufield has pocketed 3.3 steals and grabbed 5.3 rebounds per outing while hitting 86.4 percent of the free throw line (19-22) and 50 percent from the field (25-50). Dales has stepped up the most over the past three games, averaging 6.7 assists, 2.3 steals, 6.7 rebounds and shooting 63.9 percent from the field (23-36).

Overall, five Sooners average double digits in scoring with Caufield topping the team at 17.8 points and Dales second with 15.9 points per game. Junior forward Caton Hill's (Ada, Okla.) 13.3 points rank third best on the team while her 6.1 rebounds are a Sooner best. Seniors Rosalind Ross (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Jamie Talbert (Elkhart, Kan.) also contribute 10-or-more points per game. Ross, OU's most consistent player, averages 12.0 points while Talbert contributes 10.4 ppg.

Montana State is on a three-game winning streak with recent wins over Wyoming, 68-53, Texas-El Paso, 86-74, and Montana Tech, 73-47. MSU's first win came against Southern Utah, 68-57, in the second game of the season.

First year Head Coach Robin Potera has two players who average 10-or-more points and eight players who play at least 18 minutes per game. Leading MSU's offense is junior forward Isabel Stubbs. Stubbs tops the team with 12.1 points followed by senior center Jessica Blake's 11.6 ppg. Freshman forward Kati Burrows ranks third on the team with 9.9 ppg and averages 4.7 rebounds per contest. Blake tops the Bobcats with 7.4 boards while senior guard Rebecca Alvidrez grabbs 6.0 rpg and Stubbs is credited with 5.1 rpg.

However, as a team the Bobcats are being out rebounded by its opponents 37.1-to-36.7. MSU also allows its opponents to average 5.1 three-pointers per game to its 2.6. OU averages 5.3 treys per outing.

Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) has become one of the most talked about and respected head coaches in NCAA Division I Women's College Basketball. She has taken a 5-22 program (1996-97) and turned it into a nationally-ranked 28-6 program in five short seasons. Coale was named the eighth head women's basketball coach in OU history on April 6, 1996. The Big 12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons has directed the Sooners to the program's first back-to-back Big 12 regular season titles and NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. Oklahoma has compiled an overall record of 53-14 and a 28-4 mark in conference play the past two seasons. Since Coale's arrival, OU is 89-69.

Robin Potera (Evangel College, 1984) is in her first season with Montana State. Potera was most recently the head coach at Texas Wesleyan University, an NCAA Division II school, where she produced a two-year record of 39-15 and guided the Rams to a 21-6 mark and a second-place finish in the Heartland Conference. Prior to Texas Wesleyan, Potera was an assistant coach for Austin College for five years. She helped produced an 85-47 overall mark, including 20-plus wins in her last three seasons with the Lady Kangar.

The Lloyd Noble Center has become a safe haven for the Sooners as they sport an impressive 38-6 record (.864 winning percentage) inside the building over the last four seasons, including this year.

Since OU Head Coach Coale's arrival in 1996-97, OU is 44-21 at home (.677 winning percentage).

Senior LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) is 10 free throws shy of tying the school's all-time record for most free throws made. She has hit 17 straight free throws, including going 10-of-10 at SMU Wednesday night.

The 5-9 guard also wants to own the conference's all-time free throw made, attempted and percentage records before graduating. She's currently 15 shy of OSU's Jennifer Crow's 557 mark for most made free throws, 58 shy of former Sooner Phylesha Whaley's 710 free throw attempted mark, and needs to better Colorado's La Shena Grahma's .844 career free throw percentage (103-of-154).

Caufield has made 542 free throws out of 652 attempted for a solid .831 accuracy. For the season, she's 40-of-46 from the charity stripe for a .870 accuracy.

She is also one point shy of moving up to third on the Sooners' all-time scoring list. The 5-9 guard has scored a career total of 1,652 points.

Oklahoma has won 12 straight non-conference regular season games dating back to Dec. 18, 2000. Southwest Missouri State was the last team to defeat the Sooners in regular season non-conference action.

The Big 12 Conference named Oklahoma's Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) as the Big 12 Women's Basketball Player of the Week after having stellar performances last week. Dales led the third-ranked Sooners to a pair of home wins against Texas Christian, 76-60, and Wichita State, 89-68. The 6-0 senior guard averaged 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 2.0 steals and shot 61.9 percent from the field (13-of-21). OU is one of eight teams ranked in AP's top 25 to boast a perfect at 8-0.

Oklahoma's trio of senior All-Americans Stacey Dales (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) and LaNeishea Caufield (Ada, Okla.) and junior All-Big 12 second teamer Caton Hill (Ada, Okla.) has produced 57.0 percent of Oklahoma's scoring this season.

This year, they have combined for a season-high 58 points, 64% of the team's total points (91), against SMU on Dec . 5.

The most points that the trio has been responsible for in a single game was 67 in OU's win over Colorado, 89-69, in Boulder, Colo., to open the Big 12 Conference schedule last year (Jan. 3, 2001).



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