March 1, 2002

NORMAN, Okla. -- - For the third consecutive year, the University of Oklahoma women's basketball program has claimed the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Award as voted on by the league coaches and released by the Big 12 office today. OU's Stacey Dales was named the Big 12 Player-of-the-Year for the second consecutive year, after leading the Sooners to their third straight regular-season league title. Former Sooner Phylesha Whaley also won this award in 2000. Dales was the only Sooner to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors. LaNeishea Caufield was named to the second team and Caton Hill and Rosalind Ross were placed on the third team.

Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas State dominated the top three Big 12 honor teams as the Sooners placed four starters on the first three units, while Iowa State and Kansas State were each represented by three players.

Dales, a 6-0 guard from Brockville, Ontario, Canada, leads OU with 5.0 assists per game. The Naismith Player of the Year finalist also averages a solid 16.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and shoots 46.8 percent from the field. In league games, Dales sports a team-best 17.5 ppg and hits 85.1 percent of her free throws.

"This is especially gratifying because I'm in associated with such a talented group of basketball players in the Big 12," Dales said. "I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for the coaches but I'm very proud that I was chosen and I'm proud I'm able to represent the University of Oklahoma.

"Our having four All-Big 12 selections doesn't surprise me a bit. We have a great team and it's nice to see others get recognition. I'm very proud of my teammates and excited for their successes. Our success on an individual level only makes our team better."

Caufield, a three-time All-Big 12 second teamer, tops the Sooners in scoring with 17.7 points per game. In addition, she averages 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.7 steals per contest. Caufield is also a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year Award.

Hill, a junior, leads the team and ranks ninth in the Big 12 with 7.1 boards per game. She's a 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VI selection who averages 12.5 points per game and nails 40.5 percent of her three-pointers attempted.

Ross, a senior transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, ranks seventh in the Big 12 in three-pointers made per game (2.06). She has hit an OU-best 57 threes this season, which ranks fourth best on OU's single season chart. At 5-9, Ross averages the team's second most rebounds per game with 5.5 and leads the team with eight total blocks this season.

Although Kendra Wecker and Laurie Koehn claimed third-team honors, honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick Heather Schreiber from Texas was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Baylor was the only school to have two players capture first-team All-Big 12 honors, as senior guard Sheila Lambert and senior forward Danielle Crockrom claimed spots on the league's top team. Kansas State's Deb Patterson was named the league's coach of the year.