Oklahoma Begins Season Friday Against WKU
FRIDAY'S GAME BASICS
The Sooners open the 2018-19 season on Friday as they host Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. CT inside Lloyd Noble Center. Friday's matchup marks just the second meeting between the Sooners and Lady Toppers.
OU is beginning its 23rd season under head coach Sherri Coale and appeared in its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament last season. The Sooners return two starters from last year's squad that tied for third place in the Big 12 (11-7 record) and finished with a 16-15 overall record.
ON THE AIR
Friday's game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest with Jessica Coody, Brenda VanLengen and Megan McDonald on the call. The contest will air on the Sooner Radio Network with Brian Brinkley calling the action.
Tickets are available for $8 at the OU Athletics Ticket Office (800-456-4668) and online here. Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. OU students will be admitted free with a valid school I.D.
Fans with a ticket to Saturday's Bedlam football game will receive free admission to Friday night's basketball game.
IN THE BONUS
• The OU Bookstore is offering season ticket holders an opportunity to save on Sooner gear heading into the holiday season. Season ticket holders will receive a coupon for up to 30% off of a purchase. Between OU's first three games (Northeastern State on Nov. 5, Western Kentucky on Nov. 9 and Northwestern State on Nov. 15), fans can build up their discount, starting with 10% off for attending one game, 20% off for attending two games and 30% off for attending all three. Coupons will be sent in early December.
• Fans with a ticket to Friday night's game will receive a buy-one, get-one BBQ sandwich at Rudy's, located at Highway 9 and Chautauqua Avenue.
• Fans are encouraged to #ArriveSooner to avoid delays into the gates with enhanced screenings. For more gameday information at Lloyd Noble Center, visit the LNC's information page. The University of Oklahoma instituted a clear-bag policy in Aug. 2018 at all OU Athletics event.
• Fans will have opportunity to purchase beer at Lloyd Noble Center during Friday night's game.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma opens the regular season on Friday at 7 p.m. CT inside Lloyd Noble Center against Western Kentucky. The Sooners have won 19 out of their last 20 home openers at Lloyd Noble Center dating back to the 1999-00 season. OU is 34-7 all-time in home openers.
• Friday's matchup between Oklahoma and Western Kentucky marks the first meeting between the two programs since Nov. 25, 1985. The Sooners defeated then No. 6-ranked Western Kentucky, 89-81, in Bowling Green. The victory marked the first road win over a ranked team in program history for the Sooners and was OU's first-ever win against an AP top-10 team.
• The Sooners earned their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance last season and tied for third place with an 11-7 mark in the Big 12. The Sooners return two starters from last year's squad: sophomore guard Ana Llanusa (12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and sophomore guard Shaina Pellington (13.1 ppg, 2.2 apg). Pellington was the 2018 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and both players were selected to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team along with earning All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selections.
• OU welcomes seven freshmen to their 2018-19 squad, the most freshmen to appear on the Sooners' roster since the 2002-03 season. The Sooners' signing class was ranked No. 9 nationally by Prospect Nation and No. 17 ESPN Hoop Gurlz. Guard/forward Madi Williams (No. 8 overall), guard Tatum Veitenheimer (No. 24 overall) and guard Taylor Robertson (No. 90 overall) were all top-100 prospects by Prospect Nation. Williams was also a 2018 McDonald's and Jordan Brand All-American.
• Despite returning just five letterwinners from its 2017-18 team, OU was picked fifth in the Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll. The Sooners have finished higher than where they picked in the Big 12 Preseason 13 times under Sherri Coale. Oklahoma has also won at least 10 Big 12 games 12 times in the last 13 seasons.
• The Sooners return five letterwinners from last year's squad. OU also brings back two starters from its 2017-18 team: sophomore guards Ana Llanusa and Shaina Pellington. The pair combined to score 784 points, the second-most points scored by an OU freshman tandem in program history. The duo of Ashley Paris and Courtney Paris (1,000) are the only two Sooner freshmen that have combined to score more points than Llanusa and Pellington in one year. Courtney Paris scored a program record 788 points as a freshman during the 2015-16 season, while her twin sister Ashley Paris added 212 points.
• Pellington enters the season as a Preseason All-Big 12 selection after scoring 13.1 points per game and shooting .492 from the field as a freshman. The Pickering, Ontario, native was named the 2018 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, the seventh Sooner to win the award. OU leads the Big 12 with seven Big 12 Freshman of the Year winners.
• Llanusa averaged 12.6 points per contest during the 2017-18 season. The Choctaw, Okla., native turned in a pair of 27-point scoring games last season. She joins Aaryn Ellenberg and Courtney Paris as the only three OU freshmen to score 27 points or more in a single game.
• The Sooners also return senior forward Ijeoma Odimgbe, redshirt senior guard Gileysa Penzo and sophomore forward Mandy Simpson. Odimgbe has appeared in 55 career games and ranked second on the team with 25 blocks last season. Penzo led OU with 2.4 assists per game in 2017-18 and became the first Sooner since 2013 to record multiple games with 10-plus assists in one season. Simpson made nine starts and earned Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors on Nov. 13, 2017, for her 12-point, five-rebound performance against Belmont.
Taylor Robertson hit treys and finished with 21 points against Northeastern State in Monday's 119-45 exhibition victory.
• Oklahoma enters the season with seven freshmen on its roster, the most for an OU team since the 2002-03 season which featured eight freshmen.
• The Sooners are one of two Power 5 teams (Boston College) with seven freshmen on their roster. Among all Division I teams, OU (seven), Boston College (seven), FAU (eight) and Wichita State (eight) are the only four teams with more than seven freshmen on their roster to begin the 2018-19 season.
• The average age of OU's 12-member squad is 19.1 years old, which is tied for third nationally among all Division I teams with Georgia Tech. Only UMBC and SMU have a younger roster by average age than the Sooners (19.0).
• Oklahoma won its lone exhibition game on Monday, picking up a 119-45 victory over Northeastern State. OU 's 119 points against the Riverhawks rank as the second-most scored by the Sooners in an exhibition game under Sherri Coale. The Sooners made 17 3-pointers in the win and shot .573 from the field.
• Shaina Pellington's 33 points were an exhibition game record in the Coale era, besting the previous mark set by Theresa Schuknecht (28, vs. Oklahoma Christian, 2002-03).
PREVIEWING WESTERN KENTUCKY
• Western Kentucky is under the direction of first-year head coach Greg Collins. The Lady Toppers were picked fourth in the 2018 C-USA Preseason Poll after finishing with a 24-9 overall record last season. WKU won the C-USA postseason title and advanced to the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Lady Toppers open the regular season on Tuesday night with a 102-80 home loss to No. 5/4 Louisville.
• The Lady Toppers return sophomore forward Raneem Elgedawy and redshirt junior forward Dee Givens from last year's team. Eldedawy was the 2018 C-USA Freshman of the Year, while Givens was named the 2018 C-USA Sixth Man of the Year.
• WKU welcomes West Virginia transfer Alexis Brewer to its roster for the 2018-19 season. Brewer played two seasons for the Mountaineers, averaging 7.2 points per game against the Sooners in five career games.
• OU hosts Northwestern State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. CT inside Lloyd Noble Center. Thursday's matchup will mark the second meeting between the Sooners and Lady Demons. OU won the first contest against Northwestern State, 96-35, in 2012. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma.