Sooners Open Big 12 Championship with TCU
SATURDAY'S GAME BASICS
Oklahoma (16-13, 11-7 Big 12) is the No. 4 seed in this year's Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship, to be played Friday through Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, TCU and West Virginia are the top six seeds and earned a first-round bye.
OU will begin play Saturday at 11 a.m. CT against TCU (18-11, 9-9 Big 12). If the Sooners were to win Saturday, they will play a semifinals contest on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT. OU has won four Big 12 tournament titles (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007) in program history.
ON THE AIR
Saturday's game will be televised on Fox Sports Networks with Ron Thulin, Brenda VanLengen and Missy Heidrick on the call. The contest will also air on the Sooner Radio Network with Brian Brinkley and McKenna Treece calling the action.
Tickets are available here. All session passes start at $50.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Oklahoma is the No. 4 seed at this year's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, to be played Friday through Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The Sooners will begin their quest for their fifth Big 12 tournament title on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT against No. 5 seed TCU. Saturday's contest will mark the first time OU and TCU have faced off in the Big 12 Championship since the Horned Frogs joined the league.
• OU boasts a 25-17 (.595) Big 12 Championship record, which is the second most wins among current league members. The Sooners have won at least one Big 12 tournament game 12 times in the last 15 seasons. OU's four Big 12 tournament titles (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007) rank as the second most in the conference, behind Baylor's eight. The Sooners have advanced to the title game six times.
• The Sooners are 10-6 when playing in Oklahoma City under head coach Sherri Coale (5-5 at Chesapeake Energy Arena). OU is 16-8 all-time in games played in Oklahoma City.
• OU has won six out of its last eight games entering the postseason with its only two losses coming on the road at No. 3 Baylor and No. 7 Texas. During that stretch, senior center Vionise Pierre-Louis has averaged a team-high 18.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. Pierre-Louis, a All-Big 12 First Team selection, has averaged a double-double in OU's last three contests with 20.3 points and 10.0 rebounds a game.
• Graduate student guard Maddie Manning has found her rhythm offensively over the last seven games, averaging 13.9 points per game on .423 shooting from the field and a .390 clip from 3-point range. Manning has knocked down at least two 3-pointers in each of the last eight games, which is third longest streak in school history.
GAME 29 RECAP: TEXAS
• Oklahoma dropped its final regular season contest on the road at No. 7/8 Texas, 79-66, on Tuesday in Austin. Vionise Pierre-Louis led the Sooners with 19 points and seven rebounds, but Texas took advantage of 18 OU turnovers to grab the win.
• Pierre-Louis scored in double figures for the 16th straight game, while Shaina Pellington added 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and tied her season-high with six rebounds. Ana Llanusa scored 14 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers. Maddie Manning picked up six steals and finished with 13 points.
• In a back and forth game, Texas took advantage of two OU turnovers late in the second quarter to close the first half on an 8-0 run. OU posted a .429 field goal percentage, but was limited to just four 3-pointers and finished with a .609 clip at the free throw line.
• Brooke McCarty led the Longhorns with 17 points, while Lashann Higgs added 16. Texas' Ariel Atkins recorded 15 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Ana Llanusa finished with 14 points at Texas on Tuesday night, her 20th game this season scoring in double figures.
• No. 5 seed TCU enters Saturday's game with an 18-11 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs rank fifth in the conference this season in scoring offense, averaging 74.8 points per game. TCU is shooting .447 from the field (ranks fourth in the Big 12), .360 from 3-point range (third) and .763 at the free throw line (first).
• Junior forward Amy Okonkwo, the 2018 Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, leads TCU with 15.4 points per game. Okonkwo is the Big 12's top free throw shooter at .902 (ranks seventh in Division I). Junior center Jordan Moore averages 12.8 points per game and leads TCU with 6.8 rebounds per contest. Moore finished the regular season third in the Big 12 with 2.0 blocked shots a game.
• Sophomore guard Amber Ramirez also averages scoring in double figures with 11.0 points per contest. Ramirez fueled TCU's comeback win over the Sooners on Jan. 27 in Fort Worth, scoring nine points in the final two minutes to help the Horned Frogs prevail with a 62-58 victory over OU. Ramirez is shooting .390 from 3-point range, which ranks sixth in the Big 12.
• TCU head coach Raegan Pebley is 66-58 in her four seasons with the Horned Frogs and is 1-7 against the Sooners.
• TCU assistant coach Britney Brown played from 2004-07 at Oklahoma under Sherri Coale, helping the Sooners to three Big 12 tournament titles (2004, 2006, 2007) and two regular season crowns (2006, 2007). She was an All-Big 12 honorable mention pick as a junior, while leading the Sooners to Sweet 16 appearances in 2006 and 2007.
PELLINGTON, VPL LEAD WAY ON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
• OU's starting five earned recognition as the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Awards were announced on Wednesday.
• Shaina Pellington was named the 2018 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, becoming the seventh player in school history to win the award. Vionise Pierre-Louis was selected to the All-Big 12 First Team, while Gabbi Ortiz earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Second Team. Maddie Manning, Ana Llanusa and Pellington were each tabbed All-Big 12 honorable mention. OU's five All-Big 12 selections were the most of any team in the conference.
• Llanusa and Pellington were both honored as All-Big 12 Freshman Team selections, becoming the ninth and 10th players in school history to receive the honor. Pellington was a unanimous pick as Oklahoma was the only school with two players on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
• The Sooners rank second in the nation in strength of schedule according to RealTimeRPI.com. OU has played 11 games against AP top 25 opponents this season (most of any team in the Big 12), including six contests versus AP top 10 foes (tied with Kentucky for the most among Power 5 conference teams).
• Of OU's 11 non-conference opponents, seven teams finished in first or second place in their respective conference standings: Belmont (1st/OVC), DePaul (1st/Big East), Little Rock (1st/Sun Belt), Oregon (1st/Pac 12), South Dakota State (2nd/Summit), UConn (1st/AAC) and South Florida (2nd/AAC).
• The Sooners have not lost to unranked opponent since Dec. 6 at South Dakota State. OU has won 10 straight games against unranked foes.
• Oklahoma is currently ranked No. 2 in the country in terms of strength of schedule. Eight of OU's 12 losses this season have came against opponents ranked inside the AP top 25 poll. The Sooners are No. 30 in the latest RPI release by the NCAA.
• The Sooner are 11-6 in Big 12 Championship quarterfinal games, winning seven out of their last nine opening games at the conference tournament.
• OU has won four Big 12 Tournament titles, which ranks second in the league. OU's last Big 12 tournament championship came in 2007 in Oklahoma City.
• In OU's last six wins, the Sooners have held their opponents to 61.2 points per game and a .361 shooting percentage from the floor.
• The Sooners finished Big 12 play second in the league in blocks per game (4.9), third in field goal percentage defense (.415), fourth in scoring defense (68.7).
• OU's win at West Virginia on Feb. 17 marked the first victory for the Sooners in Morgantown. OU's 20-point comeback win is the largest deficit overcome against a Big 12 foe in a regular season game and is the third largest comeback effort by the Sooners in the Sherri Coale era.
• The Sooners are the only team in a Power 5 conference with all five starters averaging at least 12.0 points per game: Vionise Pierre-Louis (16.0 points per game), Shaina Pellington (12.8), Maddie Manning (12.4), Gabbi Ortiz (12.4) and Ana Llanusa (12.4).
If Oklahoma beats TCU it will play in the Big 12 Championships semifinals against No. 1 seed Baylor, No. 8 seed Kansas State or No. 9 seed Kansas on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT on FS1.