Soaring Sooners reach Big 12 finals

Sooners force 23 turnovers in their 69-49 win over No. 12 Kansas State in the Big 12 semi-finals

The stage is set for a top ten showdown in the WomenÃs Big 12 Conference Championship game between Oklahoma and Baylor Saturday in Kansas City.

Fourth-ranked Oklahoma (26-3) used a stifling defense that forced 23 turnovers en route to shutting down the high-flying young guns from Kansas State (24-7), 69-49.

"We struggled with turnovers tonight," said Kansas State Head Coach Deb Patterson.

"I thought the turnovers were a major factor in the outcome of the game. We played a very good team tonight. I know we'll see OU advance far into the NCAA tournament and represent the Big 12 well."

The 12th-ranked Wildcats jumped out to an early 14-8, but the Sooners turned up the heat the rest of the way to take a 17-point halftime lead.

In all, the Sooners scored 24 points off of KSU's turnovers and held the Wildcats' leading scorer Nicole Ohdle to just eight points, ten below her season average.

"We have quick defense, and I donÃt think K-State enjoyed the pressure," said Sooner guard Stacey Dales. "Our post and guards did a good job of pressuring players."

"I give Oklahoma a lot of credit," said Kansas State guard Laurie Koehn. "They did want they needed to do. They got us rattled and we had some breakdowns tonight."

Dales led four Sooners to score in double figures with 19 points and senior guard LaNeishea Caufield single-handedly accounted for six of KSU's turnovers with six steals. Caufield, Caton Hill, and Rosalind Ross each added 13 points apiece.

Dales also added five rebounds, a game-high six assists and two steals.

"We take such spirit and enthusiasm from Stacey Dales," said Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale. œWhen she's making shots from the perimeter, making things happen and moving the ball around, weÃre really good."
"I am very proud of my team, and once again, I thought it was a great effort," said Coale. "I thought they did a good job of rebounding and playing together."

With the win the Sooners advance to Saturday's Big 12 Tournament Championship game against No. 7 Baylor. The Bears advanced to the finals late Thursday night after beating Iowa State, 91-83.

Oklahoma swept the Bears in their two regular season meetings winning 82-72 in Waco and 69-60 in Norman.

Tip-off for SaturdayÃs championship game between the Sooners and Bears is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports Southwest.

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