Coale's Sooners open season tonight in WNIT

Oklahoma is set to tip-off the 2005-06 season against at 7 p.m.

The 25th-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team will officially begin their season tonight in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at 7 p.m. against Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the Lloyd Noble Center.

The Sooners, who blasted Oklahoma Christian 107-44 in an exhibition game last Thursday, will face a Wisconsin-Milwaukee squad that went 1-1 in exhibition play this season and 14-14 last season.

"They're a very solid team," said OU head coach Sherri Coale on the Golden Panthers, who hail from the Horizon League. "We only have exhibition film to watch on them, and a little bit of last year, and they seem to be a little bit different than they were last year.

"They have a 6-foot-2 post player who was really effective in their exhibition game. They're just solid players. I think we'll have a bit of a size advantage with Courtney (Paris), Ashley (Paris), Leah (Rush) and Beky (Preston)."

"They'll be a very, very scrappy team," Coale continued. "They're certainly not a team you can take lightly. They do what they do very, very well. Defensively, we're going to have to really be sharp in terms of containing dribble penetration, keeping them in front and contesting shooters. If we do that, then we ought to put ourselves in a pretty good position."

The matchup is a first-round game in a 16-team field with each game being played on campus sites through the championship. Should the Sooners win tonight, they will play in Norman at 2 p.m. on Sunday against either SMU or Louisiana-Lafayette.

Oklahoma could face a potential third round game with either Eastern Washington, California, Oral Roberts or New Mexico, while No. 9 UConn looms on the other side of the bracket as a possible opponent should the Sooners advance to the championship.

WNIT Bracket

Projected Starters

Courtney Paris #3

6-foot-4 Center
Piedmont, Calif.


Leah Rush #24

6-foot-1 Forward
Amarillo, Texas


Chelsi Welch #22

5-foot-9 Guard
Plainview, Texas


Erin Higgins #34

5-foot-9 Guard
Oklahoma City, Okla.


Britney Brown #33

5-foot-8 Point Guard
Norman, Okla.


Complete Roster


OU-OCC Exhibition Stats

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories