OU-Pepperdine Pregame Notes

Pictured above: OU head coach Sherri Coale talks to her team during practice Friday in Denver. Coale and the 2nd-seeded Sooners (29-4) will tip-off against 15th-seeded Pepperdine at 12 p.m. (CST) Saturday. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Setting
No. 15 Pepperdine (14-16) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (29-4) -- 12 p.m. CST -- Denver, Colo. -- The Pepsi Center.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Pam Ward (play-by-play), Nancy Lieberman (analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline) will call the action. To listen to the game online, click the link below and then click the black and white photo at the top of the page.

Listen Online

The Matchup
We're not going to waste much of your time here. The Sooners, who enter Monday's first round game on a bigger winning streak (17) than Pepperdine has wins all season, shouldn't have any problems advancing to Monday's second round.

If there is a Cinderella in this year's women's tournament it is the Waves, who entered the West Coast Conference Tournament as the 4th seed and an 11-16 record. However, they won three in a row, including a 71-67 win over top-seeded Santa Clara in the title game to earn a tournament berth.

The Waves are led by sophomore guard Daphanie Kennedy. Kennedy averages 12.0 points per game and was named the WCC Conference Tournament MVP, but Pepperdine will have a harder time than most matching up with OU's Courtney Paris, as their tallest two players are both 6-foot-1. In fact, Paris, who stands 6-foot-4, averages more points and rebounds by herself than the Waves inside duo of Kelsey Ball and Jasmane Clarendon do combined.

The Waves and Sooners have had four common opponents this season — Michigan State, UCLA, Kansas and San Francisco. Pepperdine lost to all four, while the Sooners went 3-1 with the only loss coming to Michigan State.

The Sooners, who are 14-3 against teams in this year's NCAA Tournament field, are 10-6 in the NCAA Tournament under Coale and have advanced to the second round in six of the last eight seasons. The Waves are making just their fourth-ever trip to the Big Dance and their first since 2003.

Oklahoma leads the all-time series 2-1.

Saturday's winner will meet the Iowa-Houston winner at either 6:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. CST in the second round on Monday.

ESPN's Beth Mowins on the Waves
"Pepperdine followed up a fourth-place regular-season finish in the West Coast Conference with an upset in the tournament final over top-seeded Santa Clara. The Waves are making their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament -- all since the 2000 season -- and are just the fourth team in the 25-year history to reach the Big Dance with a losing record (Notre Dame was 14-16 in 1992, Missouri was 12-17 in 1994 and Illinois State was 13-17 in 2005).

"It's an improbable run to the postseason that speaks highly of Pepperdine's perseverance and fighting spirit. The Waves started the season with a 1-6 record that eventually slid to 3-11 by Jan. 6.

"But that's when the turnaround began. And now, Pepperdine has won eight of its last 10 games, including the WCC title. This is a scrappy bunch of players who learned how to win under second-year head coach Julie Rousseau.

"Pepperdine might have arrived a year earlier than expected considering the 12-player roster includes nine underclassmen and very little size. Kelsey Ball, the WCC defensive player of the year, is the lone senior as well as the tallest player in the rotation at 6-foot-1.

"Daphanie Kennedy and Jasmane (Yaz-meen) Clarendon are members of the all-conference team and the only double-figure scorers. Kennedy iced the WCC title with a late basket and free throws on the way to tournament MVP honors. Sophomore Shannon Johnson has emerged as a solid point guard.

"Pepperdine's man-to-man defense will have to shore up against the stiffer competition in the NCAA Tournament. The Waves were outscored by the opposition this year (minus-1.8 ) and gave up a slightly higher shooting percentage."

Pepperdine Projected Starters
G -- 32 -- Shannon Johnson -- 5-7, So. -- 3.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G -- 22 -- Daphanie Kennedy -- 5-7, So. -- 12.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg
G -- 31 -- Jessica Ross -- 5-10, Fr. -- 5.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg
F -- 25 -- Kelsey Ball -- 6-1, Sr. -- 6.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg
C -- 24 -- Jasmane Clarendon -- 6-1, Jr. -- 11.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg

More on the Waves
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

Oklahoma Projected Starters:
G -- 33 --Britney Brown -- 5-9, Jr. -- 6.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 4.0 apg
G -- 34 --Erin Higgins -- 5-9, Jr. -- 8.9 ppg, 1.8 rbg, 2.4 apg
F-- 22 -- Chelsi Welch -- 5-9, Jr. -- 9.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
F -- 24 --Leah Rush -- 6-1, Jr. -- 10.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
C -- 3 -- Courtney Paris -- 6-4, Fr. -- 21.4 ppg, 15.1 rpg, 3.3 bpg

More on the Sooners
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

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