OU-BYU Pregame Notes/Quotes

Sherri Coale's Sooners (30-4) will tip-off against 7th-seeded BYU (26-5) at 6 p.m. CST. Monday night in Denver. See inside for quotes from Coale and BYU head coach Jeff Judkins on the matchup. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Second-seeded Oklahoma (30-4) will play a second round game against seventh-seeded BYU (26-5) at 6 p.m. (CST) Monday night in Denver. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

The Sooners advanced to the second round with a 78-66 win over Pepperdine, while the Cougars beat 10th-seeded Iowa 67-62.

The Cougars, who lost in the Mountain West Conference Tournament title game to Utah, 84-60, before beating Iowa, shared four common opponents with the Sooners this season — Iowa, UCLA, TCU and New Mexico.

BYU beat Bruins 71-67 in Los Angeles, split the series with the Lobos, winning at home and losing 74-49 in Albuquerque, swept TCU and beat Iowa on Sunday. The Sooners beat UCLA in Norman (83-78), swept the Lobos in two meetings in Albuquerque, beat Iowa (85-68) at the Odwalla Classic in San Francisco and TCU (77-63) in Norman. See below for the Cougars' complete schedule and season results.

ESPN.com analyst Beth Mowins says this about the Cougars:

"Picked to finish sixth in the Mountain West, BYU defied the prognosticators by winning the regular-season conference crown and reaching the NCAA Tournament.

"Defense carries the day in the Mountain West and BYU has one of the best. The Cougars allow just 54 points per game and limit opponents to 34 percent field-goal shooting. On the glass, BYU averages six more rebounds than its opponents.

"Forward Ambrosia Anderson had a stellar senior campaign, leading the Cougars in points (18.3) and rebounds (7.4). The senior hit 56 3-pointers this season and knocked down 37 percent from behind the arc. She joined the 1,000-point club and shared MWC player of the year honors with Utah's Kim Smith.

"Mallary Gillespie is another 3-point threat. The sophomore ranks second on the team with 49 treys and averages 10.1 points per game. Junior center Dani Kubik puts up 10.2 ppg, but is prone to foul trouble. She was disqualified nine times this year. Guard Melinda Johnsen is the team leader in assists (97) and steals (49).

"Jeff Judkins, a former BYU men's player and NBA veteran, directed the program's rise to power and was named the MWC coach of the year. His Cougars have a chance to at least match the 2002 squad's trip to the Sweet 16."

Below are quotes from from OU head coach Sherri Coale and BYU head coach Jeff Judkins on the matchup.



"BYU is really hard to guard. They are really, really hard to guard. He (head coach Jeff Ludkins) does an exceptional job. They do the best job of spacing of any team that we've watched this year. They do a great job of staying 15-feet away from each other, penetrating and pitching and being disciplined. You have to guard them for 30 seconds."

"In some ways, they are like playing Villanova, who we have run up against in the NCAA Tournament. You just don't guard them for 25 or 20 seconds, you better guard them for the entire shot clock because they will wait that long for the one they want.

"They play offense and wait for you to make a mistake, and if you make a mistake they are going to burn you on it. They play very hard and disciplined.

"I think it's going to be very important for us to defend as a unit, that we defend together and that we rebound. Rebounding has been our deal throughout the whole season, and then we were pretty lousy at it against Pepperdine.

"I don't know if we lost our focus or lost our interest, or if Pepperdine did just a good job attacking the boards. But we have to be dominant along the glass. That's the way we win.

On Leah Rush drawing the assignment of guarding BYU forward Ambrosia Anderson

"I don't think Leah has guarded anybody quite like Ambrosia Anderson, who is as much of a chamelion inside-out running off screens and that sort of thing.

"Leah has been more of our high-post, low-post lockdown, so this will be a little more of a different test for her. But I think she is really excited about it. I think when Leah's really focused on a singular mission, that's when she's at her best.

"Iowa tried to guard her with (a smaller guard) and then they posted her up. So I think we have a lot of different weapons we can throw at her. Leah will start out on her. Hopefully, that can be good for Leah and bad for Anderson."

"Our offense begins with Britney Brown. I always think it begins with your point guard because she is the first one that establishes your offense. She is your line of vision. She picks up the ball and everybody else takes their cue from her.

"But I think Leah, statistically night in and night out, has drawn the toughest assignment and done the most with those assingments she's had. And when she is good, we have been really, really good."


On playing Oklahoma

"We're excited to be here. Oklahoma is a very good team. I think right now the way they are playing, with 18 straight victories, they are probably playing as good as anybody in the country.

"We are going to have our hands full trying to stop Courtney Paris inside, who I think is the best player in the country, and also their outside shooting. It will be a challenge, but I think we are looking forward to it.

"We had a goal at the first of the year to make the NCAA Tournament and hopefully go as far as we can. We're going to take this challenge and hopefully we can defend them and do the best we can and play our best game against them."

On if their gameplan will be to let Courtney Paris get her points and try to stop everyone else

"Those thoughts have been going through my mind. I know I have watched a lot of film during the last day just trying to see how people have played them.

"A lot of teams have done that. They let her get her points and play her with just one post player, and I would like to be able to do that. The only negative part of that is that Dani Kubik is a very good player for our team, both offensively and defensively, and she could get into foul trouble and then be sitting next to me.

"I thought yesterday, with her only playing four minutes, really hurt our team because she was playing so well at the time. I don't know, I think we're going to try a lot of different things and see what works. We have some ideas."

On how good Paris is as a freshman

"To me, Courtney reminds me of Shaq in men's basketball. She's a great passer, good rebounder, very physical inside and she scores everything. We're definitely going to have our hands full.

"But I think a good team defense can really help. We're going to try and do some things to make sure she doesn't make any easy baskets."

BYU Projected Starters
G -- 32 -- Jennie Keele -- 5-10, Jr. -- 4.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg
G -- 22 -- Vanessa Huston -- 5-10, So. -- 10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg
F -- 31 -- Melinda Johnsen -- 5-10, Jr. -- 4.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
F -- 25 -- Ambrosia Anderson -- 6-1, Sr. -- 18.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg
C -- 24 -- Dani Kubik -- 6-3, Jr. -- 10.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg

More on the Cougars
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

Oklahoma Projected Starters:
G -- 33 --Britney Brown -- 5-9, Jr. -- 6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 4.0 apg
G -- 34 --Erin Higgins -- 5-9, Jr. -- 8.7 ppg, 1.9 rbg, 2.4 apg
F-- 22 -- Chelsi Welch -- 5-9, Jr. -- 9.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg
F -- 24 --Leah Rush -- 6-1, Jr. -- 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
C -- 3 -- Courtney Paris -- 6-4, Fr. -- 21.5 ppg, 14.9 rpg, 3.3 bpg

More on the Sooners
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories