Big 12 Title Preview: OU vs. Iowa State

The Sooners (25-4) and Cyclones (25-7) will tip-off at 6 p.m. tonight in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma beat Iowa State, 69-49, in the first meeting this season on Jan. 24 in Norman. See inside for tonight's pregame notes, including quotes from OU coach Sherri Coale and ISU coach Bill Fennelly on the matchup. (AP Photo)

The Teams
#11 Oklahoma (25-4) vs. Iowa State (25-7) -- 6 p.m. -- Cox Convention Center (13,846) Oklahoma City, Okla.

Today's game will be televised on Fox Sports Net. Kevin Eschenfelder (play-by-play) and Debbie Antonelli (analyst) will call the action. The game can also be heard on the radio on KOKC 1520 AM.

Radio Broadcast Info | Live Stats

The Matchup
The second-seeded Sooners will be looking for their second-straight Big 12 Tournament title tonight when they take on fifth-seeded Iowa State.

The Cyclones, who will be playing their fourth game in five days, advanced to tonight's title game with wins over 12th-seeded Kansas State (57-45), 4th-seeded Nebraska (79-76 in OT) and top-seeded Texas A&M (57-51). However, only one team in the 10-year history of the Big 12 Tournament has won four-straight games to win the title. Interestingly enough, it was Oklahoma who accomplished the feat in 2004 in Dallas when they won the title as a No. 6 seed.

The game will also end a lenghthy winning streak for one of the two schools. Iowa State comes into the game on an eight-game winning streak, while the Sooners have won seven in a row.

Oklahoma won the first meeting between the two teams, 69-49, on Jan. 24 in Norman, but 6-foot-4 Cyclone center Becky Wieben held Courtney Paris to a season-low 11 points on just 6-of-13 shooting. Wieben is third in the league in blocked shots per game, while senior point guard Lyndsey Medders ranks 11th in scoring 1st in assists and 4th in made 3-point field goals per game.

Tonight will mark OU's fifth appearance in the Big 12 Tournament title game. They are 3-1 thus far in the title game with the lone loss coming against, interestingly enough, Iowa State in 2001 in Kansas City.

The Sooners, who have won the last three meetings between the two schools, lead the all-time series 26-17.

Game 1 Recap | OU Game Notes | ISU Game Notes

OU coach Sherri Coale on Iowa State...
"Iowa State is playing very well right now. It's like they willed themselves to win games. You admire that as a competitor. You admire the way they're playing together and the things they've been able to accomplish. It reminds me a little bit of our team that went to Dallas and ran through. We were the first ones to be able to be playing on the first day and end up playing on the final day as well. And we were fortunate enough to be able to win that. So we know it can be done. They're a formidable opponent. They shoot the ball extremely well and Bill (Fennelly) is just one of the best coaches in the business. So we have our hands full.

"The big difference is we feel like we spent the last month playing Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor. Feels like we play them over and over again, and Iowa State is playing quite a bit differently than those guys. It will be an adjustment obviously. But that's what it's like in the NCAA tournament. You get one team that plays one way one night and it's a completely different story the next.

"They're just so different than the Big 12 south games that we've been competing in lately. They love to shoot the 3-ball obviously. I think they shot 26 3s last night compared to 22 2s. So we'll shoot the 3 a little bit, but not that ratio. So different styles, I think. We're probably a little more smashmouth and they're a little more spread the floor and shoot it deep. But both of us are relentless defensive teams that probably don't get enough credit for defense. Both squads really get after you and compete hard. Maybe not a perfect puzzle piece match up. Maybe a battle of who does what they do best, best."

Coale on ISU star Lyndsey Medders...
"I think she's their heart and soul. They revolve around her. And she's gutty, and confident and a terrific shooter, obviously. But she controls the game because when the ball's in her hand she's going to make something happen and it's in her hand a lot.

"She just has that competitive will about her. If the game is on the line she wants the ball, and you almost kind of create your luck sometimes when you think that way; that you make something good happen. Then you start to believe something good is going to happen. It's a crazy cycle. But she's their heart and soul."

More Oklahoma Coach/Player Pregame Quotes

ISU coach Bill Fennelly on Oklahoma
"They just have too many weapons. They're so talented offensively, and as we talked so much about (Jenna) Plumley. I'm a huge Leah Rush fan, and I think Ashley Paris has added to them. So they're a team that defensively you have to do the best you can. I think you have to hope they help you a little and miss. You have to hope that maybe you get someone in foul trouble or tired.

"We're going to have to outscore them. I really believe that. And that's just the way we're going to approach the game. We want it to be entertaining. We're going to try to play the game the right way. But we don't have the capability like a Texas A&M to get out and pressure the perimeter people and take them out of their offense a little bit. We don't have that ability. We'll have to be smart defensively, hope they miss a few, maybe change our defense a little bit.

"We have to be as efficient as we have been all year to have a chance to win. I really believe that. It's not the NBA playoffs. We don't have to play them 4 out of 7. We have to be better one time. That's what we gotta do. We talked this morning about all the teams that won conference championships that didn't win the conference tournament. There's a long list of those people. So that's what we're trying to do and we understand what we're up against, and that's the way it should be. It should be this kind of game at the end of the Big 12 season.

"So if the game's as we hope, I hope it's in the 70s and hopefully we'll get one more. We know we're playing an outstanding team. There is no way to prepare them. You just say go play as hard as you can, try and get them in the right position. Try to help them smartly. And just go out and do it."We're really excited to have the opportunity to play and hopefully we can give the fans a good show."

Fennelly on OU star Courtney Paris...
"I think that everyone knows how good she is. No one's found a way (to stop her). I mean, no one has found a way. She's the best player in the country.

"The challenge is are you willing to accept that challenge to go up and say I'm playing against the best college player in the United States, whatever I do well against her I'm going to tell my grandkids. I'm going to tell everybody this is what I did against Courtney Paris.

More Iowa State Coach/Player Pregame Quotes

Oklahoma Projected Starters :
G -- 11 --Jenna Plumley -- 5-4, Fr. -- 4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
G -- 34 --Erin Higgins -- 5-9, Sr. -- 4.8 ppg, 1.3 rbg
F -- 21 -- Amanda Thompson -- 6-1, Fr. -- 5.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg
F -- 24 --Leah Rush -- 6-1, Sr. -- 9.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
C -- 3 -- Courtney Paris -- 6-4, So. -- 23.0 ppg, 16.0 rpg, 3.6 bpg

More on the Sooners
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

Iowa State Projected Starters:
G -- 14 -- Lyndsey Medders -- 5-9, Sr. -- 13.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.3 apg
G -- 15 -- Allison Lacey --5-9 Fr. --7.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg
F -- 41 -- Toccara Ross -- 5-11, Jr. -- 10.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg
F --31 -- Megan Ronhovde -- 6-1, Sr. -- 7.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg
C-- 5 -- Nicky Wieben -- 6-4, So. -- 12.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.0 bpg

More on the Cyclones
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

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