Sweet 16 Preview: Oklahoma vs. Mississippi

The Sooners (28-4) and Rebels (23-10) will tip-off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Dayton, Ohio. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2. See inside for Sunday's pregame notes, including quotes from OU head coach Sherri Coale on the matchup with the Rebels. (AP Photo)

The Teams
#9 Oklahoma (28-4) vs. Mississippi (23-10) -- 1:30 p.m. -- Dayton Arena (16,755) -- Dayton, Ohio

Monday's game will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Debbie Antonelli (analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline) will call the action. The game can also be heard on the radio on KOKC 1520 AM.

Radio Broadcast Info | Live Stats

The Matchup
Oklahoma will bring their 10-game winning streak into Sunday's matchup against Mississippi, who proved they're no joke after knocking off second-seeded and defending national champion Maryland, 89-78, in the second roundto advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1992. Oklahoma, on the other hand, is making their second-straight Sweet 16 appearance.

The Rebels, whose pressure defense will pose an interesting challenge for a turnover-prone Oklahoma backcourt, are led by WBCA/Kodak All-American finalist Armintie Price. The speedy 5-foot-9 senior guard almost averages a double-double — 18.5 points and 8.9 rebounds — leads the nation in steals (3.7) and leads the team in assists (4.8). Price is second on the Ole Miss all-time rebounding charts and with four steals would join former great Cheryl Miller as the only two players in NCAA history with over 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 400 assists and 400 steals.

Mississippi went 9-5 in the SEC, including a big home win over LSU. They rank sixth in the nation in scoring (77.8), third in steals (13.7) and their pressure defneses forces an impressive 24.7 turnovers a game. Ole Miss also beat South Carolina, 76-57, at home, while the Sooners beat the Gamecocks 78-51 on the road.

The winner of Sunday's OU-Ole Miss game will play the Tennessee-Marist winner in the Elite Eight on Tuesday in Dayton at either 6 or 8 p.m. (CST)

The all-time series between the Sooners and Rebels is tied at 1-1. Oklahoma is also just 1-4 in Sweet 16 games and 11-13 all-time against SEC foes.

OU Game Notes | Mississippi Game Notes

Coale on Mississippi...
"They are so fast. I think the key is taking care of the basketball. We say that every time that you have to value the basketball, but even moreso against them because their offensive firepower comes from their defense creating turnovers in the open floor.

"For anybody that watched their game against Maryland, Maryland had 19-20 turnovers at halftime. It was crazy the number of layups that Ole Miss got from Maryland turning the ball over in the middle of the floor. It's better to throw it to the fans than to throw it to something like that, because every turnover Ole Miss was converting into an immediate basket.

"So we have to take care of the basketball. We have to be patient and work the ball to our bigs on the inside. I think we have an advantage there. But the thing that makes Ole Miss tough is you have to be good enough and strong enough to get past that front layer of pressure to be able to take advantage of your bigs in the block. We don't want to get in a track meet with them. I know that much. But in a halfcourt game, I like our chances."

Coale on facing Mississippi's pressure defense...
"Jenna (Plumley) and Amanda (Thompson) are much more seasoned and more poised. I think we'll handle it much better.

"It's hard to see much more intensity and heat than what we saw from Texas in the Big 12 Tournament. They're a very athletic team in their own right, who really competed for 40 minutes at the Cox Center. So we've seen it in the face of them. And SEMO (Southeast Missouri) was very athletic too. They were very athletic and we were very conservative with the basketball in that game — only 10 turnovers.

"So I feel good about it. My SID (Sports Information Director) sent me a text after the game (Mississippi-Maryland) and said, 'What do you think?' And I said, "I think I'm glad I had to play Texas A&M twice and Texas three times, because I think it prepares us for just about anything we'll see.' Those two opponents have adequately prepared us for Ole Miss as much as we can possibly hope."

On Mississippi star guard Armentie Price...
"It would be great to get her in foul trouble real fast. That's probably the best way to contain her. She is a phenomenal athlete with unbelievable leaping ability. She is extremely quick and really likes to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. She has a lot of speed and athleticism around her. It's not just a one-man show. But I think you have to corral her."

ESPN.com's Beth Mowins on Ole Miss...
"The Rebels were a pleasant surprise in the SEC with a fifth-place finish and a 20-win season. Coach Carol Ross and her team survived five overtime games with a 3-2 record in those nail-biters. Despite having just a .500 record in its last 10 games, Ole Miss will be a handful in the NCAA Tournament.

"Armintie Price is having an All-American season. She's one of just three players in the nation to lead her team in scoring (18.1 ppg), rebounding (9.1 rpg), assists (4.8 apg) and steals (3.8 spg). The SEC defensive player of the year possesses tremendous anticipation and leaping ability.

"Joining Price on the perimeter are senior guard Ashley Awkward (12.2 ppg) and freshman Alliesha Easley (11.0 ppg). Easley is the best 3-point shooter on the team -- at just 29 percent accuracy (23-for-79) from beyond the arc. The team does not shoot the 3-ball well and also is the poorest free-throw shooting squad in the SEC (61 percent).

"Veterans Jada Mincy, Danetra Forrest and Shawn Goff help make up the frontline. They combine to chip in 18 points and 13 rebounds per game. They also help make Ole Miss the top offensive rebounding team (19 offensive boards per game) in the conference.

"Ole Miss likes to play pressure defense and boasts a plus-8 turnover margin. The Rebels force opponents into 24 giveaways per game on a league-leading 13 steals. They led the SEC this year in scoring at 77 points per game."

Oklahoma Projected Starters :
G -- 11 --Jenna Plumley -- 5-4, Fr. -- 5.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg
G -- 34 --Erin Higgins -- 5-9, Sr. -- 4.6 ppg, 1.3 rbg
F -- 21 -- Amanda Thompson -- 6-1, Fr. -- 5.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg
F -- 24 --Leah Rush -- 6-1, Sr. -- 9.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg
C -- 3 -- Courtney Paris -- 6-4, So. -- 23.3 ppg, 15.8 rpg, 3.2 bpg

More on the Sooners
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

Mississippi Projected Starters:
G -- 3 -- Ashley Awkward -- 5-6, Sr. -- 12.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
G -- 32 -- Alliesha Easley --5-8 Fr. -- 11.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg
F -- 24 -- Armintie Price -- 5-9, Sr. -- 18.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg
F --40 -- Danetra Forrest -- 6-1, Jr. -- 6.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
C-- 34 -- Jada Mincy -- 6-1, Sr. -- 4.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg

More on the Rebels
Schedule/Results | Roster | Stats

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