If the Oklahoma women are to win a fourth straight Big 12 title, they will likely have to win two difficult home games over next four days over Top 20 teams. Three time defending champion Oklahoma faces a huge challenge this week as they host 11th-ranked Texas (12-5, 5-1 Big 12) tonight, for the first of two Red River Shootouts.
The Longhorns and Sooners will tip off at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center Wednesday. Texas lost to No. 3 Kansas State, 71-69, Saturday in Manhattan. Oklahoma is ranked 19th in the Associated Press and 18th USAToday/ESPN Coaches polls, while Texas enters the week ranked 11th in the AP poll and 13th in the Coaches' poll.
Texas is one of the hottest teams in Division I women's basketball.
The Longhorns have won five of their last six games and gave Head Coach Jody Conradt her 800th career victory against state rival and seventh-ranked Texas Tech, 69-58, in Austin on Jan. 22. UT enters Wednesday's game with an overall record of 12-5and Big 12 mark of 5-1. The Longhorns have a 2-2 record when playing teams ranked among the top 10 and top 25 in the nation. In their last 10 games,the Longhorns are 7-3.
Oklahoma will face another nationally-ranked opponent within the Big 12 conference. OU will host No. 3 Kansas State (18-1, 5-0 big 12) on Saturday, Feb. 1, in a Fox Sports Net televised game inside the Lloyd Noble Center at 2 p.m. It will be the only regular season meeting between the two teams.
Oklahoma, devasted by early season ending injuries to two starters and a top reserve, is depending on younger players to come together quickly under head coach Sherri Coale. Oklahoma swept the Big 12 women's basketball player of the week honors as Dionnah Jackson was named Player of the Week and Laura Andrews was named Rookie of the Week for the week of Jan. 20-26.
Jackson, a 5-9 sophomore guard, averaged 16.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.5 steals per game in Oklahoma's two Big 12 road victories last week. She also shot 43.3 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from the foul line. The St. Louis, Mo., native nailed the game-winning shot at Baylor, hitting her only three-pointer of the game with two seconds left to give OU the victory and its first lead of the contest. Jackson scored 18 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out four assists and had four steals. She also hit and attempted a career-best 8-of-17
shots (47.1%) against the Lady Bears.
At Kansas, Jackson tallied 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and matched a career-best five steals. Andrews, a 6-0 freshman guard/forward, averaged 12.0 points and 6.0 rebounds last week. At Baylor she produced her first collegiate
double-double with a career-best 21 points and 11 rebounds. Andrews also nailed a career-best five threes and shot 50 percent from the field (7-of-14) in the last-second win. For the week, the Washington, Okla., native shot 50 percent from the field (8-16) and three point range (6-12) and hit both attempted free throws.
Coach Coale is in her seventh season at the helm of the OU women's basketball program. The Healdton, Okla., native directed the Sooners to their first Final Four and national championship game appearance a year ago. Coale also has three Big 12 regular season titles under her belt and owns an overall record of 126-78.
Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt (Baylor, 1963) became only the seventh coach in college basketball history to win 800 games. She accomplished this milestone last week when UT upset No. 7 Texas Tech in Austin. The multi-Hall of Famer Conradt became just the second women's basketball coach in history to collect 800 career wins.
Four Longhorns are contributing 10 points or more per game, while three account for six plus rebounds a contest. Leading UT is junior center Stacy Stephens. Stephens tops the Longhorns with 14.1 ppg, followed by Heather Schrieber's 13.1, Jamie Carey's 10.4 and Kala Bowers' 10.1 ppg. Schreiber is the team leader in rebounds with 8.6, while Stephens is a close second with 8.2 rpg. Bowers hauls down 6.1 boards per game. As a team, UT averages an 74.5 points, while their opponents are only allowed to score 54.8 points per game. Texas is outrebounding its opponents, 42.4 to 33.8.
Oklahoma PPG RPG FG% FT% Misc.
14 C Beky Preston (6-3, Fr., Albuquerque, N.M.) 2.8 3.1
33 G/F Laura Andrews (6-0, Fr., Washington, Okla.) 4.1 3.8
35 G Dionnah Jackson (5-9, So., St. Louis, Mo.) 12.8 6.2
.430 .656 4.5 apg, 2.6 spg
0 G Chelsi Welch (5-9, Fr., Plainview, Texas) 10.3 3.7
.360 .764 1.6 apg
5 G Maria Villarroel (5-8, Jr.-TF, Margarita, Venezuela) 16.7
4.4 .633 .673 2.2 spg, 1.6 apg
Texas PPG RPG FG% FT% Misc.
04 F Kala Bowers (6-2, So., Woodward, Okla.) 10.1 6.1 .401
.688 1.9 spg, 1.4 apg
21 F Heather Schreiber (6-2, So., Windthorst, Texas) 13.1 8.6
41 C Stacy Stephens (6-1, Jr., Winnsboro, Texas) 14.1 8.2
.497 .710 1.8 spg, 1.1 bpg
12 G Tai Dillard (5-9, Sr., San Antonio, Texas) 7.6 4.4
.383 .750 2.5 apg, 1.7 spg
22 G Nina Norman (5-6, Fr., Houston, Texas) 5.9 1.9 .351
.789 2.9 apg