Otahks Travel To Sooner Country to Take On Oklahoma
Cape Girardeau, Mo. (December 27, 2002) - The Southeast Missouri State Otahkian Basketball team will be in action this weekend as they travel to Norman, Okla. to take on the defending national runner up Oklahoma Sooners at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Lloyd Noble Center.
Southeast is coming off a third-place finish at the Coca-Cola/Billiken Classic, hosted by Saint Louis University. They lost in the opener to Indiana State University by the score of 82-71. A lack of free-throws in the game killed the Otahks.
They rebounded, however, to take the finale against the Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb, 98-63, the highest point total so far this season, and just eight off the school record. They were led by forward Carina Souza who had 26 points in the game. She was 12-19 from the field and had seven rebounds. Senior guard LaShelle Porter had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman guard Tiffanne Ryan had 14 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Lori Chase finished off the 98-point effort with a 17 point, six rebound performance.
The Otahks are 6-3 on the year and are being led in the early season by Chase's 14.0 points per game. She is averaging a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game and is shooting 84 percent from the free-throw line this season.
Souza is second in scoring with a 12.9 average and is second on the team in rebounds with a 5.2 per game average. Junior guard Kenja White is averaging 12.3 points per game, and Yashika Sidbury is averaging 12.1 per contest. Souza is the team leader in minutes as she is averaging 30.9 minutes per game.
Oklahoma is 8-3 overall and ranked 19th and 20th, respectively in the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches Polls.
They have had wins over the likes of then number 12 North Carolina, Tulsa, Oral Roberts, Steven F. Austin, Wichita State, and TCU, but have lost recently to unranked Southern Methodist, and earlier to No. 2 Tennessee and No. 5 UCONN.
They are led by former Northeastern Okla. A&M star Maria Villarroel. Coach Smith was Villarroel's coach at NEO. She is averaging 17.7 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per contest. Villarroel is shooting an eye-popping 66 percent from the field, but has only been able to average just over 60 percent from the free-throw line. She has started in every game for the Sooners.
Dionnah Jackson is averaging 12.3 points per game from the other guard position. She averages 5.8 rebounds per game and shoots 49 percent from the field. She is shooting 60 percent from behind the three-point line and leads the team with 24 steals on the season, as well as 54 assists.
Theresa Schuknecht is third on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game and she is averaging 7.6 rebounds per contest.
Oklahoma, as a team, is averaging 71 points per game while giving up 63.7. They out-rebound their opponents by a margin of 4.4 and are averaging 41 rebounds per game. They are shooting 43 percent from the field and just over 30 percent from behind the arc, and are shooting 70 percent from the line.
The Sooners are playing hurt as two of their top players, including All-American Caton Hill, suffered season-ending ACL tears on the same day. Freshman Erin Higgins, a high-school teammate of Otahkian Tiffanne Ryan, tore her ACL at the team's shootaround before the Sam Houston State game on November 26. It was the second time in a year that she had torn an ACL as she injured her other knee during her senior year at Westmoore.
Hill, however, on the second play of the Sam Houston game, dove for a steal, and went down in pain. She was diagnosed with an ACL tear at halftime.
After this game, Oklahoma travels to Stanford on January 3 and then opens up Big 12 play at Nebraska on the 11th.
Southeast will open up Ohio Valley Conference play next week as they play host to the Panthers of Eastern Illinois on January 4. Game time is slated for 5:30 p.m.