NORMAN The University of Oklahoma women's basketball program has slowly burst onto the national scene.
The Sooner women cracked the Top 20 rankings for the first time last season and achieved their highest ranking ever earlier this week when they were listed 11th in the NCAA poll.
"Being ranked high nationally has been a goal of mine ever since I've been here," said OU coach Maura McHugh. "We're finally showing some progress. We're getting respect all across the nation, but we've worked hard to get here."
McHugh, though, said there are two major goals the 12-1 Sooners haven't attained yet a Big Eight championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.
"I think we've got a good shot to do both. We knew we'd have a real good team this year and we've played pretty well. But we know the Big Eight Conference will be very tough. We're supposed to win it, but that doesn't mean anything. We've got to go out and do it."
OU returned all five starters off last year's 23-7 squad which finished as the Big Eight runner-up in both the regular season and post-season tournament.
The Sooners were the fifth highest scoring team in the nation last year, averaging 84.5 points. With four players averaging 12.8 or better they're among the top 10 once again this year, scoring 80.6.
Lisa Allison, a 6-3 junior from Carthage, Mo., leads the team (14.3) followed by 6-0 Lawton junior LaTrenda Phillips (13.7). Vickie Green, a 5-9 Dallas senior, is scoring 13.1. Senior Jacquetta Hurley, a 6-1 Fox product, chips in 12.8.
The Sooners may have all five starters in double figures before the season is over. Viki Streets, a 5-6 Bartlesville senior, is averaging 9.5.
"Our guards (Streets and Green) are the quickest backcourt you will see," McHugh said. "They both have great offensive moves and are great shooters."
Phillips has come into her own.
"She's really come on and she has so much athletic ability," McHugh said. "She and Lisa really give us a good inside game. We're real balanced."
Terry Willis, a 6-1 junior from Lawton, is the top reserve (7.2).
Jo Mosley, a 6-0 freshman from Oklahoma City (Star-Spencer); Erika Notzke, 6-2 Lawton freshman, and Julie Callan, 6-0 sophomore from Lombard, Ill., are the top inside reserves. Tami Rogers, 5-9 freshman from Mont Belvieu, Texas, sees a lot of action at guard.