No. 3 Oklahoma 91, SMU 70

Thursday, December 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ LaNeishea Caufield felt like she couldn't miss in the second half, so her teammates made sure she kept shooting.

Caufield and teammate Stacey Dales each scored a season-high 26 points to lead No. 3 Oklahoma to a 91-70 victory over SMU on Wednesday night.

``We feel like anyone we put on the floor can score and is going to score,'' said Caufield, one of four Sooners in double figures. ``If someone gets hot, we want to continue getting that person the ball and feeding her.

``I got into a flow in the second half and I just went with it.''

Caufield scored 20 second-half points, including 12 straight in a four-minute stretch. Her two free throws with 5:36 left began a 19-5 run that ended the game.

The Sooners (8-0) are off to their best start since the 1984-85 team was 10-0.

Kenni Patton led SMU with 14 points.

SMU (3-4) trailed 49-46 early in the second half after Tyesha Glover hit a jumper in the lane. Caton Hill hit a 3-pointer on Oklahoma's next possession to start a 10-2 run, capped by steal Dales' steal at midcourt. She hit Jamie Talbert with a wraparound pass for a layup.

Dales was only 6-of-12 from the foul line, but made 10-of-15 from the field. She also led a pressure defense that forced 21 turnovers and held SMU without a 3-pointer in the second half.

SMU twice cut the lead to five with less than nine minutes left, but the Mustangs had trouble with the various defenses Oklahoma used in the half court.

``Pressure defense is something that's been a part of our program for a while,'' Dales said. ``I thought we were much better in the second half than we were in the first half. In the first half, they were getting a lot of shots from their posts and hitting from outside.

``We put a lot of pressure on them in the second half and were much more successful.''

In the first half, SMU shot 60 percent and hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range to keep the Sooners in check. Oklahoma shot 63 percent in the first 20 minutes.

``We were lucky to win by this much,'' Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ``They hurt us inside with their size early, but I felt like if we were able to continue penetrating and playing pressure defense we would be OK.''