No. 3 Oklahoma 89, Wichita State 68

Friday, November 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Stacey Dales didn't let a pinky injury stop her from doing what she does best.

Dales missed six minutes in the second half because of the injury but still managed to hand out 10 assists as the third-ranked Sooners beat Wichita State 89-68 Thursday night.

``It's not a big deal at all,'' said Dales, who earlier this week became the Oklahoma and Big 12 career assists leader. ``It's OK, just a little disjointed.''

Dales' passing skill impressed Wichita State coach Daryl Smith.

``I've seen her play a lot and if you look at the type of players we are able to recruit and bring to our program, we have to teach kids to pass like that,'' Smith said.

Dales only scored four points in the first half, but LaNeishea Caufield picked up the slack as the Sooners (7-0) jumped ahead of the Shockers early.

Caufield scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the first half.

Oklahoma hit its first 10 shots while building a 15-point lead just over seven minutes into the contest. Consecutive 3-pointers by Rosalind Ross and Caton Hill put the Sooners on top 24-9 at the 12:43 mark.

The Sooners did not miss a field goal attempt until the 11:28 mark and took a 40-31 halftime lead.

Carlesa Dixon kept Wichita State (1-2) within striking distance by scoring 10 of her 21 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Wichita State cut the lead to 43-33 early in the second half, but got no closer as the Sooners took advantage of numerous trips to the foul line, connecting on 26 of 38.

``I was really pleased with the way we came out of the locker room,'' Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ``We had a lot of energy. We had a lot of poise. Our execution was excellent.

``The only thing about the game that really concerns me is that we got pushed around on the board.''

Angela Buckner had 13 points and a career-best 18 rebounds _ including 15 in the first half _ for the Shockers.

Oklahoma owned a 40-39 edge on the boards. Hill, Caufield and Ross combined for 25 rebounds.

``I like it, when it's physical like that, it makes you concentrate that much harder on the things you're trying to accomplish,'' Caufield said. ``I think we did a good job with that tonight.''