Oklahoma basketball: Top-seeded Lady Sooners seeking championship sweep in final Big 12 Tournament


The Big 12 Women's Tournament begins Thursday at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, with the Oklahoma Lady Sooners heading the field as the No. 1 seed.

The Sooners (21-8, 15-3) are seeking a championship sweep, having won this year's regular-season conference crown. It was Oklahoma's seventh regular-season Big 12 championship, made even more special by this being OU's final season before leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

Texas, the No. 2 seed in this year's Big 12 Women's Tournament, is also leaving for the SEC after this season. An OU-Texas championship final is probably the last thing the Big 12 would like to see. Oklahoma has won the postseason tournament four times in the 28-year history of the Big 12, but has won both the regular-season and tournament championship in the same season just three times.

The first round of the conference tournament tips off on Thursday evening with No. 12 seed Texas Tech and No. 13 Houston followed by No. 11 Cincinnati facing No. 14 UCF. Oklahoma does not start play until the quarterfinals on Saturday. The Sooners will take on the winner of the second-round matchup between No. 8 Oklahoma State and No. 9 TCU. During the regular season, Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State twice (91-56 at home and 81-74 in Stillwater) and TCU at home (72-55).

The Sooners' three conference losses were all on the road: 74-57 at Kansas State, 70-66 at West Virginia and 83-74 at Kansas to end the regular season.

Things to know about Oklahoma heading into the Big 12 Women's Tournament

Oklahoma ranks second in the conference in scoring, averaging 75.5 points against Big 12 opponents. Senior Skylar Vann leads the Sooners, averaging 15.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Louisville transfer Payton Verhulst averages 12.7 and the three other starters all average at least 7.0 points per game.

The Lady Sooners lead the Big 12 in rebounding (42.0 per game) and are second in offensive rebounds (13.2 per game). They also rank No. 1 in the conference in turnover-to-assist ratio (1.4) as well as assists (21.0 per game).

Earlier this week, head coach Jennie Baranczyk was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, Skylar Vann Co-Big 12 Player of the Year and Payton Verhulst Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Both Vann and Verhulst were also First-Team All-Big 12 selections.

Oklahoma ranks 19th in the latest Associated Press Top 25 for women's basketball. The Big 12 regular-season champions, however, rank lower than three other Big 12 teams. Texas ranks 6th, Kansas State is 16th and Baylor ranks No. 17 this week.

Predicting Oklahoma's bracket path in the Big 12 Women's Tourney

Quarterfinal round: No. 1 Oklahoma 75, No. 8 Oklahoma State TCU 68

Semifinal round: No. 1 Oklahoma 74, No. 5 Baylor 71

Championship round: No. 1 Oklahoma 80, No. 2 Texas 75