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September 26th, 2008 8AM
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With four teams in the Soccer America Women's Top 25 -- No. 7 Texas, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 16 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Kansas -- and two teams on the edge -- Colorado and Missouri -- the Big 12 is one of the strongest women's conferences in the country. Big 12 teams have winning records against teams from such powerful conferences as the ACC (2-1-0), Big East (3-1-0), SEC (5-4-1) and WCC (3-0-0). Conference play begins in earnest Friday with Texas hosting Texas A&M before what could be a record Longhorn crowd.

OKLAHOMA STATE (8-0-0). One of four remaining unbeaten and untied DI1 women's teams. Coach Colin Carmichael is cautiously optimistic, saying the Cowgirls still don't know how good they are. "Without question, it's the most talented team we've had here," he said. "But once we start playing on Friday and Sunday in the Big 12, our depth and our defense will be tested a little bit more."

TEXAS (7-0-1). The Longhorns are off to their best start in program history. They are one of the most experienced teams in the country with Dianna Pfenninger in goal, All-American defenders Kasey Moore and Courtney Gaines and midfielder Courtney Gaines, all seniors.

TEXAS A&M (7-1-0). The Aggies' only loss was to North Carolina four weeks ago. Since then, they're 5-0-0. Sophomore Kelly Dyer has been outstanding in goal for injured Kristin Arnold, one of A&M's three U.S. U-20s.

COLORADO (7-1-0). The Buffaloes have won seven in a row after opening with a 1-0 loss to Denver. Junior Nikki Marshall, who plays defense on the U.S. under-20 women's national team, is one goal away from tying the school's all-time goal scoring record held up Katie Griffin (31 goals).

KANSAS (6-2-0). KU is just three goals away from matching its offensive output (23) for all of 2007. Freshman Emily Cressy leads the Jayhawks with five goals.

MISSOURI (5-2-0). The Tigers take a five-game winning streak into their Big 12 opener. Scoring has been a collective effort. The Tigers' 12 goals this season have come from 10 different players

TEXAS TECH (5-2-1). Through eight matches, the Red Raiders have netted 25 goals, which is already higher than their 2007 total of 22. With her Big 12-leading fourth shutout of the season against Oral Roberts, goalkeeper Tina Rincon became the new Tech all-time leader in career shutouts (12).

NEBRASKA (4-4-1). After starting the season with four consecutive losses, the Cornhuskers enter conference play undefeated in their last five matches. Junior Shay Powell leads the team with five goals.

BAYLOR (4-4-0). Except in a 10-1 win over Prairie View A&M, scoring has been a problem for Baylor. All four Bears' losses were by shutout.

IOWA STATE (4-4-0). First-year coach Wendy Dillinger arrived from Division III Washington University (Mo.), where she won or shared four conference titles in six years. Sophomore Jordan Bishop's five assists put her tied for second in assists in the Big 12.

OKLAHOMA (1-7-0). The Sooners are under the guidance of first-year head coach Nicole Nelson, whose only victory was a 2-1 win over Ball State.

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