NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 3 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (4-0) will put its 18-game regular season winning streak on the line when it heads to Lamar on Wednesday. The Sooners and Lady Cardinals will tip-off from the Montagne Center in Beaumont, Texas at 7 p.m. Central.
OU fans can follow the action with Brian Brinkley (play-by-play) and Tara DeGiusti on KOKC (1520 AM) or on the internet, subscription based Yahoo! Radio service. Live stats will also be provided on www.lamarcardinals.com.
The Sooners are having no problems scoring with four players - Courtney Paris (22.3), Chelsi Welch (14.5), Ashley Paris (11.5), Leah Rush (10.5) - averaging double figure points and Amanda Thompson (9.8) two-tenths away. OU is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3-point range after four games. They are also averaging just over 20 assists per game, led by senior point guard Britney Brown, who has averaged six assists over the last three games.
In addition to their 18-game regular season wining streak, the Sooners will put a 10-game regular season, road winning streak on the line.
Lamar is off to a 2-3 start after going 7-20 in 2005-06. The Lady Cardinals defeated LSU-Shreveport 59-53 last Saturday. That victory was preceded by consecutive road losses at Denver and Northern Colorado. Lamar is starting three freshman, including leading scorer (16.0) and leading rebounder (9.0) Brittney Williams.
After the trip to Lamar, the Sooners will continue their six-game road trip at Tulsa on Saturday. The Sooners and Golden Hurricane will compete in the Bertha Teague Classic at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Oral Roberts and Oklahoma State will meet in the Classic opener at 1 p.m. at the Reynolds Center on the Tulsa campus.
Setting The Scene
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006
Location: Beaumont, Texas
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Central
Venue: Montagne Center (10,080)
Live Stats: www.lamarcardinals.com
Radio: KOKC (1520 AM) and Yahoo! Radio
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley (Play-by-Play) & Tara DeGiusti
Tickets: (409) 880-1715
Player To Watch
Senior Leah Rush turned in a warrior like effort in Oklahoma’s 77-68 win at No. 21/19 UCLA last Tuesday. The 6-1 forward played all 40 minutes and scored 15 points, including a 3-3 effort from 3-point range. But it was the little things that turned the tide on the road for the Sooners. Rush had six boards, a season-high three assists and drew two momentum changing charges in the contest.
The Lamar Lady Cardinals are 2-3 on the young season with wins over Alcorn state and LSU-Shreveport. The Lady Cardinals have lost to New Mexico State, Denver and Northern Colorado by an average of 33 points.
Lamar, which went 7-20 last season, was picked to finish third in the coaches and SIDs preseason Southland Conference Polls. The Lady Cardinals are led by head coach Leonard Drake who has a 28-83 record in four-plus seasons at Lamar.
Lamar’s leading scorer is freshman forward Brittney Wilkins, who is averaging 16 points and nine rebounds. The Lady Cardinals’ second leading scorer LaToya Carson (11.0 PPG) has not played since the first two games of the year.
Three freshman are currently starting for Lamar, Jocelyn Ingram , Vickie Toney and Wilkins. The Lady Cardinals 16-man roster has four players standing six feet or higher.
Lamar is averaging 54.2 points, 39 rebounds, 23 turnovers, 11.4 assists, 7.8 steals and 2.6 blocks per game. They are shooting .329 from the field, .246 from 3-point range and .673 from the free throw line.
OU leads the all-time series between the schools 1-0 thanks to a 60-42 win during the 2004-05 season. Former Sooner legend and head coach Billy Tubbs is the current Athletics Director at Lamar.
OU has not allowed a team to shoot over 40 percent from the field this season. The top mark was turned in by UCLA, which shot .387 on Nov. 21.
OU is averaging 87.5 points and 20.3 assists per game in the early going. Both numbers are up from last season when OU averaged 76.3 points and 16.8 assists.
OU enters the contest with Lamar having won 18 straight regular season games and 10 straight games away from Norman.
Leah Rush has 19 rebounds this season, 11 of those, or 58 percent, have come on the offensive glass. Last season 38 (71-of-189) of her boards came on the offensive glass.
OU will play seven of its 11 non-conference games away from Norman and the Lloyd Noble Center this season. It is nothing new for Sherri Coale’s program, which has played 63 (54-86) percent of its preconference game outside the Lloyd Noble Center since 1999-00. OU has won 74 (40-14) percent of its pre-conference road games during that time.
On The Verge
OU has made a 3-pointer in 99 straight games.
Courtney Paris is two rebounds shy of 600 in her career. She is also six steals shy of 50, nine offensive rebounds shy of 200, 23 points shy of 900 and 29 assists shy of 100. Based on her current pace, Paris would be the fastest to reach 900 points and 600 rebounds in OU history.
Chelsi Welch is 57 points shy of the 1,000 point club.
Welch (341) is three 3-point field goal attempts shy of passing Laura Andrews on the career list (343) and six shy of passing Melissa Richie (345). Andrews and Richie are currently eighth and seventh, respectively, on that list.
Leah Rush is two points shy of surpassing Mandy Wade on the OU career scoring list. Rush has 1,147 points, while Wade had 1,148 from 1992-95. Wade ranks No. 16 on the career list.
OU is No. 2 in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.08. Senior guard Britney Brown is second among Big 12 players iwth a 1.91 ratio, while freshman forward Amanda Thompson is third at 1.71.
Last season OU was eighth in the Big 12 with a ratio of 0.89.
Four in Double Figures, One on the Verge
Currently, four OU players are averaging double figures in points. Courtney Paris (22.3), Chelsi Welch (14.5), Ashley Paris (11.5) and Leah Rush (10.5) are in the double figure club. Freshman Amanda Thompson is two-tenths away at 9.8 points per game.
OU is yet to allow a team to shoot over 40 percent from the field and is holding opponents to a combined shooting percentage of .356. The highest shooting percentage posted against the Sooners this season was .368 by Eastern Kentucky.
Last season 12 of 36 opponents shot over 40 percent, while OU held all opponents to a combined percentage of 37 percent.
The Double-Double Record
Courtney Paris broke the OU career record for double-doubles with the 34th of her career against DePaul in the season opener. Paris surpassed Caton Hill (2000-04), who had 33. It took Paris 37 games to reach 34, while it took Hill 120 games to collect her 33 double-doubles. Currently she has 37 double-doubles in 40 career games.
The Double-Double Streak
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in 32 straight games. The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.
The Half Double-Double
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in a single half on 11 occasions (4 first half, 7 second half). She has achieved the mark on one occasion this season, when she had 16 points and 10 boards in the second half against UCLA.
Last year her four first half double-dips came against BYU, Texas (second meeting), UCLA and SMU. Her second half double-doubles were against New Mexico (twice), Illinois, Michigan State, Texas (first meeting) and Baylor (second meeting).
As usual, Paris shines in the brightest spotlight with six of these double-doubles coming against ranked teams.
The Experience Factor
A couple notes on the level of experience OU has on its roster.
Between eight players, including six seniors, OU has 366 career starts. Sophomore Carolyn Winchester is the only non-freshman that has never started a game for OU.
Britney Brown had a streak of 25 consecutive starts snapped on opening night. She returned to the starting lineup against Hawaii (N18) and has started the last two games.
Since earning her first start at Texas A&M during her freshman season Leah Rush has started 90 straight games.
It’s A Twin Thing
Ashley and Courtney Paris have an innate ability for finding each other on the court. The two posts are proficient at dishing the ball off to each other at angles and times unnoticed by most players. So far this season they have connected on sister-to-sister assists nine times. Seven of those have been Courtney to Ashley. The assists account for 64 (7-11) percent of Courtney’s total and 33 percent of Ashley’s total (2-6).
Paris went 10-for-14 from the field and the Sooners (4-0) used 9-for-16 3-point shooting to win their 18th-straight regular season game and beat their second ranked team of the season.
Rush was 3-for-3 from behind the arc and Chelsi Welch went 3-for-5. Welch had 13 points.
Noelle Quinn led UCLA (2-2) with 22 points and seven assists. The Bruins two losses have both come to top 5 teams. They lost to No. 5 Tennessee last Thursday.
After sitting on the bench with two fouls for more than seven minutes in the first half, Paris took over in the second, leading the Sooners on a 26-12 run to open the half.
She scored the Sooners first four points of the half and later used a rebound and free throw to give them their biggest lead 62-41 with 10:07 to play.
UCLA pulled within seven 73-66 after a three-point play from Quinn with 1:47 to play, but a rebound and layup from Rush put the Sooners up nine, and a free throw from Britney Brown put the lead back in double digits.
Oklahoma shot 50.9 percent from the field to UCLA’s 38.7 percent.
With Paris on the bench, the Sooners moved their game to the perimeter in the first half and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range.
After six early lead changes, Oklahoma used an 11-2 run capped by a 3-pointer from Rush to take a 34-25 lead with 3:27 to play in the half.
With Courtney Paris in foul trouble most of the game, the Sooners went outside with success making a season high nine 3-pointers on 16 attempts. Every foul committed by the Sooners was called on a starter. OU had 19 fouls, including five on Britney Brown and four apiece on Courtney Paris, Leah Rush and Chelsi Welch.
Freshman Nyeshia Stevenson subbed in with 7:34 to play in the first half. She was the only player on the court who hadn’t seen any time in the game. During her four-plus minutes on the court (she subbed out at 2:33) the Sooners outscored UCLA 18-5 and extended their first half lead to 34-25.
Chelsi Welch continued her strong offensive play to start the season. The senior guard had 10 first half points and finished with 13. She has scored in double figures in three of four games this season.
Courtney Paris had season highs in points (24) and rebounds (17). She also had 24 points against Eastern Kentucky.
C. Paris has been hampered with two fouls in the first half of every game this season.
Erin Higgins snapped out of a mini-slump from 3-point range. She entered the game 2-15 on the season and was 3-6 against the Bruins.