Preview: Big 12 Tourney Semifinals

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 08, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The second-seeded and 11th-ranked Oklahoma women’s basketball team (24-4) will continue play in the 2007 Phillips Big 12 Championship on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. when it squares off with third-seeded and 18th-ranked Baylor (25-6) at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

The game will be televised to a near-national audience by Fox Sports Net.  Kevin Eschenfelder and Debbie Antonelli will call the action while Brenda VanLangen will serve as the sideline reporter.

Fans can also find the game on KOKC 1520-AM and throughout the Sooner Sports Radio Network with the regular team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti.

Oklahoma has won six straight games and four straight in the postseason tournament.  OU has won five straight meetings with Baylor, including an 88-61 decision in Norman eight days ago.  The Sooners were paced by Courtney Paris’ 28 points and 18 rebounds in that game, but the career-high 24 points from Chelsi Welch probably clinched the win.  Freshman Amanda Thompson also contributed 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals.  Freshman Jenna Plumley had just three points, but dished out seven assists and was key in OU only committing 14 turnovers.

Big 12 Central

Oklahoma has won three Big 12 Postseason Championships (2002, 2004, 2006) and is looking for its first back-to-back titles.

The Sooners are 4-0 in the semifinal round of the championship.  If OU advances, it will have Friday off before playing in the Championship game on Saturday at 6 p.m.  OU will practice at the Cox Center from 3-5 p.m. on Friday.  The practice will be preceded by a press conference at 2:30.  All players will be available for interviews in either the locker room or press conference.

Setting The Scene
Date: Thursday, Feb. 29, 2007
Location: Norman, Okla.
Venue: Cox Convention Center
Tipoff: 8:30 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports Net (Cox channel 37 in OKC)
TV Talent: Kevin Eschenfelder & Debbie Antonelli
FSN Clearances
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio Network & Yahoo! Radio (subscription)
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Radio Broadcast Info
Tickets:  Cox Center Box Office &

Player To Watch
Jenna Plumley has taken a liking to the hoops at the Cox Convention Center. In two games at Cox this season, Plumley has hit 7-of-9 three-point attempts (.778).  She is averaging 12 points and 5.5 assists at the venue this season.  The rookie point guard has started five of the last six games and averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 assists during that span.  She has also knocked down 45 percent of her 3-point attempts in those six contests.

Recap - OU 67, Texas 57
Courtney Paris broke free from Texas’ defense to score 12 of her 17 points in the second half and lead No. 11 Oklahoma to a 67-58 win over the Longhorns in the Big 12 quarterfinals Wednesday night.

The All-America center also had 14 rebounds to notch her 61st career double-double, tying the Big 12 record set by Baylor’s Sophia Young last season. It was the 56th consecutive double-double for Paris.

After getting only four shots in the opening half, Paris took five in the first 2 1/2 minutes after halftime. She made three in that span, and later added a three-point play to make it 42-26 as Texas suffered through an extended shooting drought after halftime.

The seventh-seeded Longhorns (18-14) missed their first 13 second-half shots and didn’t make one until Earnesia Williams hit a jumper from the left wing with 12:39 to play. That cut the lead to 46-33 but didn’t get Texas out of its funk.

OU Eliminates Texas | Postgame Press Conference

Texas missed seven more shots and the second-seeded Sooners (24-4) piled on eight more points - including the final six from Ashley Paris, Courtney’s twin - to push the lead to 54-33 with 10:12 remaining.

Carla Cortijo’s 3-pointer from the right wing trimmed the deficit to 62-49 with 5:24 left, but the Longhorns didn’t make another shot for 3 1/2 minutes. Texas outscored Oklahoma 8-0 in the final 1:43 to reach the final margin.

Ashley Paris ended up with 16 points, Jenna Plumley added 13 and Leah Rush had 10 for Oklahoma, which will face either third-seeded Baylor or 11th-seeded Kansas in the semifinals.

Tiffany Jackson led Texas with 16 points, Cortijo scored 14 and Erneisha Bailey added 11.
The loss, which came one night after Texas coach Jody Conradt joined Tennessee’s Pat Summitt as the only Division I coaches with 900, puts the Longhorns’ NCAA tournament hopes in doubt.

Postgame Notes
Oklahoma was 6-of-10 from the 3-point line in the first half, making it the second straight game OU has hit six treys in the first half ...  Oklahoma held Texas scoreless from long range in the first half and Texas hit just 2-of-11 3-point baskets overall ... The Longhorns were just 1-7 from long range in Norman on Feb. 12 ... Oklahoma held Texas without a second-half field goal until Earnesia Williams hit a jumper at the 12:39 mark ... Oklahoma held Texas to a .250 shooting percentage (18-of-72), making it the seventh time this season OU has held its opponent below 30% ... The Sooners have held 23 of 28 opponents to under 40% shooting this season ... Amanda Thompson had five blocks, breaking her career record of two, which she had done twice, last vs. Kansas State (1-3-07) .... Courtney Paris ( 17 points ) and Ashley Paris ( 16 points) have scored in double figures in the same game on 17 occasions, including 10 times this season ... The 17 occasions account for every double figure game of Ashley’s career ... Ashley Paris scored a career high 16 points for the third time in her career ... The last time was at Kansas (2-21-07) ... She quickly shook off an 0-for-8 performance in the previous game against Baylor ...  In Oklahoma’s last game against Baylor she went 0-8 from the field ... Oklahoma had 15 blocks, breaking both the school record and the Big 12 Championship record for blocked shots in a single game ... The previous school record was 13 which was done against Texas Tech in 2006 and Southern in 1993 ... The previous Big 12 tourney record was 10 by Kansas in 2003 ... Chelsi Welch (1,149) moved to No. 18 on the OU career scoring list ... She passed Mandy Wade (1,148) Courtney Paris was presented with the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Year trophy in a special presentation prior to the game ... Courtney Paris (17 points and 18 rebounds) extended her consecutive double-double streak to 56 and now has 61 double-doubles in 64 career games ... C. Paris extended her career double-doubles to 61, tying Sophia Young for the Big 12 record ...  C. Paris, with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the second half, recorded a single half double-double for the 22nd time in her career (8 first half, 13 second half) ... It is the 12th time this season and ninth time against a Big 12 opponent ... Courtney Paris (1,451) broke into the OU career scoring top-10, tying Etta Maytubby (1,451). 

Big 12 Championship Media Guide

Paris & Another NCAA Record
It’s that time of year, when the regular season wraps up and Courtney Paris accumulates NCAA records.  With 989 career rebounds,  Paris is 11 rebounds shy of 1,000.  If she get anywhere near her season average of 16.1, she will have reach the mileston tonight in 65th game of her.  That would break the previous NCAA best set by Drake’s Wanda Ford in 71 games. 

Ford is the NCAA career rebound and career rebound average record holder.  Ford had 1,887 rebounds for the Bulldogs from 1983-86.  She averaged 16.1 rebounds per game during her four year career.

Paris & Another Double-Double Record
Coincidentally, OU and Baylor are playing Thursday night and Courtney Paris is primed to break a Big 12 record that Lady Bear Sophia Young set last season.  Paris is currently tied with Young for the Big 12 double-double record at 61.  Paris has 61 in 64 career games.  Young needed 139 games to accumulate 61.

Paris already owns the OU record for career doubles (61), the NCAA record for consecutive doubles (56) and the Big 12 record for single season double-doubles (33 in 2005-06).

Sooners At Home at Cox Center
Oklahoma played at the Cox Center on Dec. 30 to get comfortable with the arena before the Big 12 Championship.  Consider that goal accomplished.  Through two games at the arena this season, OU is shooting 48 percent (12-25) from 3-point range and 51.7 percent  (58-112) from the field.  Freshman Jenna Plumley, who was a high school legend at the famous Big House, is enjoying the old Myriad rims more than anyone.  Plumley is 7-9 from 3-point range at Cox this season.  Long range bomber Erin Higgins is 3-8 from beyond the arc.

The opposite has been true of OU’s two opponents who have shot a combined 25 percent (35-137).  New Mexico was 17-65 and Texas was 18-72.

Another Attendance of 10,000
OU, which set numerous attendance records at the Lloyd Noble Center this season, has played six consecutive games in front of 10,000-plus Sooner partisan fans.  The first five games were to close the regular season at LNC.  The sixth was at the Cox Center on Wednesday night in front of 10,210.

Pregame LayUps
Oklahoma made a climb into the top-10 in the official NCAA RPI report that was released on Tuesday.  OU was 13th in last week’s report but jumped to No. 9 on Tuesday. Below are OU’s RPI ranking by the NCAA, College Basketball News, Jeff Sagarin and

NCAA - 9
CBN - 9 (28)
Sagarin - 12 (22)
CollegeRPI - 11 (23)

OU has won 33 of 39 games away from Norman over the last two seasons.  The Sooners are 21-4 at home during the same time span.

OU is 47-61 (20-22 at home) all-time against ranked opponents.  This season OU is 5-3 against ranked teams with wins over UCLA, Baylor (twice), DePaul and New Mexico.

OU is 42-33 (18-11 at home) when it is ranked and facing a ranked team.

OU’s last three wins against Baylor have come by double figures.  That is a first since the first three wins by OU in the series.

  Watch Highlights OU 88-61 win over Baylor

In the last meeting, just eight days ago, Baylor made six first half 3-pointers and none in the second half.  In the previous four meetings, Baylor made 8-of-59 (14 percent) 3-point attempts.

OU has made 15-of-34 three point attempts (44 percent) in the last two games, including 12-of-20 (60 percent) in the first half of the those two games.

OU’s 27-point win over Baylor in the regular season finale was its second largest win over a ranked opponent in program’s history.  The largest was a 34-point win over DePaul in the season opener.  It was also the second worst loss of Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey’s career.  It was Mulkey’s largest margin of defeat in conference play.

OU has held Baylor point guard Angela Tisdale to nine points in the two meetings this season. Tisdale is averaging 11 points per game this season.  She is also the Lady Bears leading 3-point shooter but has failed to can a trey against OU this season.

Jenna Plumley is third in the Big 12 statistical rankings in 3-point percentage at 39.7 (27-98).  She had to climb out of hole to get on that list because of the requirement of making one in every individual game played.

Amanda Thompson set a career high with 5 blocks versus Texas when OU set a program record with 15 swats. Ashley Paris also tied a career best with three.  Courtney Paris had five as well, but her career high is 10 set in a triple-double effort in the season finale at Texas Tech last season.

Kodak Finalist
Courtney Paris was named to the WBCA Region 5 Team on Thursday afternoon.  The honor makes her eligible for the Kodak/WBCA All-America Team.  Paris was a Kodak All-American last season as freshman when she averaged 21.9 points and 15.0 rebounds. Baylor Bernice Mosby is also up for the award.

The Streaky Baylor Series
The Oklahoma-Baylor series has gone in streaks both ways.  OU won four straight to start the series from 1980-1992.  Baylor answered with a four game streak from 1997-98.  OU then reeled off 11 straight wins before Baylor responded with another four straight wins.  Currently, OU has won five straight - all in the last two seasons - against the Lady Bears.

Countdown to 1,500 & 1, 000
Courtney Paris is quickly approaching 1,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.  She is 48 points shy of 1,500 and 11 rebounds shy of 1,000.  Based on her career scoring average of 22.7, it should take Paris just over two games to reach 1,500 points.  Her career rebound average is 15.5, which puts her one game away from reaching 1,000.  Molly McGuire (2,147 points, 1,071 rebounds) and Caton Hill (1,653 points, 1,052 rebounds) are the only players in OU history with at least 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds.  Only five players - Sophia Young, Stacy Stephens, Angie Welle, Kendra Wecker and Hill - have eclipsed 1,000 career points and rebounds during the Big 12 era.



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