OU Locks Down Title, Rainbow Wahine

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 18, 2006

HONOLULU (AP) -- No. 3 Oklahoma found other players to step up Saturday when their All-American center got into early foul trouble.

Senior Chelsi Welch scored 14 first half points when the Sooners were struggling early and freshmen forward Amanda Thompson added a career-high 11 to help Oklahoma beat Hawaii 76-56 to win the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic.

Courtney Paris, who was named tournament MVP, scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to earn her 31st straight double-double despite sitting most of the first half with foul trouble.

"That's one of the coolest things about our team," Paris said. "It's going to take eight of us to be off our game for us to really have a bad game."

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Ashley Paris, Courtney's twin, had 14 points and seven rebounds in her first start for the Sooners (3-0).

Oklahoma took an early 15-4 lead, but Hawaii (1-1) used two three-point shots to cut the margin to five. After committing her second foul, Courtney Paris left the game at the 11-minute mark. She had only six first-half points.

Without the All-American in the paint, Oklahoma struggled shooting 36 percent from the field. Welch hit two three-point shots and scored 14 to keep Hawaii from closing the gap.

The Rainbow Wahine trailed at the half, 33-21, and shot 23 percent from the field for the game.

Oklahoma quickly built a 20-point lead after the half.

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said the team really stepped up on defense after struggling in Friday's game. But it was turnovers that kept the Sooners from pulling away, Coale said.

"That's how it's been for us, it seems like our turnovers come in buckets," she said.

Janevia Taylor led Hawaii with 12 points. Dalia Solia and Brittany Grice added nine apiece.

Oklahoma beat Eastern Kentucky in Friday's semifinals, 92-79.



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