OU at LNC for Texas Tech Monday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 20, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 7/6 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (15-1, 5-0) will host Texas Tech (12-7, 3-2) at the Lloyd Noble Center on Monday at 6 p.m.  It is the first home contest in 19 days and the beginning of a three-game home stand.  General admission tickets remain at the low cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children. 

The game is being broadcast by the Sooner Sports Network with the on-air team of Bob Carpenter and Kenny Mossman.  It can be found on Cox channel 7 in the Oklahoma City-metro area and Cox channel 3 in the Tulsa area.  Fans can also catch the game on KOKC 1520 AM or Yahoo! Radio with the regular team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti.

The Sooners and Lady Raiders are making up the game that was postponed on Jan. 14 due to poor weather.  The realignment of the schedule puts OU in the midst of its busiest eight days in Big 12 history.  The Sooners began the stretch with a hard fought 82-67 win at Colorado last Saturday.  All-American Courtney Paris (26 points, 17 rebounds) led three Sooners in double figures. 

 Game Notes | News Wire | Gameday Central | Season Stats

The upcoming game holds special meaning for west Texas natives Leah Rush (Amarillo) and Chelsi Welch (Plainview).  Both have averaged double figure points against TTU during their careers with Rush at 10.3 and Welch at 14.2.

OU has won 24 straight games against Big 12 teams and 22 straight during regular season league play.  The Big 12 record winning streak includes a pair of wins  over the Lady Raiders last season.

Texas Tech is led by first year head coach Kristy Curry, who took over for coaching- legend Marsha Sharp prior to this season. The Lady Raiders are 12-7 on the season and 3-2 in Big 12 play behind the leadership of senior forward Alesha Robertson (13.2 points) and senior guard Chesley Dabbs (9.2), who sat out last season with a knee injury.

OU will face another two-day turnaround when Iowa State visits on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  On Saturday,  No. 17 Texas A&M comes to Lloyd Noble for the annual “WhiteOUt” when free t-shirts will be placed in every seat prior to the 11 a.m. tip off.

Setting The Scene
Date: Monday, Jan. 22, 2007
Location: Norman, Okla.
Venue: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000)
Tipoff: 6 p.m. Central
TV: Sooners Sports Network & The O-Zone
TV Talent: Bob Carpenter and Kenny Mossman
Find it on TV in your Market
Radio: KOKC (1520 AM), Yahoo Radio!
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Radio Broadcast Info
Tickets:  (800) 456-GoOU
Promotion: OU head coach Sherri Coale will be honored for her 100th Big 12 win at centercourt after the game.

 Pregame Media Center
  Moore All-Access #3: CP3 Works on Free Throws With Coale
  Moore All-Access #4: Sherri vs. Colton, One-on-One
  Press Conference After 82-67 Win Over Colorado
  Highlights: Sooners Beat Texas Tech by Six (2006)
  Highlights: OU Completes 16-0 Season in Lubbock

Player To Watch
Leah Rush enter’s Monday’s contest with Texas Tech on a hot streak.  The Amarillo native, who admits to wanting to play for Texas Tech as a youngster, has scored in double figures in three straight games. She is shooting 71 percent during that time frame and averaging 11.7 points.  The senior forward is having the best season of her career. She is posting career highs in field goal percentage (.540), 3-point percentage (.485) and assist to turnover ratio (1.14). 

Recap - At Colorado
- No. 7/6 Oklahoma said it didn’t take Colorado for granted even though the Sooners had to rally to defeat the unranked Buffaloes.

Courtney Paris had 26 points and 17 rebounds for her 44th straight double-double, leading Oklahoma to an 82-67 comeback victory Saturday night.

``We had a great deal of respect for Colorado coming in,’’ Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ``They’ve been really good at home. And their shooting had been really good at home. ...

``We have great respect for what they can do offensively and knew that they would try to limit Courtney and we had to score from the high post.’’

Colorado trailed by as many as 16 points before rallying to take a four-point lead with 13:11 to go, but the Buffaloes couldn’t overcome 36 percent shooting.

``I just think we didn’t play with great deal of fire,’’ Coale said. ``We played pretty uninspired, pretty flat all night long. We didn’t do a good job on the boards in that stretch and we just missed a bunch of shots.’’

Oklahoma had a 43-34 rebounding edge and had 18 second-chance points.

Paris’ twin, Ashley, added 12 points for the Sooners (15-1, 5-0 Big 12).

Jasmina Ilic scored 29 points for Colorado (8-9, 2-3 Big 12) on 7-for-18 shooting. Jackie McFarland added 17 points and 14 rebounds for her 11th double-double, second in the conference only to Courtney Paris.
Colorado is winless in its last 20 games against ranked opponents.

Postgame Notes
OU is off to the best 16-game start in program history.  OU opened the 1986-87 and 2001-02 seasons 14-1 but lost its 16th game both years.

OU is 48-1 when it is ranked in the top-10 and the opponent is not ranked. The lone loss came to Washington in the 2001 Sweet 16.

Britney Brown, who made one 3-pointer against CU, is shooting 50 (4-8) percent from long range in Big 12 play.

Kendra Moore, who had 7 points against CU, has scored 42 of her season total of 58 points since the start of Big 12 play.

Ashley Paris scored 12 points, including 10 in the second half, to notch her sixth double figure scoring game of the season. It marks the 13th time that Ashley and her sister Courtney have scored in double figures in the same game.  OU is 12-1 on those occasions.
Courtney Paris recorded her 44th straight double-double with 26 points and 17 rebounds.  Paris was 8-15 from the field and 10-13 from the free throw line.  Paris also had a five blocks.  She has at least four swats in four of five Big 12 games this season and is averaging blocks in league play.

Leah Rush reached double figures for the third consecutive game with 11 points, all in the second half.  She has reached double figures 10 times this season.

Colorado marked just the second game this season that Chelsi Welch has not made a three pointer. Welch was 0-for-2 from long range lowering her season percentage to 50, which ranks second in the conference.

Previewing Texas Tech
Texas Tech is 12-7 overall and 3-2 in Big 12 play under first year head coach Kristy Curry, who left her head coaching position at Purdue to take over in Lubbock. In seven years at the helm of the Boilermakers, she compiled a career record of 179-51 (.778) and was 86-26 (.768) in Big Ten Conference games.

Texas Tech has defeated Oklahoma State (twice) and Missouri so far in league play.  The Lady Raiders have fallen victim to ranked foes Texas A&M and Baylor.  On Saturday, the Lady Raiders pulled out a 63-61 victory at Oklahoma State when freshman guard Raquel Christian hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.1 seconds to play.  

Texas Tech, who was ranked for a short time earlier this season, posted impressive non-conference wins over UCLA and Oral Roberts.  They fell prey to Hawaii, Stanford, Fresno State and Arizona State.

The Lady Raiders lost stars Erin Grant and LaToya Davis to graduation after last season, which is also when coaching legend Marsh Sharp retired. 

Picking up the scoring slack this season is senior forward Alesha Robertson, who played on the same high school team as OU’s Chelsi Welch.  Robertson is averaging a team high 13.2 points and 9.1 rebounds but is shooting just 36 percent.  Center Erin Myrick is second on the team with 9.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. Freshman Jordan Murphree, who was a WBCA High School All-American with OU’s Amanda Thompson, is also scoring 9.3 points per game.  Team leader and senior Chesley Dabbs is averaging 9.2 points.

Tech is 11th in the conference in points per game (64.2) and field goal percentage (41.0).  The Lady Raiders do not appear higher than fifth in any of the Big 12 statistical categories.

Texas Tech leads the all-time series with Oklahoma 21-12. The Sooners have won the last two meetings, both last season, and four of the last six.  OU is 10-11 against TTU since the start of the Big 12.  A win for OU on Monday would make three straight, which would be the Sooners second longest winning streak against the Lady Raiders.   Texas Tech also leads the all-time series in Norman 8-7.  Curry lost two meetings (2000, 2002) with OU while at Purdue.

 Sooners vs. T. Tech PTS REB Career High
Brown   4.5 1.7 12 points (3-1-06)
Higgins  4.7 2.5 13 points (1-18-06)
Moore 1.3 0.7 2 points (1-18-06) 
A. Paris    1.0 4.5 6 rebounds (1-18-06)
C. Paris   17.5  16 19 rebounds (1-18-06)
Rush    10.3 5.8 23 points (1-5-05)
Sanchez    1.7 1.3 5 points (2-23-05)
Welch    14.2 5 23 points (2-19-03)

The  Postponement
The Big 12 Conference postponed the OU-Texas Tech game scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 14 because of forecasted severe weather and hazardous road conditions in the Southwest region.  The administration at the conference and schools agreed to reschedule the game for Monday, Jan. 22. 

Pregame Lay-Ups
The NCAA announced its initial RPI rankings on Jan. 17 and the Sooners came in at No. 9.  The NCAA will announce the RPI rankings on NCAASports.com on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.

OU is 48-1 when it is ranked in the top-10 and the opponent is not ranked.  The lone loss came to Washington in the 2001 Sweet 16.

OU has an average scoring margin of +14.4 in Big 12 games this season, which includes four double digit wins.  The Sooners have played four of five league games on the road.

Chelsi Welch, the Big 12’s top 3-point shooter in terms of percentage, has knocked down a three in 14 of 16 games this season.  She failed to make a three against New Mexico and Colorado.

  OU is averaging 80.2 points and 17.9 assists.  Both numbers are up from last season when OU averaged 76.3 points and 16.8 assists.

OU has held 10 of its last 12 opponents under 10 assists.  The stretch began with seven straight under 10 and was snapped by Kansas State.  The other exception was Colorado.

Paris Leads NCAA | Paris' Big Games
For the second consecutive season, Courtney Paris appears among the NCAA statistical leaders more than any player in the country.  Paris ranks in the top 10 in five categories: double-doubles, points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.  No other player in the NCAA ranks in the top 10 in more than two categories. 

Paris & Putbacks
22 (83-370) percent of Courtney Paris’ points this season have come after she pulled down an offensive rebound.  Of that total, 32 have come after her own miss, 44 have come after her teammates’ misses and seven have come at the free throw line after being fouled after an offensive board.

Double-Double Streak Over The Hill | Paris' Double-Doubles
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in 44 straight games.  The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.  The streak will be 410 days old when OU takes the court next.

The Half Double-Double
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in a single half on 16 occasions (6 first half, 10 second half).  She has six single half double-doubles this season: UCLA (second half), Tulsa (first half), Colorado (second half), Baylor (second half) and in both halves against New Mexico.

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 10 of these double-doubles coming against ranked teams.  Paris’ career high for points in a half is 23 (Michigan State, 12-21-05, and New Mexico, 12/30/06).  Her career high for rebounds in a half is 14 (Baylor (3/11/06 & Kansas State 1/3/07).

Historic Defensive Stretch
OU has held 15 of 16 opponents, including its first nine opponents, below 40 percent shooting this season.  The previous record for consecutive opponents held below 40 percent was seven and set in 1984-85.  OU has held its last  six opponents under 40 percent shooting.

The Sooners have held six opponents under 30 percent shooting, all in the last 10 games.  Earlier in the season, OU also held South Carolina, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado below 30 percent in consecutive outings. That streak is an OU record.  OU has held two straight opponents below 30 percent on eight occasions.

OU is first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at .320.  Only Ohio State (.450) has shot over 40 percent against OU this season.  The lowest mark was a .224 by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado. Last season 24 of 36 opponents failed to reach the 40 percent mark against OU.

The Winning Streaks
OU has won a Big 12 record 24 straight games against conference teams (including last year’s postseason championship) and 22 straight regular season games  - 16 last year, one in 2004-05 - against conference foes.  The Sooners have also won nine straight Big 12 home games and 13 straight Big 12 road games.  The previous record for consecutive wins was 16 by the 2000-01 OU team.

OU has won 18 straight regular season games away from Norman, which is a Big 12 record.  The streak includes true road games and games at neutral sites. OU broke its own Big 12 record established with 16 straight wins from December 2000 to December 2001.

OU has won 16 straight regular season true road games, which is a Big 12 record.  The previous record was 11 games and was set by OU from December 2000 to December 2001.

1,000 Point Club Membership | OU 1,000 Point Scorers
Three current Sooners - Leah Rush, Courtney Paris and Chelsi Welch - are in the OU 1,000 point club.  Rush reached the career milestone against Baylor on Feb. 12, 2006.  Courtney Paris and Chelsi Welch both reached it against Ohio State on Dec. 20, 2006.  It marks the third time that OU has had three 1,000 point scorers on the same team.  The other instances were 1994-95 (Angi Guffy, Mandy Wade and Etta Maytubby) and 2001-02 (Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield, Caton Hill). Only 11 known NCAA Division I teams have had four players with the 1,000 career points.

Erin Higgins is also closing in on the 1,000 career points and should, based on her career scoring average, reach the milestone this season:

 Player  Points  Average   Projected Games
 Erin Higgins  890  7.8  14 Games

Forget The Hack-A-Shaq
Opponents might rethink the idea of employing the hack-a-Shaq defense on Courtney Paris at the end of games.  The Sooner center shot 71 (27-38) from the free throw line in the final four minutes of games last season.  She is 9-of 16 in that scenario this season and owns a career percentage of 68 (36-53) percent.  Below are more number breakdowns for Paris at the charity stripe in the final four minutes of games.

  2006-07  Career
Home   0-0 12-16 (.750)
Road  9-15 18-26 (.692)
Neutral 0-1 6-11 (.545)
Total    9-16 (.562) 36-53 (.679)

Double Figure Twins
Courtney Paris and Ashley Paris have scored in double figures in the same game on 13 occasions, including six times this season. The 13 occasions account for every double figure game of Ashley’s career.  Additionally, the twins have posted a double-double in the same game on five occasions, including once this season.  OU is 12-1 when the low post twins reach 10 or more points and 5-0 when they both record a double-double.

The White OUt is Back
The Oklahoma Athletics Department is bringing back the popular WhiteOUt the Lloyd Noble Center’ promotion for the contest  between the Oklahoma women’s basketball team and Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m.  The event sold out last season and fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. The game will air in front of a near-national audience on Fox Sports Net.

A free OU “Cheer Like a Champion” white t-shirt will be placed in every seat in the Lloyd Noble Center.  Fans are encouraged to wear the t-shirt during the match up of top-20 teams. Last season, OU and Baylor battled into overtime in front of a program record crowd of 12,112 during the WhiteOUt promotion.

Pink OUt Planned for Texas
The OU Athletics Department will also a hold a “Pack The Place Pink Night” for the Feb. 12 Red River Rivalry match up with Texas on ESPN2. In an effort to promote breast cancer awareness and early detection, free pink t-shirts will be placed in every seat and again fans are encouraged to put them on when they arrive.

Fans are encouraged to donate to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation when they enter the arena. Volunteers will be available on the concourse to take donations. 

Higgins Heating Up
Erin Higgins began the season in a slump from 3-point land.  The OU all-time leader in 3-pointer made just 20 percent of her attempts in the first eight games and had just one multiple trey game during that span.

She has found her stroke in the last eight games, shooting 41 percent and making 14 of 34 attempts.  She has tallied 48 points over that span after having 25 combined in the first eight games. On the season Higgins is shooting 30.4 percent from 3-point range.

Big 12 History
All-time, OU has a 102-63 (.616) Big 12 record under head coach Sherri Coale.  The Sooners have won four regular season titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006) and three Big 12 Championships (2002, 2004, 2006).  The Sooners were picked by the coaches to win the 2006-07 regular season title.

Since the 1999-00 season, OU has won 76 percent of its regular season Big 12 games for a record of 89-28.  That winning percentage is the best in the Big 12 during that time frame.

OU’s all-time record in regular season Big 12 play ranks fourth among member schools.  The Sooners trail No. 1 Texas Tech (121-44), Texas (106-57) and Iowa State (103-62).  Coale has the third most Big 12 wins among active coaches trailing Jody Conradt (106) of Texas and Bill Fennelly (103) of Iowa State.

Last season Oklahoma became the first team in Big 12 history to run the table to a perfect 16-0 record in league play. Then OU won three straight Big 12 Championship games to go 19-0 against the league this in 2005-06.  The overall record is a Big 12 record.
This season marks the third time OU has started 5-0.  Only two other Sooner teams (1999-00, 2005-06) have started conference play 5-0.

Overall, OU is 54-26 (.675) in Big 12 games played at the Lloyd Noble Center and 48-37 (.565) in conference road contests.

3-Point Threats Everywhere
While Erin Higgins is the most recognizable 3-point shooter on the OU roster, she hasn’t been the most proficient this season.  In fact, OU has three of the top seven long range shooters in the league.  Chelsi Welch (50.0) is second in the Big 12, Leah Rush (48.5 percent) ranks fourth and Jenna Plumley (43,8 percent) would rank seventh if she had the necessary makes. Welch is also 10th in the Big 12 in makes per game at 1.63.  As a team OU ranks second in the Big 12 and 16th nationally with a 3-point percentage of 38.4.

Time to Talk About Rush
Leah Rush, the nation’s Most Underrated Player last season, is playing some of the best basketball of her career.  Rush is third on the OU team in scoring at 10.4 points per game and is posting career highs in 3-point percentage (48.5), field goal percentage (54.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14). She ranks fourth in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage and fifth in field goal percentage.

Rush Keeps Moving Up The Charts
During the New Mexico game senior Leah Rush surpassed Jo Mosely for 13th place on the OU career scoring list.  Rush currently has 1,270 points and is 32 shy of No. 12 Angie Alexander with 1,302.  Rush began the season ranked No. 18 on the OU career scoring list.

Welch Making Most of Senior Year
Chelsi Welch is putting together a stellar senior campaign. The season has been highlighted by her addition to the OU 1,000 point club, which she reached with 14 points against Ohio State on Dec. 20.

The 5-10 guard has scored in double-figures in nine games this season, while tallying at least eight points in four others.  She posted a season high 23 points in the season opener against DePaul.  Last season, Welch scored in double-figures on four occasions during the non-conference schedule and 16 times total.

This year, Welch ranks sixth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .533, which is the highest mark among guards.  She is also second in the league with a 3-point percentage at .500.

She appears to be picking up where she left off last year, when she scored in double figures in 14 of the final 24 games.  She also dialed up her shooting percentage during that stretch and finished 11th in the Big 12 in field goal percentage during conference action. At the end of the year, Welch ranked No. 2 in conference-only games in 3-point percentage with a 44.9 mark.

On the milestone verge...
Courtney Paris is 13 assists shy of 100, 13 rebounds shy of 800, 28 blocks shy of 200 and 42 points shy of 1,200.   The Sooner center is eight rebounds shy of No. 6 on the OU career list, 51 shy of No.2 on OU offensive rebound list and 48 shy of No. 3 on the OU defensive rebounds list.  

Leah Rush (1,248) is 33 points shy of passing No. 12 Angie Alexander at No. 12 on the OU scoring list with 1,302.  She is also 6 rebounds shy of 600 in her career.

Getting a Rush on the Competition
Leah Rush, who is shooting 48.5 percent from 3-point range, is deadly when she makes her first attempt of the game. She has done so in 23 contests over the last two seasons and shoots 61 percent  (39-64) when she hits her first from long range. OU is 22-1 in those contests with the lone loss coming to Illinois last season.  This year Rush has made her first attempt in five games, all OU wins, and she has shot 71 percent (10-14).

Points in the Paint
The Sooners are dominating opponents in the paint.  OU has outscored opponents 691-318 in the paint this season.  OU is averaging 43.2 points in the paint and limiting opponents to 19.9. The biggest single game advantage was a 42-0 difference against Lamar.  OU’s points in the paint account for 53.8 (691-1284) of the team’s total this season.

Home Court Advantage
OU is 4-1 at the Lloyd Noble Center this season, after going 12-1 on its home floor last season.  OU owns a 93-20 (.823) home mark since the start of the 1998-99 season.  Under Sherri Coale, OU is 98-35 (.735) at LNC. All-time, OU is 258-104 (.713) at Lloyd Noble.

Owning The Boards
For the second consecutive season, OU is dominating the boards.  Last year OU led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally with a rebounding margin of +10.7.  This year, OU has held a double figure advantage in 11 games and a 20-plus advantage in six games. OU owns a combined rebounding margin of +14.8 which currently leads the Big 12.

Glass cleaner Courtney Paris, who set the NCAA single season record for rebounds with 539 last season, is averaging 15.5 boards.  Last season she averaged 15 per game.  Ashley Paris and Amanda Thompson are second and third on the squad at 6.7 and 4.9 respectively.

The Sooners have collected 50 rebounds in six games with a season high of 57 against Kansas State.

The Experience Factor
Notes on the level of experience OU has on its roster:
  Between eight players, including six seniors, OU has 416 career starts.  Sophomore Carolyn Winchester is the only non-freshman that has never started a game for OU.
  The combined consecutive starts of Erin Higgins (9), Britney Brown (14), Chelsi Welch (39), Courtney Paris (52) and Leah Rush (102) is 205.
  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 14 games.
  Since earning her first start at Texas A&M during her freshman season Leah Rush has started 102 straight games.
  Erin Higgins had started 77 straight games before senior night last season when she gave up the honor to then-senior Laura Andrews.



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