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Sooners Headed Back to Sweet 16
June 12, 2007

March 19, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Courtney Paris was on the bench and for a brief moment, Oklahoma was losing.

Then her twin sister Ashley scored a layup, ripped down two big rebounds and pretty soon the Sooners were off and running to a rout.

If there's a lesson here for the rest of the teams in the NCAA tournament, when one Paris twin gets in foul trouble, the Sooners simply go to the other, usually with good results.

Courtney Paris got her 60th consecutive double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds despite spending almost 12 minutes of the first half on the bench, and sister Ashley Paris chipped in eight points and 10 boards to lead Oklahoma to a 78-47 win over Marquette on Monday night.

"She's the best backup center in the country," Courtney Paris said of her sister. "We needed her to control the boards and she did."

Statistics | Notes | GDC

Oklahoma (28-4), the No. 3 seed in the Dayton Regional, moves on to the round of 16 for the second consecutive year. Marquette (26-7), the No. 6 seed, has never advanced past the second round in eight NCAA tournaments.

After struggling in Oklahoma's first round win, All-American Courtney Paris scored eight points early, but picked up her second foul with 11:53 left in the half.

No problem for the Sooners as her sister filled the role as the defensive stopper in the middle. Ashley Paris' six rebounds in the half helped Oklahoma regain the lead and extend it to 29-19 by halftime.

Krystal Ellis scored 12 points to lead Marquette, which set a season-low with 19 first-half points and struggled through a miserable shooting night.

By the time Oklahoma led by 25 midway through the second half, the Golden Eagles were just 7 of 40 shooting from the field. The Sooners dominated scoring in the paint 38-16 and scored 21 points off 16 Marquette turnovers.

Courtney Paris scored Oklahoma's first basket on a short hook and hit four of her first seven shots. She groaned and waived both arms in disgust when she picked up her second foul and sat down with the Sooners leading 10-8.

After Marquette tied it on free throws, the Golden Eagles briefly took the lead when Efueko Osagie-Landry drove the baseline for a layup. It was the only time the Golden Eagles could make a move with Courtney Paris off the court.

Ashley Paris, the unheralded half of Oklahoma's sister act, did the dirty work the Sooners needed. She tied the game seconds later with a layup and grabbed two straight rebounds before Chelsi Welch scored twice to make it 16-12.

"Just because she's out of the game, doesn't mean we fall apart," Ashley Paris said.

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale put Ashley Paris in the game with orders to dominate the boards.

"I told her before she went into the game she had to rebound," Coale said. "When Ashley's good we just don't lose. We have so many weapons when she's rebounding and scoring."

The Sooners, who hit 10 3-pointers in their first round win, missed their first eight before Leah Rush hit with about 4 minutes left to spark a 13-4 run to close the half.

"We wanted it so badly and had so many shots wide open," Marquette coach Terri Mitchell said. "I thought if we could just go into halftime tied we could regroup as a team and the complete opposite happened. It snowballed."

Marquette had clearly missed its chance for the upset and the game soon turned into a rout when Courtney Paris returned.

She scored the first four points of the second half and blocked a shot by Christina Quaye. When she grabbed a defensive rebound, she used her left forearm to shove Marquette's Danielle Kamm and got away with it when the officials didn't blow the whistle.

Five more points by Paris and the Sooners had opened up 42-22 lead 6 minutes into the second. She extended her double-double streak when she grabbed the rebound off her own miss with 6:34 left, made the layup, got fouled, then swished the free throw to push the lead to 63-32.

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