No. 7 Sooners Take Bedlam, 76-60

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 17, 2007

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- It's not that dozens of turnovers don't bother Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale. They just haven't cost the Sooners yet.

Courtney Paris scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and No. 7 Oklahoma overcame a season-high 26 turnovers to beat Oklahoma State 76-60 on Wednesday night.

Despite the sloppy play, Oklahoma was never in jeopardy and led by 29 before the last of Coale's starters went to the bench late in the second half.

``I like the fact that we're trying to make things happen. I like the fact that we're aggressive,'' Coale said of the turnovers. ``It's just that we have to know when. What we're working on now is recognizing that the next possession has to be sure. You don't take chances on the next possession.''

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In a five-minute stretch to start the second half, the Sooners (14-1, 4-0 Big 12) showed how good they can be when they don't turn the ball over. Oklahoma scored on seven of its first eight second-half possessions - going without a turnover - and used a 14-2 surge to take a 50-27 lead on Leah Rush's layup.

The Sooners had committed 16 turnovers in the first half, and Coale said she simply told her team: ``Stop it, stop it now. Please.''

Entering the game, the Sooners ranked next-to-last in the Big 12 in turnover margin. They average 16.5 turnovers while forcing only 15. But the win against Oklahoma State (14-3, 2-2) was Oklahoma's 23rd straight victory against Big 12 Conference opponents - including a conference championship game last season in which the Sooners turned it over 32 times.

See how the Sooners stack up against OSU in the Bedlam Series presented by the Bank of Oklahoma and Your Oklahoma Ford Dealers!
``It does matter to me, our valuing the basketball, because I think at the end of the day it may determine who gets to go to (the Final Four in) Cleveland and who doesn't. It may determine who wins the Big 12 championship and who doesn't. It may determine who wins the national championship and who doesn't,'' Coale said.

``We have to take better care of the basketball. But at the same time, we have a lot of guys on our team that have creativity and I don't want to squelch that.''

Oklahoma overcame the miscues by shooting 52 percent, including 7-for-12 from 3-point range, and holding Oklahoma State to 29 percent shooting. The Cowgirls were also outrebounded 45-32 and outscored 32-14 in the paint.

Rush and Kendra Moore each added 11 points for Oklahoma, and Moore matched her career-high with four steals.

Cordero scored 15 points and Rashidat Sadiq had 12 points for Oklahoma State, which had won its previous two games to end a 25-game Big 12 losing streak and then a 26-game road losing streak. But they couldn't stop the Sooners from winning a 16th straight game in the Bedlam series. Oklahoma has won the past 10 games by double figures.

``We're not talking about history any more. We keep knocking down these barriers of no road wins, no Big 12 wins. We're past that now,'' Cowgirls coach Kurt Budke said.''

``This is a great team. I don't know if anybody in the Big 12 is going to beat them for the next couple years.''

The Sooners set a Big 12 record with their 17th straight regular-season win away from home. They're 8-0 on the road and 2-0 at neutral sites this season, with their only loss coming against then-No. 8 Ohio State last month in Norman.

Paris had her 43rd straight double-double before leaving with 7:33 to play.



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