Preview: Big 12 Championship Game

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 10, 2007

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The second-seeded and 11th-ranked Oklahoma women’s basketball team (25-4) will face fifth-seeded Iowa State (25-7) in the Big 12 Championship title game at the Cox Convention Center at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The game will be broadcast to a near-national audience by Fox Sports Net with Kevin Eschenfelder and Debbie Antonelli calling the action.  The game will also be available on KOKC-1520 AM and throughout the Sooner Sports Radio Network with the regular team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti.

The title game appearance is the fifth during the Big 12 era for OU. The Sooners are 3-1 when playing for the Big 12 trophy with the lone loss coming to Iowa State in 2001 in Kansas City. 

Big 12 Central

OU has won three straight games against Iowa State, including a 69-49 decision in Norman on Jan. 24 of this season. Last season the two teams met in the quarterfinal round of the Big 12 Championship.  OU was the No. 1 seed, but got all it could handle from the No. 9 Cyclones.  Erin Higgins bailed OU out with a deep three that put her squad ahead for good with 49 seconds to play.  Courtney Paris, who faced single coverage all game, went off for 36 points and 16 rebounds.  Her 36 points stands as an OU record for the postseason tournament.

OU is 16-7 all-time and has won five straight in the Big 12 tourney.   They are chasing their first ever back-to-back postseason championships and their four overall.  OU has also won the postseason tourney in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

After Saturday, OU will await its NCAA Tournament seeding. The women’s field of 64 will be announced this Monday at 7 p.m. Central on ESPN.  OU has participated in seven straight NCAA Tournaments.

Setting The Scene
Date: Saturday, March 10, 2007
Location: Norman, Okla.
Venue: Cox Convention Center
Tipoff: 6 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports Net (Cox channel 37 in OKC)
TV Talent: Kevin Eschenfelder & Debbie Antonelli
FSN Clearances
Radio: KOKC-1520 AM
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 three games at Cox this season, Plumley has hit 10-of-13 three-point attempts (.769).  She is averaging 16 points and 4 assists at the venue this season.  Thursday night was just an example of her comfort at the OKC arena.  Plumley had 24 points on 6-7 shooting, 3-4 from 3-point range and 9-10 at the free throw line.

700 - 500 - 100
Courtney Paris became the first player in NCAA history to accumulate 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a season as a freshman in 2005-06.  She appears primed to do it again.  Paris has 684 points, 464 rebounds and 101 blocks this season.  She is averaging 23.6 points and 16.0 rebounds, which puts her approximately a game away from 700 points and two games away from 500 boards.

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
CNN - 9 (28)
Sagarin - 11 (18)
CollegeRPI - 9 (20)

OU has won 17 straight games against the Big 12 North.  OU has also won 34 of 40 games away from Norman over the last two seasons. 

Jenna Plumley is third in the Big 12 statistical rankings in 3-point percentage at 41.7 (30-72).  She had to climb out of hole to get on that list because of the requirement of making one in every individual game played.

OU and Iowa State entered the tourney as the two hottest teams in the league.  Iowa State has won eight straight games, including three in this year’s tourney.  Oklahoma has won seven straight games, including tourney wins over Texas and Baylor.

Iowa State is attempting to become the second team in league history that had to win four games to clinch the tourney title.  OU is the only team to accomplish the feat, having done so in Dallas in 2004.  OU was a No. 6 seed in 2004, which is the lowest seed ever go home with the trophy.

The winner on Saturday will be the first No. 2 or No. 5 seed in Big 12 Championship history to claim the title.

OU leads the all-time series with Iowa State 26-17.  The Sooners have won three straight in the series.  The streak began with a 87-67 win in Ames last season, which was the first at Hilton Coliseum during the Sherri Coale era.  Iowa State has won 10 of the last 14 meetings. OU and Iowa State are 3-3 all-time in meetings at neutral sites.

OU and Iowa State have split two meetings during Big 12 Championship play. The games have been decided by a combined seven points.  Last season, OU needed a late Erin Higgins three  to seal a 78-74 win and stave off an upset bid by the Cyclones in the tournament quarterfinals.  Iowa State’s win came in the 2001 title game by the narrow margin of 68-65.

Jenna Plumley is the only OU player this season to make four or more 3-pointers in three different games.  Chelsi Welch has made four 3’s on two occasions, while Erin Higgins has done it once.  Jenna Plumley’s six treys at Texas Tech on Feb. 17 is a single game high for OU.

Plumley is shooting 83.3 percent (10-12) in the tournament, which is the second highest mark.  Courtney Paris and Jenna Plumley are tied for fourth in scoring at 18.5 points, while Paris leads the tourney in rebounding at 16.0.

Courtney Paris has more offensive rebounds (17) than defensive rebounds (15) in the Big 12 Championship this season.

OU’s 25 wins is the fourth highest win total of the Sherri Coale era.

Recap - OU 78, Baylor 64
Courtney Paris had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 11 Oklahoma held off a second-half rally by No. 18 Baylor to win 78-64 Thursday night in a Big 12 Conference tournament women’s semifinal.

Freshman guard Jenna Plumley scored 24 points for Oklahoma (25-4), which extended its winning streak against Baylor to six games over two seasons. Paris recorded her 57th straight double-double.

Baylor trailed 61-59 with 5:59 left, but managed only two baskets after that as the 6-foot-4 Paris took over inside. When Paris returned to the game after a stint on the bench due to foul trouble, she keyed the Sooners with three baskets in a 3-minute span that pushed their lead to 65-59 with 4:01 left.

Up by eight points with 1:35 left, the Sooners went 9-of-11 from the free-throw line to seal the win. Two Baylor players, Jessica Morrow and Latara Darrett, were called for technical fouls in the final 1:02.

Morrow led Baylor with a career-high 25 points, but the Lady Bears’ leading scorer, Bernice Mosby finished with nine points and 10 rebounds after being dogged defensively most of the game by Oklahoma’s Leah Rush and Ashley Paris, Courtney’s twin.

Oklahoma’s three previous wins against Baylor had come by double digits, and early on, it looked like another potential blowout. Oklahoma led by as many as 15 points in the first half before settling for a 34-27 halftime lead.

Baylor shot 29.6 percent from the field in the half. Mosby missed all five of her shots and had just two points, on a pair of free throws almost 17 minutes into the game.

Postgame Notes
No. 11 Oklahoma improved to 25-4 overall and 15-2 away from Norman ... Jenna Plumley poured in a career-high 24 points, breaking her previous high of 22, which she set against Texas Tech (2-17-07) ... Plumley was 9-10 from the charity stripe which marked career highs in both makes and attempts ... The 5-4 freshman is 24-of-26 (.923) from the line on the season ... Courtney Paris (20 points) and Ashley Paris (13 points) both scored in double digits for the second consecutive game ... They have both scored in double digits on 18 occasions during their two years at OU ...  The 18 occasions account for every double figure game of Ashley’s career ... Ashley Paris’ double figure scoring game marked the first time she has had consecutive double digit scoring games since Colorado (1-20-07) and Texas Tech (1-22-07) ... Oklahoma held Baylor’s leading scorer Bernice Mosby scoreless until the 3:18 mark of the first half ... It was the second consecutive meeting the Sooners have held Mosby to two points in the first half ... Mosby’s final stat line included nine points on 3-of-13 shooting ... Mosby entered the tournament as the No. 2 scorer in the Big 12, averaging 18.0 points a game ... OU has now won six consecutive against the Bears with the last four being double digit victories ... Courtney Paris (20 points and 14 rebounds) notched her 62nd career double-double, breaking the Big 12 record previously held by Baylor’s Sophia Young ... Paris broke the record in 65 games, while it took Young 139 games.

CP3’s Latest NCAA Record
It’s that time of year, when the regular season wraps up and Courtney Paris accumulates NCAA records.  The Sooner sophomore reached 1,000 career rebounds in the second half against Baylor on Thursday, March 8.  She needed 65 career games to reach 1,000.  Her pace to 1,000 career boards is the fastest in NCAA history, besting the previous best of 71 games by Drake’s Wanda Ford by six games.

Ford is also 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.

OU Beats Baylor, CP3 Beats Sophia Young
On the night when OU clinched a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game, Courtney Paris broke Baylor alum Sophia Young’s Big 12 record for career double-doubles.  Paris now has 62 in 65 career games. Young had 61 in 139 games.

Paris already owns the OU record for career doubles (62), the NCAA record for consecutive doubles (57) 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 45 percent (17-38) from 3-point range and 50 percent  (82-164) 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 10-13 from 3-point range at Cox this season.

The opposite has been true of OU’s three opponents who have shot a combined 29 percent (59-202).  New Mexico was 17-65, Texas was 18-72 and Baylor was 24-65.

Another Attendance of 10,000
OU, which set numerous attendance records at the Lloyd Noble Center this season, has played seven consecutive games in front of 10,000-plus Sooner partisan fans.  The first five games were to close the regular season at LNC.  The last two have come at was at the Cox Center during the quarterfinals (10,210) and semifinals (10,102).

Countdown to 1,500 & 1,000
Courtney Paris has the 1,000 rebounds and is quickly approaching 1,500 career points. She is 28 points shy of 1,500. 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.

Kodak & Wooden 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.

She is also on the final ballot for the Women’s Wooden Award.   Paris was one of five finalist and Wooden All-Americans last season.




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