NORMAN, Okla. -- Coming off a week filled with term papers and finals, the No. 3 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (8-0) will begin its holiday schedule on Sunday when Northern Colorado (2-7) visits the Lloyd Noble Center at 2 p.m.
The game will be broadcast on KOKC 1520 AM with Brian Brinkley (play-by-play) and Tara DeGiusti (color commentary). The radio broadcast can also be found on Yahoo! Radio for a minimal fee. It will also be webcast on SoonerSports.com’s O-Zone.
Approximately 2,000 general admission tickets remained at the beginning of the week. GA tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive pom-pons. Sunday is also Norman Elementary School Day. OU administered 2,250 tickets to 16 local schools.
OU has won 22 straight regular season games and 10 straight at the Lloyd Noble Center. The winning streak is the second longest in Big 12 history. The conference record is 25 games and was set by OU from January 2001 to December 2001. The Sooners have been led by the offensive trio of Courtney Paris (21.6), Chelsi Welch (12.4) and Leah Rush (12.0). Paris has scored 20 points in seven of eight contests, while Rush and Welch have scored in double figures in six and five games, respectively.
Northern Colorado and OU have one common opponent, Lamar, this season. Both squad defeated Lamar by hefty margins. UNCO has one other win this season, a 62-56 decision over UC-Colorado Springs. The Bears have lost to UMKC, Wyoming, Air Force, Illinois, Louisville, Colorado State and Cal State Fullerton.
OU will close out its three game home stand with a likely top-10 matchup against Ohio State on Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and is expected to approach sell out status. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance.
Setting The Scene
Date: Sunday, Dec. 17, 2006
Tipoff: 2 p.m. Central
Venue: Lloyd Noble Center
Webcast: O-Zone on Soonersports.com
Radio: KOKC (1520 AM) and Yahoo! Radio | Broadcast Info
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley (Play-by-Play) & Tara DeGiusti
Tickets: (800) 456-GoOU
Promotions: Norman Elementary School Day
Pom-pons distributed to the first 1,000 fans
Player To Watch
Freshman Jenna Plumley made sure no one left early during Oklahoma’s 87-42 defeat of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The diminutive point guard from Red Rock, Okla., nailed four 3’s on five second half attempts. She finished with 12 points, marking the first time she has reached double figures, two steals and one assist. She also guided the all-freshmen lineup on a 6-0 run late in the game against the Lady Lions.
Previewing Northern Colorado
Northern Colorado is off to a 2-7 start this season after going 13-15 in 2005-06. The Bears are led by head coach Jaime White, who is in her first season at UNCO after serving as an assistant at Wyoming the last three seasons.
Northern Colorado has defeated Lamar and UC-Colorado Springs and has lost to UMKC, Wyoming, Air Force, Illinois, Louisville, Colorado State and Cal State Fullerton. OU has also defeated Lamar, which it did by 35 points on Nov. 29. UNCO bested the Cardinals at home by 28 points on Nov. 20.
Northern Colorado’s top returner, Heather Barbour, is also its leading scorer this season. Barbour is averaging 13. 7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. The 6-0 junior forward is the Bears first option in the paint. Sophomore guard Whitley Cox is second in scoring at 11.6 points.
The Bears are averaging 54 points per while giving up 68 points. UNCO is shoot 36 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent at the free throw line. They are averaging 33 rebounds per game, 11 assists, 19 assists, 1.5 blocks and 4.7 steals.
Seeking 1,000 Point Club Membership
Three current Sooners are hoping to join Leah Rush in the OU 1,000 point club. Rush reached the career milestone against Baylor on Feb. 12, 2006. She should have company from Courtney Paris, Chelsi Welch and Erin Higgins before the end of the season.
Below is a chart on the chase for 1,000:
Paris Approaching Elite Status
Courtney Paris needs just 39 points to reach 1,000 career points. She should reach the milestone in the next two games, which would place herself among the 16 fastest players to 1,000 points in NCAA history. Below is where she would stack up if she makes it in career game 45 (Northern Colorado) or 46 (Ohio State):
Turning Up The Defense
OU is yet to allow a team to shoot over 40 percent from the field and is holding opponents to a combined shooting percentage of .320. OU has held the last two opponents, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and South Carolina, under 30 percent shooting. The highest shooting percentage posted against the Sooners this season was .387 by UCLA. The low mark was a .224 by Arkansas-Pine Bluff. OU has revved up its defense over the last four games when it has limited opponents to 28 (64-228) percent shooting from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range. Last season 12 of 36 opponents shot over 40 percent, while OU held all opponents to a combined percentage of 37.
Recap - Arkansas-Pine Bluff
(AP) - Courtney Paris had 24 points and 11 rebounds, her 36th straight double-double, and No. 3 Oklahoma routed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 87-42 on Sunday afternoon, the Sooners’ 22nd straight regular-season win and their first home game in almost a month.
UAPB suited up only 10 players, didn’t have a starter taller than 5-foot-11 and hadn’t played any opponent closer than 20 points this season. But in a game Oklahoma was expected to win handily, the Sooners struggled to find their rhythm early.
Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale tried to give the Sooners a spark by subbing three times early. Soon enough, the Sooners began finding each other open for easy layups, and the rout was on.
The 6-foot-4 Paris went 9-for-9 from the field in the first half as the Sooners shot 60 percent - a number that would have been higher had they not missed all seven of their 3-point attempts.
Conversely, UAPB hit just 8-of-30 shots before halftime, and if not for 11 points, including three 3-pointers, from Delores Hughley, its 43-24 halftime deficit could have been much worse.
The Golden Lions came no closer than 17 points in the second half. For the game, UAPB shot 22.4 percent from the field.
About the only drama after halftime was if Paris would extend her streak of double-doubles. She grabbed her 10th rebound with 10:59 left and exited the game 40 seconds later, about the time Coale began clearing her bench.
Paris, who hit 12 of her 13 shots, tied a longstanding school record for single-game field-goal percentage. Toni Eldridge had set the mark of 92.3 percent by going 12 of 13 in a December 1982 win over Oklahoma City University.
OU’s .603 field goal percentage was its best since January 24, 2001 at Kansas. It’s the fifth time in the Coale era that OU has shot at least 60 percent from the field.
It was also the fourth time in the Coale era OU has held back-to-back opponents below 30 percent shooting. The last time was against Missouri and Baylor in the 2006 Big 12 Championship.
OU won its 10th straight game at the Lloyd Noble Center and is 91-19 (.827) at LNC since the start of the 1998-99 season.
All 18 of OU’s first half field goals came from inside the paint. OU also made seven free throws to account for their halftime total of 43 points. Chelsi Welch’s 3-pointer at 16:32 in the second half was the Sooners’ first bucket from outside the paint.
Jenna Plumley knocked down four 3-pointers. It is the first time she has made multiple 3’s in a game.
Nyeshia Stevenson scored in double figures, 12 points, for the second time in her career.
Britney Brown took three first half charges, which is single game high for any OU player this season. Two were called for pushing off on the perimeter; one was a traditional charge on a drive to the basket.
The Winning Streaks
OU has won 22 straight regular season games dating back to Jan. 14, 2006. The streak is the second longest in Big 12 history. The record resides in Norman and is a 25-gamer by Oklahoma (January 2001-December 2001).
OU has won 13 straight games away from Norman which is three shy of tying the Big 12 record of 16. The streak includes true road games and games at neutral sites. OU set that mark with 16 straight wins from December 2000 to December 2001.
OU has won 12 straight 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.
OU has won 10 straight home games dating back to an 80-60 loss to Michigan State on Dec. 21, 2005. The OU record for consecutive home court victories in 26, set from February 1984 to February 1986.
OU is 43-1 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 is averaging 83.2 points and 19.6 assists. Both numbers are up from last season when OU averaged 76.3 points and 16.8 assists.
OU will play seven of its 11 non-conference games away from Norman and the Lloyd Noble Center this season. It is nothing new for Sherri Coale’s program, which has played 64 (57-89) percent of its preconference game outside the Lloyd Noble Center since 1999-00. OU has won 75 (43-14) percent of its pre-conference road games during that time.
Paris Sets Pace to 900
Courtney Paris became the fastest player in OU and Big 12 history to reach 900 career points when she reached the milestone in her 42nd career game against Tulsa. Paris topped the 52-game pace former Sooner Molly McGuire (1980-83) needed to establish the mark.
Paris & Putbacks
25 (44-173) percent of Courtney Paris’ points this season have come after she pulled down an offensive rebound. Of that total, 20 have come after her own miss, 20 have come after her teammates’ misses and four have come at the free throw line after being fouled after an offensive board.
The Double-Double Streak
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in 36 straight games. The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005. The streak will be 377 days old when OU takes the court next.
The Half Double-Double
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in a single half on 12 occasions (5 first half, 7 second half). She has achieved the mark against UCLA (second half) and Tulsa (first half) this season.
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 six of these double-doubles coming against ranked teams.
What Brown Can Do For OU
Britney Brown has put together an impressive run over the last four games. Including a career high 10 assist effort against South Carolina, Brown has posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.5-to-1 over the last four games.
On the season she is second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.47 mark. She is also fourth in the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.3.
On The Milestone Verge...
Courtney Paris is 39 points shy of 1,000 in her career. She is also four steals shy of 50 and 22 assists shy of 100. Based on her current pace, Paris will easily be the fastest player in OU and Big 12 history to 1,000 career points. The Sooner center is also 23 rebounds shy of entering the OU career top-10 for rebounds. Melissa Richie (1986-89) is at No. 10 with 679.
Chelsi Welch is 16 points shy of the 1,000 point club.
Leah Rush (1,189) is five points shy of passing LaTrenda Phillips (1984-87) at No. 14 with 1,205.
Ashley Paris is two offensive rebounds shy of 100 in her career. She is also six defensive boards shy of 200, eight rebounds shy of 300 and 25 points shy of 300.
Welch Off To Strong Start
Chelsi Welch is off to a fast start to her senior season. The Plainview, Texas native is 16 points shy of 1,000 career points. She should approach that number in the next two games.
The 5-10 guard has scored in double-figures in five of eight games this season, while tallying eight points in the other three games. She posted a season high 23 points in the season opener against DePaul. Last season, Welch only scored in double-figures on four occasions during the non-conference schedule
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.
This year, Welch ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 12th in the NCAA with a 3-point percentage of .516. She is also seventh in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .589.
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 according to the OU coaching staff.
Over the last five games, Rush has been spectacularly consistent. Rush is averaging 13.8 points while shooting 63 (25-40) percent from the field, 85 percent (11-13) from 3-point range and 80 percent (8-10) at the free throw line. She has also committed just seven turnovers in 144 minutes of action.
On the season, Rush is shooting 71 (12-17) percent from 3-point range to lead the Big 12. She is also fifth in the league in field goal percentage at 59 percent.
Rush Moves Up To No. 15
During the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game senior Leah Rush surpassed Lisa Allison, for 15th place on the OU career scoring list. Rush currently has 1,201 points and is five shy of passing LaTrenda Phillips (1984-87) at No. 14 with 1,205.
OU is second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.11. Senior guard Britney Brown is second among Big 12 players with a 2.47 ratio. Last season OU was eighth in the Big 12 with a ratio of 0.89.
Home Court Advantage
OU is 2-0 at the Lloyd Noble Center this season, after going 12-1 on its home floor last season. OU owns a 91-19 (.827) home mark since the start of the 1998-99 season. The Sooners have won 10 straight home games.
Under Sherri Coale, OU is 96-34 (.736) at LNC. All-time, OU is 256-103 (.712) 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 outrebounded opponents by a minimum of nine in each game and owns a combined rebounding margin of +17.1, which currently ranks second in the Big 12. The Sooners lead Big 12 in rebounding defense (30.5), while ranking second in rebounding offense (47.6) and third in offensive rebounds (17.6) and defensive rebounds (30.0). Last season, OU collected 44.8 rebounds per game.
Glass cleaner Courtney Paris, who set the NCAA single season record for rebounds with 539 last season, is averaging 14.6 boards. Last season she averaged 15 per game. Amanda Thompson and Ashley Paris are also averaging 5.1 and 6.4, respectively.
The Sooners have collected 50 rebounds in three of seven games with a season high of 56 against DePaul.