Sooners Fall to No. 8 Buckeyes

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 20, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Jessica Davenport made Courtney Paris work for her 38th consecutive double-double. She wouldn't let her escape with the win, too.

Marscilla Packer scored 15 points and Davenport added 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 8 Ohio State to a 74-67 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma on Wednesday night in a matchup of two of the country's best centers.

The Buckeyes (10-1) overcame Paris' 22 points and 13 rebounds to end a 23-game regular-season winning streak for the Sooners (9-1) that was the longest in the country.

While Paris had the more impressive stat line, Davenport got the last laugh for the second straight season. The preseason Big Ten player of the year hit two free throws with 7:15 left to give Ohio State the lead for good. Last season, it took a turnaround jumper with 3.4 seconds left for Davenport to push her team to a 75-71 victory against Oklahoma.

``Everybody had one main goal, and that was to win the game,'' Davenport said.

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Much of the focus before the game fell on Paris, who last season became the first freshman on AP's All-America team, and Davenport, who placed behind her on the second team.

Davenport set the tone early, swatting three of Paris' shots in the first eight minutes. The eventual result was Paris' least efficient game of the season. She took 24 shots and made only 10, finishing below 50 percent shooting for only the second time this season.

``Courtney's going to get what she's going to get,'' Davenport said. ``Just trying to make her shoot over you, that was our whole game plan.''

Paris, the Big 12 preseason player of the year, and Chelsi Welch scored all of the Sooners' points in a 10-0 run to start the second half. Paris tied the game by rebounding her own point-blank miss, and Welch put Oklahoma ahead with a 3-pointer from the left side. Paris' three-point play off a runout layup made it 46-40.

   Postgame Press Conference: Ohio State | Oklahoma

Davenport helped start Ohio State's push back with a three-point play that resulted in Paris' third foul with 14:39 left. The Buckeyes reclaimed the lead on Packer's 3-pointer that made it 52-51.

The teams traded the lead before Davenport put Ohio State ahead 61-60 on two free throws with 7:15 left, as Paris sat on the bench with four fouls. Brandie Hoskins made a driving layup and Star Allen added another basket inside to give the Buckeyes some breathing room at 69-64. Oklahoma had chances to close the gap but missed five straight shots.

Welch ended the drought with a 3-pointer to get Oklahoma within three in the final minute, but Erin Higgins' 3-pointer that would have brought the Sooners to 72-70 was negated when Paris was whistled for her fifth foul with 14.1 seconds left.

The result was Oklahoma's first regular-season loss since that January defeat at Ohio State.

``We're not losers. We don't like losing,'' Paris said. ``It feels bad, and you take a long time really to take off your shoes. You just want to go back out and fix it.''

Ohio State had a similar win streak snapped earlier this month against LSU, and spent the 10 days since working to fix mental mistakes that contributed to the loss.

``We've learned some lessons in difficult ways but it's a team that's starting to learn on the run,'' Buckeyes coach Jim Foster said. ``Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand.''

Welch had 14 points and Ashley Paris had 11 points while substituting for her foul-plagued twin sister, but the Sooners allowed Ohio State to shoot 45 percent - the highest total for an opponent this season. None of Oklahoma's last three opponents had even managed to shoot 30 percent, a record for defensive prowess for the Sooners.

Hoskins also had 14 points for the Buckeyes, who moved to 10-0 while holding opponents below 50 percent from the field.



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