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Sooners Roll In Exhibition Opener
November 01, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- In her first time on the court as a sophomore, Courtney Paris needed a little lift from a freshman.

Paris finished with 19 points and nine rebounds as Oklahoma opened exhibition play with an 88-56 win against Lake Truck on Wednesday night.

Paris didn't make her first field goal until more than 11 minutes into the game when freshman Nyeshia Stevenson drove the right baseline and set her up for a layup.

"I started off really slowly and just trying to figure it out and get into it," said Paris, who last season became the first true-freshman All-American selected by The Associated Press. "Nyeshia came in and got me going."

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Paris followed that layup with another basket off a second Stevenson assist and blocked three shots as Oklahoma opened a 29-14 lead with a 10-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Erin Higgins.

Paris was 7-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free-throw line.

"I would like to get in the flow better right off the bat," Paris said. "That's what exhibition games are for."

Higgins scored all 12 of her points in the first half, going 4-for-4 from 3-point range as the Sooners built a 43-24 halftime lead. It was her first action since surgery to repair a microfracture in her left knee. She didn't play in the second half.

"I want her to play just enough to maintain her timing and to have a sense of chemistry here early," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "She doesn't need to be playing, she doesn't go through a whole practice. We don't need her to do that."

All 14 players on Oklahoma's roster scored at least one point. The team's five freshmen combined to score 30 points, led by Stevenson's eight, in 74 minutes of playing time.

Paris' twin sister, Ashley, had 10 rebounds to lead all players.

Oklahoma, ranked No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, returns all five of its starters from last season's team that went undefeated in Big 12 play and won the conference tournament before losing in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Ke-Ke Tardy, who formerly played at LSU, scored 12 points to lead Lake Truck, a squad of former college players coached by Houston Comets assistant Kevin Cook. The team beat Houston and Duquesne in its first two games and plays defending national champion Maryland on Thursday.

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