OU Sends Out Seniors with Win

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 04, 2009
Photos Box Score | PhotosCoach & Player Quotes | Photos Game Notes
  1st 2nd F
TTU 28 21 49
OU 25 36 61

Video  SoonerVision OU-Texas Tech Game Highlights
Photos  OU vs. Texas Tech Photo Gallery | OU Photo Store

 Stats Comparison OU TTU
 Points 61 49
 FG Made-Attempted 23-54 15-47
 FG Percentage 42.6 31.9
 3FG Made-Attempted 2-8 2-9
 3FG Percentage 25.0


 FT Made-Attempted 13-21 17-20
 FT Percentage 61.9 85.0
 Rebounds 40 29
 Assists 14 6
 Turnovers 23 24
 OU Stat Leaders
 TTU Stat Leaders
 Robinson 18
11  2 players
 C. Paris 16
6  Roberson
 Robinson 6
2  Murphree
 Thompson 4
5  Roberson
 C. Paris 4
0  -

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- When it came time for Courtney Paris to take the microphone and give a speech following the final home game of her illustrious career, she said something that can't come to mind all that often: "I'm bad at this."

Paris got choked up at the chance to address her teammates, coaches, family and fans -- then proved that she's not even bad at public speaking either.

Paris followed another in a record-setting career full of double-doubles with an entertaining speech Tuesday night after No. 3 Oklahoma survived a sloppy senior night to beat Texas Tech 61-49 and clinch the Big 12 championship outright.

"This has been an awesome year, and I can't imagine ending my senior year any better way," said Paris, the Sooners' All-America center and the best rebounder ever to play the women's game.

Paris had 12 points and 16 rebounds in her final game at the Lloyd Noble Center for the 123rd double-double of her career, then followed a speech full of laughs with a guarantee.

"We're going to win a national championship this year," Paris said, bringing the crowd to its feet. "We're going to win one. And if we don't -- which is not even an option -- just to put something on the line, I will personally -- it might take me the rest of my life, but I will pay back my scholarship because I didn't do what I said I would do."

Danielle Robinson added 18 points and Courtney's twin sister, Ashley, had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Sooners (26-3, 14-1 Big 12) overcome 23 turnovers. It was the 123rd double-double of Courtney Paris' career and the 16th this season for Ashley Paris.

"There's no doubt that they're twins, is there? If one does it, the other one's got to do it," Sooners coach Sherri Coale told the crowd after the game. "And that's just the perfect way to finish this off."

Red and white balloons dropped from the ceiling as the Sooners were presented with their sixth Big 12 championship trophy immediately after the game and before a ceremony to honor the Paris twins and fellow senior Carolyn Winchester.

Courtney started crying as she walked down a red carpet with her family, including Ashley, and started hugging her teammates.

"It's great for them to end their careers here like this -- with a Big 12 championship," Robinson said.

Clutching her own string of net, she added: "This is only a start, and we're ready for what's next."

After the Sooners trailed at halftime at home for only the second time this season, Robinson scored the final six points in a 10-0 surge that pushed Oklahoma ahead to stay. Her last two points came on a pair of free throws following a technical foul called against Kierra Mallard during a scrum for a loose ball, and that made it 38-30 with 16:09 to play.

The Lady Raiders, needing an impressive win to bolster their NCAA tournament resume, got as close as 40-38 on Moore's 3-pointer before Oklahoma scored the next seven points. The Sooners didn't lead by double digits until Ashley Paris made back-to-back layups in the final 2 minutes.

"Winning the Big 12 Conference title is the toughest thing you can do because it's a duration, a show of your body of work over the course of 2 1/2 months," Coale said. "We've been better on most nights than anybody else in this league, and that's why we get this hardware."

Mallard and Dominic Seals led Texas Tech (15-14, 5-10) with 11 points apiece, and Maria Moore scored 10.

The Sooners continued a disturbing trend, though, with postseason play drawing near. In the three games since guard Whitney Hand broke a finger on her left hand, Oklahoma has had two of its three highest turnover totals of the season.

It's the primary shortcoming that dogged the Sooners last season, and eventually helped cause their early demise in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Nyeshia Stevenson, who replaced Hand in the starting lineup, turned it over five times and went 2-for-8 from the field before sitting the final 15 minutes of the game. But she was hardly alone. Robinson, the starting point guard, had four turnovers and three other players had three apiece.

Fortunately for Oklahoma, the Lady Raiders were even less efficient with the ball. They turned it over 24 times and had only 15 baskets.

"Just like I told our three freshmen and our sophomores, this is where we want to be. This is we want to feel like when the buzzer goes off a year or two or three years down the road," Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "We're trying to get back to the point where they are."

The Lady Raiders seemed to be positioning themselves for a return to the tournament after an upset of No. 13 Texas A&M last month, but have lost five of six games since then. Nine of their losses have come against ranked opponents -- including two apiece to Oklahoma and No. 5 Baylor.

"All we can do down the stretch is compete and fight and claw and scrape. That's what we're all about," Curry said. "Hopefully the committee will take into consideration that we are in the (Big 12) South."



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