First Place Battle at A&M Saturday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 08, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- First place in the Big 12 will be on the line when the No. 12/9 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (18-3, 8-2) travels to No. 16/19 Texas A&M (18-4, 8-2) Saturday for a 1 p.m. game at Reed Arena in College Station. 

The game will be telecast to a near-national audience by FSN (Cox channel 27 in OKC) with Bill Land and Brenda VanLangen calling the action.  OU fans can also listen to the game on KOKC-1520 AM (flagship station) and Yahoo! Radio (subscription) with the usual team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti.

The Sooners will be out to avenge a 54-52 loss to the Aggies, which ended the Sooners’ unprecedented 26-game Big 12 winning streak on Jan. 27.  OU’s 28 turnovers were the main factor in the loss, which was just the second in the last 19 meetings. 

 Game Notes | News Wire | Gameday Central | Season Stats

In front of a sellout crowd on Sunday, the Sooners put a 15-point defeat on Oklahoma State thanks to a 41 point, 19 rebound outburst by Courtney Paris.  The victory snapped a two-game skid and helped the Sooners remain atop the Big 12 standings.  Currently, OU, Texas A&M and Nebraska all have 8-2 records in league play.  OU and Texas A&M both own a tie breaker with Nebraska, thanks to head-to-head victories with the Huskers. 

Texas A&M is in the midst of a five game winning streak. The Aggies last loss came at Texas on Jan. 21.  The Aggies have been living dangerously with all but one of those victories coming by six or less points.  OU will also be up against an Aggie team that has an unblemished 13-0 home record this season.  A&M has continued its winning ways despite an injury to star forward Morenike Atunrase, who has only played nine minutes in the last three games.

After the road trip south, the Sooners will host Texas for “Pack the Place Pink Night” on ESPN2.  The Feb. 12 Big Monday contest will tip off at 6 p.m. Every fan in attendance will be provided a free pink OU t-shirt to promote the fight against breast cancer.

Setting The Scene
Date: Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007
Location: College Station, Texas
Venue: Reed Arena (12,500)
Tipoff: 1 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports Net (Cox channel 37 in OKC area)
Bill Land and Brenda VanLagen
FSN Coverage Map
Radio: KOKC-1520 AM (flagship) & Yahoo! Radio (subscription)
Radio Broadcast Info
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Tickets:  (800) 99-Aggie

 Pregame Media Center
  2006 Highlights: OU wins opening round with Texas
  2006 Highlights: Sooners survive scare in Austin
  O-Zone Audio: Amanda Thompson on A&M
  O-Zone Audio: Sherri Coale on A&M  The Okahoman: Audio with George Schroeder on article
  Bryan-College Station Eagle: Aggies look to beat Sooners - again
  Norman Transcript: Right time to meet Aggies again
  The Oklahoman: Sooners learned lesson from Aggies
  Tulsa World: Crucial stretch ahead  The Oklahoman: An inside look

Recap -OU 78, Oklahoma State 63
(AP) - Courtney Paris tied Oklahoma’s career double-doubles record with 41 points and 19 rebounds, and the No. 9 Sooners held Oklahoma State without a field goal for more than 10 minutes in a 78-63 win Sunday.

Paris matched Molly McGuire’s 54 career double-doubles from 1980-83 by reaching double figures in both points and rebounds for the 49th straight game.

Paris was 16-for-22 from the field and finished two points shy of matching her career high. It was her highest scoring output against a Big 12 opponent.

Oklahoma (18-3, 8-2 Big 12) took control by outscoring Oklahoma State 19-2 to end the first half, eliminating a nine-point deficit before they pulled away.

The Sooners have won the past 17 Bedlam rivalry games, and the last 11 by double figures. They avoided their first three-game losing streak since January 2004.

Rashidat Sadiq, a transfer from Connecticut, scored 16 points to lead Oklahoma State (15-7, 3-6). Andrea Riley had 11 points, and Danielle Green added 10.

The Cowgirls missed their last 11 shots of the first half and committed eight turnovers as the Sooners took over. Oklahoma went on a 9-2 run to start the second half, even as Oklahoma State finally broke a field-goal drought that lasted 10 1/2 minutes.

The Cowgirls had another scoring drought of 5 minutes in the second half, and the Sooners extended their lead to 50-32 after five consecutive points from Paris.

Oklahoma State used a 10-2 run, sparked by 3-pointers by Taylor Hardeman and Sadiq, to get to 52-42.

Paris came back with a layup off a high-low feed from twin sister Ashley, and then added a three-point play as the Sooners answered with a 7-0 run of their own.

Oklahoma State started out 10-for-15 from the field and used a 12-4 run to go up 25-16 on Sadiq’s jumper from the left side with 9:44 left in the half. The Cowgirls next basket came 59 seconds into the second half.

Jenna Plumley started the Sooners’ rally with a pair of free throws, and Oklahoma got within one after the Paris twins teamed up on a high-low move - with Ashley setting up Courtney’s layup down low with a pass from the high post - that led to a three-point play.

Cowgirls coach Kurt Budke responded by putting Sadiq back into the lineup with two fouls, but the move didn’t work. Courtney Paris put back her miss to give Oklahoma a 26-25 edge, and Sadiq’s third foul sent Britney Brown to the free-throw line for two foul shots - and Sadiq back to the bench.

Courtney Paris scored two more baskets around an Erin Higgins 3-pointer, and the Sooners led 35-27 at halftime.

Postgame Notes
Paris’ 23 points and 10 rebounds in the second half, marked the ninth time this season and 19th time in her career that she has collected a double-double in a single half ... She has accomplished the feat five times in 10 Big 12 games this season ... She also tied a career high for points in a half with 23.  She has done that three times, last vs. New Mexico (12-30-06) ... Oklahoma State shot 36.8 percent, making it the 18th of 21 opponents OU has held under 40 percent shooting this season, including its first nine opponents ... OU has won a record 39 straight games against unranked teams at home ... The streak dates back to a loss against SMU on Dec. 21, 2002. 

Previewing Texas A&M
Texas A&M, which has been ranked in the top-25 all season, is 18-4 overall and 8-2 in Big 12 play.  The Aggies are currently No. 16 in the AP Poll and No. 19 in the coaches poll.

TAMU is led by head coach Gary Blair, who owns a 460-206 career record that includes stops at Arkansas and Sam Houston State.  Blair is in his third season in College Station and has revamped the program.  TAMU has gone 66-47 under his watch and reached the NCAA Tournament last season.

OU has won 19 of the last 23 against Texas A&M and leads the all-time series 23-9.  The Sooners have won two straight in College Station and six of the last seven. All-time OU is 7-6 in College Station.

A&M is led by junior Morenike Atunrase, who was named to the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Atunrase has been playing on a bad ankle since the last meeting. She has only played nine minutes over the last three games.  Atunrase started against Missouri on Wednesday, but only played five first half minutes and did not collect a stat in any category.

The Aggies scoring leader is sophomore Takia Stars, who is averaging 13.5 points and 4.4 boards. Starks scored 11 points in the Aggies upset of OU on Jan. 27.

TAMU point guard Aquanesia Franklin is one of the fastest players in the league and one of the best floor generals. The junior guard is averaging 9.0 points and 4.6 assists, which is fourth in the conference. Franklin had 13 points and four rebounds when the team met in Norman last month.

Last season OU won 81-72 at Reed Arena in a fast paced game. The Aggies pressed OU for 40 minutes and the result was five players in double figures, including 18 for Courtney Paris and 16 for both Britney Brown and Chelsi Welch.

Jenna Plumley and Texas A&M guard/forward Danielle Gant (Putnam City North) played AAU ball together during their high school years.  Gant was recruited by OU in the same class as the Paris twins. At one point in high school, Gant and Plumley wanted to pursue their basketball careers at the same college.  That same Oklahoma Air Stars team also included Texas sophomore Earnesia Williams (Sapulpa HS).

Pregame Lay-Ups
OU moved down to No. 13 in the latest round of RPI numbers released by the NCAA on Feb. 6. 

OU dropped to No. 12 in the Associated Press Poll and tied for No. 9 in the Coaches Poll with George Washington, which ends a streak of 19 straight weeks in the top-10 of the AP Poll.  The Coaches Poll streak is extended to 20 straight weeks in the top-10.

Sherri Coale currently has 105 Big 12 wins, which is second among active coaches.  She trails league leader and Texas head coach Jody Conradt (110).

OU is 51-2 when it is ranked in the top-10 and the opponent is not ranked.  The losses came to Washington in the 2001 Sweet 16 and Texas this season.

OU has won a record 39 straight games against unranked teams at home. The streak dates back to a loss to SMU on Dec. 21, 2002.

Courtney Paris is averaging 19 rebounds over the last three games.  The All-American has recorded a double-double in one half on five occasions since the start of Big 12 play. OU has played 10 Big 12 games.

Pink OUt Planned for Texas | Be Pink on Feb. 12

The OU Athletics Department will also a hold a “Pack The Place Pink Night” for the Feb. 12 Red River Rivalry match up with Texas on ESPN2. In an effort to promote cancer awareness and early detection, free pink t-shirts will be placed in every seat and again fans are encouraged to put them on when they arrive.

The coaching staffs of both teams will all wear an item of pink and both squads will wear pink t-shirts during warm-ups.  Fans are encouraged to donate to the breast cancer research when they enter the arena. Volunteers will be available on the concourse to take donations.

Historic Defensive Stretch
OU has held 18 of 21 opponents, including its first nine opponents, below 40 percent shooting this season.  The previous record for consecutive opponents held below 40 percent was seven and set in 1984-85. 

The Sooners have held six opponents under 30 percent shooting, all in the last 14 games.  Earlier in the season, OU also held South Carolina, Arkansas Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado below 30 percent in consecutive outings. That streak is an OU record.  OU has held two straight opponents below 30 percent on eight occasions in the program history.

OU is first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at .333.  Only Ohio State (.450), Texas Tech (.443) and Texas (.435) have shot over 40 percent against OU this season.  The lowest mark was .224 by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado. Last season 24 of 36 opponents failed to reach the 40 percent mark against OU.

3-Point Threats Everywhere
While Erin Higgins is the most recognizable 3-point shooter on the OU roster, she hasn’t been the most proficient this season.  In fact, OU has three of the top seven long range shooters in the league.  Chelsi Welch (46.3) is second in the Big 12 and Leah Rush (44.4) ranks third. Britney Brown (34.6) and Jenna Plumley (36.4) are also shooting over 34 percent from long range.  Welch is also 11th in the Big 12 in makes per game at 1.55.  As a team OU ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 34rd nationally with a 3-point percentage of 35.9.

1,000 Point Club Membership | OU 1,000 Point Scorers
Three current Sooners - Leah Rush, Courtney Paris and Chelsi Welch - are in the OU 1,000 point club.  Rush reached the career milestone against Baylor on Feb. 12, 2006.  Courtney Paris and Chelsi Welch both reached it against Ohio State on Dec. 20, 2006.  It marks the third time that OU has had three 1,000 point scorers on the same team.  The other instances were 1994-95 (Angi Guffy, Mandy Wade and Etta Maytubby) and 2001-02 (Stacey Dales, LaNeishea Caufield, Caton Hill). Only 11 known NCAA Division I teams have had four players with 1,000 career points.

Erin Higgins is also closing in on the 1,000 career points and could reach the milestone by the end of the season.  Below is her projection, in terms of games needed to get to 1,000:

 Player  Points  Average   Projected Games
 Erin Higgins  922  7.6  10 Games

Giving Moore
Kendra Moore has cranked up her game during Big 12 play. The Sooner senior point guard has come off the bench to average 7.9 points since the start of Big 12 play.  The Ardmore, Okla.,  native has scored 79 of her season total of 95 points (83.1 percent) since the start of Big 12 play.  She is also averaging 2.2 steals per game during league action, which is the third-best mark in league play.

100,000 Fans
For the first time in program history, the OU women’s basketball team will likely go over 100,000 fans in a single season.  91,917 fans have turned out for nine home contests this season, which means OU should eclipse the 100,000 mark when Texas comes to town for the Big 12 Monday game on Feb. 12th.

OU sold a record 6,526 season tickets this year.  That has led to a record average attendance of 10,213.  The attendance average is currently the fourth best in Division I basketball, which is another program record.

Last year, OU had an average attendance of 7,630 over 13 contests.  They played in front of 99,188 fans and fell just short of the 1000,000 mark.

Higgins Heating Up
Erin Higgins began the season in a slump from 3-point land.  The OU all-time leader in 3-pointer made just 20 percent of her attempts in the first eight games and had just one multiple trey game during that span.

She has found her stroke in the last 13 games, shooting 39 percent and making 24 of 62 attempts.  She has tallied  80 points over that span after having 25 combined in the first eight games. On the season Higgins is shooting 32.0 percent from 3-point range.

Big 12 History
All-time, OU has a 105-65 (.615) Big 12 record under head coach Sherri Coale.  The Sooners have won four regular season titles (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006) and three Big 12 Championships (2002, 2004, 2006).  The Sooners were picked by the coaches to win the 2006-07 regular season title.

Since the 1999-00 season, OU has won 75 percent of its regular season Big 12 games for a record of 91-30.  That winning percentage is the best in the Big 12 during that time frame.

OU’s all-time wins total in regular season Big 12 play ranks third among member schools.  The Sooners trail No. 1 Texas Tech (123) and Texas (110).  Coale (105) is currently second in Big 12 wins among active coaches behind Jody Conradt (110) of Texas.

Last season Oklahoma became the first team in Big 12 history to run the table to a perfect 16-0 record in league play. Then OU won three straight Big 12 Tournament games to go 19-0 against the league in 2005-06.  The overall record is a Big 12 record.

This season marked the third time OU has started league play 7-0.  OU also accomplished the feat in 1999-00 and 2005-06.

Overall, OU is 56-27 (.675) in Big 12 games played at the Lloyd Noble Center and 48-38 (.558) in conference road contests.

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.  Rush is tied for second on the OU team in scoring at 10.2 points per game and is posting career highs in 3-point percentage (44.4), field goal percentage (51.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.82). She ranks third in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage and fifth in field goal percentage.

54 Double-Doubles, 49 Straight | The 411 on CP3
Courtney Paris has 54 career double-doubles in 57 career games.  She has recorded a double-double in 49 straight games.  The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.  The streak will be 429 days old when OU takes the court next.

50 Straight Double-Doubles | Every Paris Double-Double
Courtney Paris has collected a double-double in 49 straight games.  It is the longest known double-double streak in  the history of NCAA Division I women’s basketball and is nine longer than the longest stretch on the men’s basketball side.  CP3 will go for the half-century mark at Texas A&M Saturday.

Double-Double Reference
Largely due to the numbers put up by Courtney Paris, the NCAA is currently researching the national records for career double-doubles and consecutive double-doubles in women’s basketball. 

Since those records do not currently exist, the only comparison on the collegiate level is to the men’s side.  Below are the top five consecutive double-double streaks in men’s basketball history and the top five career double-double marks.

Double-Double Streaks
Courtney Paris 49 12-5-05-Present
Men's Record
1. Billy Cunnigham, N. Carolina 40 12/5/62-2/22/64
2. Jerry Lucas, Ohio State  38 1/23/60-3/11/61
3. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 33 12/31/58-1/2/60
4. Mel Counts, Oregon State 30 3/23/63-3/10/64
5. Lew Alcindor, UCLA 28 12/27/67-12/6/68
    Benoit Benjamin, Creighton 28 3/15/84-2/16/85




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Career Double-Doubles
Courtney Paris 54 2006-P
Men's Record Seasons Total
1. Tim Duncan, Wake Forest 4 87
2. Ralph Sampson, Virginia 4 84
3. Derrick Coleman, Syracuse 4 83
4. Malik Rose, Drexel 4 80
5. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 3 79