NORMAN, Okla. -- For the eighth consecutive season the Oklahoma women’s basketball team will chase a National Championship in the NCAA Tournament. No. 3 seed OU (26-4) opens the tournament against No. 14 seed Southeast Missouri State in the Austin Subregional on Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. Central. OU is part of the Dayton Regional with powerhouses Tennessee & Maryland.
Saturday's game will air live on ESPN2 with Dave Barnett (play-by-play), Van Chancellor (color) and Holly Rowe (sideline) calling the action. The Sooners Sports Radio Network will also broadcast the game on flagship station KOKC-1520 AM and on all SSN affiliates with the regular team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti calling the action.
Oklahoma has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 times and has a 14-9 all-time record. The Sooners have won their opener eight times. OU has advanced to the Sweet 16 five times, including four times under the current 64-team format. In 2002, the Sherri Coale led team reached its first and only Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship Game.
Oklahoma enters the game on an eight-game winning streak that was capped with a second consecutive Big 12 Postseason Championship. The Sooners dropped Iowa State, 67-60, to clinch their conference leading fourth postseason title. OU shared the regular season title with Texas A&M. It was the fifth regular season title in the 11-year history of the Big 12.
2007 Big 12 Player of the Year Courtney Paris is leading OU in scoring (23.6), rebounding (16.2), blocks (3.5) and field goal percentage (.567). Freshman Jenna Plumley has emerged as the starting point guard and has averaged 9.7 points over the last nine games. Gritty senior Leah Rush is second on the team in scoring (9.5) and is coming off a Big 12 Tournament, in which she averaged 11.3 points and earned all-tourney honors.
Player To Watch
With the nation turning its eyes towards March Madness and much of the women’s basketball world focused on the happenings in Austin, Sooner sophomore Courtney Paris will surely draw a large share of that spotlight. That’s fine with Paris, who averaged 27.7 points and 14 rebounds in her NCAA Tournament debut last season. Not much has affected the ultra-consistent center. The Sooner sophomore enters the tournament with a NCAA record streak of 58 straight double-doubles and has never been held below 12 points in 66 career games.
Setting The Scene
Date: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Venue: Erwin Center (16,755)
Tipoff: 11 a.m. Central
TV Talent: Dave Barnett, Van Chancellor & Holly Rowe
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio Network & Yahoo! Radio (subscription)
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Radio Broadcast Info
Tickets: (800) 982-BEVO
Willcall: Red River Entrance
700 - 500 - 100
Last season Courtney Paris became the first player in NCAA history to score 700 points, clear 500 rebounds and block 100 shots in a single season. She is on the verge of accomplishing the feat again.
Courtney Paris is 15 rebounds shy of 500. She already has 707 points and 105 blocks. Paris is averaging 16.2 rebounds per game this season.
Last season Paris accomplished the feat in OU’s NCAA opener vs. Pepperdine, which was the 33rd game of the year.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Courtney Paris needs five points to reach 1,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. If she accumulates those points in the next four games, she will be the fastest player in NCAA history to the milestone if she reaches it against Southeast Missouri, which is her 67th career game. Molly McGuire (2,147 points, 1,071 rebounds) and Caton Hill (1,653 points, 1,052 rebounds) are the only players in OU history with at least 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. Only five players - Sophia Young, Stacy Stephens, Angie Welle, Kendra Wecker and Hill - have eclipsed 1,000 career points and rebounds during the Big 12 era.
The Naismith Exception
Of the four finalists for the Naismith Award, which is given to the top women’s basketball player by the Atlanta Tip Off Club, Courtney Paris is the only player to lead her team to both her conference regular season and postseason championship. Lindsey Harding and Duke lost in the ACC semifinals to NC State. Candace Parker and Tennessee lost in the SEC semifinals to LSU. Jessica Davenport and Ohio State lost in the Big 10 title game to Purdue.
OU in the NCAA Tournament
The Oklahoma women’s basketball team is making its eighth straight and 10th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. It is the second time OU has been a No. 3 seed. The other instance was in 2004, when OU reached the second round before losing to Stanford. OU has the longest active NCAA Tournament streak in the Big 12. OU is 14-9 in the NCAA Tournament. OU has reached five Sweet 16s, four under the current 64-team format. OU has reached the Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship Game on one occasion, all during the 2002 season. OU is 12-7 under Sherri Coale in NCAA Tourney.
IF Oklahoma Wins...
It will advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in 10 appearances.
It will play the winner of No. 6 Marquette and No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette. OU has never faced either program.
It will have won all four meetings with Southeast Missouri.
It will not become the sixth No. 3 seed to lose it opening game.
It will extend its winning streak to nine games, which equals its longest this season. OU began the season with nine straight wins before falling to fellow Dayton Regional participant Ohio State.
Pregame Lay Ups
Oklahoma was No. 7 in the final RPI rankings and received a No. 3 seed. They were the lowest seeded team among the top eight in RPI.
The top four seeds in the Dayton Regional were in the top-9 in the NCAA’s final RPI rankings. Tennessee was No. 1, Maryland No. 6 and Ohio State No. 9.
OU and SEMO will tip-off the 2007 NCAA Tournament literally. The Sooners and Redhawks will be the first teams to hit the court with the early start time of 11 a.m. Three other games are scheduled to tipoff during the opening half of the 11 a.m. hour.
OU faced eight NCAA Tournament teams during the regular season and posted a 9-3 record against those teams. The losses came to Texas A&M (twice) and Ohio State.
OU is just 3-11 all-time in the city of Austin. All of those games have been against Texas. OU has never played a neutral site game in Austin.
Courtney Paris averaged 20 points, 17.7 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in taking MVP honors of the Big 12 Tournament. Paris has averaged 22.8 points, 17.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in two career conference tournaments.
Courtney Paris averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Her combined postseason averages - conference tournament and NCAA tournament - are 24.4 points, 16.3 rebounds and 3.5 blocks.
Courtney Paris’ double-double streak is at 58 games, which is the longest known streak in men’s or women’s Division I basketball. She’ll need to extend her streak onto a professional career if she ever hopes to catch Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record and the longest known basketball record of 227 consecutive double-doubles.
OU has won 35 of 41 games away from Norman over the last two seasons.
Leah Rush has scored the opening basket of the game for OU in the last three games. She hit a trey to open OU’s scoring against Baylor and Iowa State and nailed a jumper to open the scoring against Texas.
OU is 48-61 all-time against ranked opponents. This season OU is 6-3 against ranked teams with wins over UCLA, Baylor (three times), DePaul and New Mexico.
A potential matchup with No. 22/21 Marquette would be the 10th ranked opponent for OU this season. OU is 42-33 when it is ranked and facing a ranked team.
Closing Books on Big 12 Regular Season
Oklahoma won its fifth Big 12 Regular Season Championship (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007). Thanks to a 13-3 record, OU shared the title with Texas A&M. It marked the second time the Sooners have shared a league title. The other time was in 2000, when it was shared with Iowa State and Texas Tech. It marks the fifth time OU has won 13 or more Big 12 games.
During Big 12 play, OU led all teams in 10 of 19 statistical categories: scoring (74.2), scoring margin (+10.4), field goal percentage (.444), field goal percentage defense (.359), rebounding offense (46.9), rebounding defense (34.4), rebounding margin (+12.4), assists (14.3), offensive rebounds (16.5), and defensive rebounds (30.4). The Sooners broke conference only Big 12 records for total rebounds (750), offensive rebounds (264), defensive rebounds (486) and rebounding margin (+12.4).
On an individual basis Courtney Paris led all players in eight categories: scoring (24.3), points (389), rebounding (16.5), total rebounds (264), blocks per game (3.75), total blocks (60), offensive rebounds (98) and defensive rebounds (166). Paris broke the conference only Big 12 records for rebounds (264), defensive rebounds (166), offensive rebounds (98), free throw attempts (146) and blocks (60).
Big Postseason 12 Awards
Player of the Year - Courtney Paris
Defensive Player of the Year - Courtney Paris
All Big 12
Courtney Paris, First Team
Erin Higgins, Honorable Mention
Leah Rush, Honorable Mention
Chelsi Welch, Honorable Mention
All-Big 12 Defensive Team - Courtney Paris
All-Big12 Freshmen Team - Amanda Thompson
Big 12 Tournament MVP Courtney Paris
All-Big 12 Tournament Team -
Academic All-Big 12 -
Erin Higgins, first team
Leah Rush, first team
Ashley Paris (4.0 GPA), first team
Chelsi Welch (4.0 GPA), first team
Kendra Moore, second team
Preview Southeast Missiouri State
Southeast Missouri State is 24-7 on the season and reached the NCAA Tournament by automatic bid as the Ohio Valley Conference tournament champions. The Redhawks also won the OVC regular season title with a 16-4 mark.
SEMO and OU have three common opponents - Baylor, Tulsa and Eastern Kentucky. SEMO lost to Baylor and Tulsa by an average of 23.5 points. The Redhawks beat Eastern Kentucky twice by a total of three points. OU was 5-0 against Baylor (three wins), Tulsa and EKU this season.
SEMO is making its second consecutive appearance in the BIg Dance and enters with a nine-game win streak.
SEMO head coach John Ishee was elevated from interim coach on March 5, two days after leading the Redhawks to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament title. Ishee was named interim coach last November when B.J. Smith resigned. Ishee was named OVC’s coach of the year after leading SEMO to its second straight regular season crown.
The most notable player on the SEMO roster is senior center Lachelle Lyles, who leads the NCAA and Courtney Paris with a rebounding average of 17.2. Paris led the country as the freshman but will need some help and huge numbers to catch Lyles this season. Lyles is fifth on the SEMO team in scoring at 8.5 points per game.
SEMO features four players that are scoring in double figures. The leading scorer is sophomore Sonya Daugherty at 13.8 points. Forward Missy Whitney is second on the squad at 13.1 ppg and leads the team with 82 assists. 5-6 guard Tarina Nixon is third in scoring at 11.1 and leads the team in steals with 51. The fourth player in double figures is junior guard Ashley Lovelady, who is contributing 10.1 ppg.
OU and SEMO met in 2002, 2003 and 2004 at the Lloyd Noble Center. OU won those contests by an average of 28.3 points. In 2004 SEMO and OU were tied at 38 at halftime before OU pulled away in the second half for a 22-point win.
A First In NCAA History
Saturday’s NCAA Tournament match-up between Southeast Missouri’s Lachelle Lyles and Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris will be one for the ages, literally. Never before in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history have two players with such prolific rebound rates met during the regular season or NCAA Tournament. Lyles leads the country in rebounding at 17.2 boards per game, which is on pace to be the fifth best in NCAA history. Courtney Paris is second this season at 16.2 boards per game, which is on pace to rank 10th in the NCAA books. Combined they are averaging 33.4 rebounds.
The only other time two players in the current NCAA top-20 for rebound average met was on Feb. 12, 1983 when Mississippi Valley State’s Darlene Jones and Delta State’s Deborah Temple squared off. Jones averaged 15.7 boards that season and Temple averaged 15.6. Delta State won the game 84-69.
That's My Record
Courtney Paris set the NCAA single season record for rebounds with 539 as a freshman last season. SEMO’s Lachelle Lyles has 517 rebounds this season and is 22 shy of tying that record thanks to her output of 17-plus boards per game. Lyles was on pace to eclipse the mark in the NCAA opener but fell off her mark with a 10-board performance against Murray State in the OVC Tournament title game. Paris (485) is currently 55 shy of eclipsing her own record.
63 Double-Doubles, 58 Straight | Every Paris Double-Double
Courtney Paris has 63 career double-doubles in 66 career games. She has recorded a double-double in 58 straight games. The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005. The streak will be 474 days old when OU takes the court next.
58 Straight Double-Doubles | The 411 on CP3
Courtney Paris has collected a double-double in 58 straight games. It is the longest known double-double streak in the history of NCAA Division I women’s basketball and is 18 longer than the best stretch on the men’s basketball side.
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.
Climbing the NCAA Charts
Courtney Paris’ current season rebound average of 16.2 is the ninth best mark in NCAA history. The record is 18.5 rpg by Rosina Pearson of Bethune Cookman in 1984-85.
Paris’ 485 rebounds is the fifth best total in NCAA history. It trails her own record of 539 set as freshman last season. CP3 could reach her own mark if OU advances far enough in the tourney, which is impressive considering OU has played three less games this season than it had at the start of the NCAA tourney last year.
CP3’s Latest NCAA record
It’s that time of year, when the regular season wraps up and Courtney Paris accumulates NCAA records. The Sooner sophomore reached 1,000 career rebounds in the second half against Baylor on Thursday, March 8. She needed 65 career games to reach 1,000. Her pace to 1,000 career boards is the fastest in NCAA history, besting the previous best of 71 games by Drake’s Wanda Ford by six games.
Ford is also the NCAA career rebound and career average record holder. Ford had 1,887 rebounds for the Bulldogs from 1983-86. She averaged 16.1 rebounds per game during her four year career.
The Next NCAA Record?
Courtney Paris is quickly approaching 1,500 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She is five points shy of 1,500 and reached 1,000 career rebounds against Baylor on March 8. Since she is already the fastest to 1,000 career rebounds, Paris will set the NCAA mark for quickest pace to 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds if she scores five points in the next four games.
Molly McGuire (2,147 points, 1,071 rebounds) and Caton Hill (1,653 points, 1,052 rebounds) are the only players in OU history with at least 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. Only five players - Sophia Young, Stacy Stephens, Angie Welle, Kendra Wecker and Hill - have eclipsed 1,000 career points and rebounds during the Big 12 era.
Paris Leads NCAA
For the second consecutive season, Courtney Paris appears among the NCAA statistical leaders more than any player in the country. Paris ranks in the top 10 in four categories: double-doubles, points, rebounds and blocks. She is also 16th in field goal percentage. No other player in the NCAA ranks in the top 10 in more than two categories. Below are Paris’ rank and stats: