WBB Back on Court for Bedlam Opener

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 16, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- Coming off an unexpected seven day layoff, the No. 7/6 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) is ready to put the bad weather behind them and shouldn’t need much motivation for the opening round of Bedlam in Stillwater. OU and Oklahoma State (14-2, 2-1) will meet at Gallagher Iba Arena on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Oklahoma State and Host Communications are broadcasting the game, which will air live on Fox Sports Southwest with John Holcomb and Patti Phillips.  Sooner fans can listen to the OU radio broadcast team of Brian Brinkley and Tara DeGiusti on KOKC 1520 AM in the Oklahoma City area.

OU comes into the opening round of the Bedlam Series, presented by Bank of Oklahoma and your local Ford Dealers, after having their Sunday game against Texas Tech postponed until Jan. 22 because of the severe weather that created hazardous travel conditions for the Lady Raiders. Now the trip to Stillwater becomes game three of an unprecedented four game Big 12 road trip.  It is also the first of four games in the next eight days, which is by far the busiest stretch of the season.

 Game Notes | News Wire | Gameday Central | Season Stats

OU has won 15 straight games against OSU, dating back to 2000, but this is a much improved Cowgirl team.  Oklahoma State is tied for second place in the Big 12 with a 2-1 record.  Last season the Pokes went 0-16 in Big 12 play.  Head coach Kurt Budke’s squad has been overhauled with only one starter back and just four players from last season garnering significant minutes.  Junior college transfer Maria Cordero is the Pokes leading scorer (16.5) and rebounder (6.2).  The 6-3 center is barely outscoring UConn transfer Rashidat Sadiq, who is netting 13 per game.

OU will complete its four game road trip at Colorado at 8 p.m. on Saturday.  The contest will air live on Fox Sports Southwest.  After the trip to the Rockies, OU will play Texas Tech (Jan. 22), Iowa State (Jan. 24) and No. 19 Texas A&M (Jan. 27) at home in the span of six days.

Setting The Scene
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007
Location: Stillwater, Okla.
Venue: Gallagher Iba Arena (13,611)
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports Southwest in Oklahoma City market
KMYT in Tulsa market
TV Talent: John Holcomb & Patti Phillips
Radio: KOKC (1520 AM), Yahoo! Radio
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Radio Broadcast Info
Tickets:  (405) 744-5745

Player To Watch
Nobody understands the Bedlam rivalry better than Sooner senior point guard Britney Brown, who was born and raised in Norman.  In her last outing against Oklahoma State, Brown scored 11 points, which was a personal best against the Cowgirls.  This season Brown is averaging 3.8 points and 4.2 assists.  She has never lost to the Pokes, going 6-0 since she arrived in 2003-04.

 Pregame Media Center
  Highlights: Sooners win big in Stillwater (2006)
  Highlights: OU completes Bedlam sweep (2006)
  O-Zone Audio: Sherri Coale on Bedlam
  O-Zone Audio: Britney Brown on Bedlam
  O-Zone Audio: Nyeshia Stevenson on Big 12 play
  Kansas City Star: Teleconference notebook
  Norman Transcript: Not the same old Bedlam
  The Oklahoman: Cowgirls hope to close gap
  Tulsa World: Bedlam win not so far fetched for Cowgirls
  Sooner Blog Spot: The Sooner Fellas

Recap - at Baylor
(AP) - Courtney Paris scored 21 of her 32 points after halftime when the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners overcame a 10-point deficit and went on to a 76-63 victory over No. 9 Baylor on Wednesday night.

Oklahoma extended its record Big 12 winning streak to 22 games.

The Sooners (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) were down 39-29 after consecutive baskets by Jhasmin Player sandwiched two missed free throws by Paris in the opening minute of the second half. After that, Baylor (15-2, 2-1) couldn’t do anything to slow down Oklahoma’s dominating 6-foot-4 sophomore center and had its 12 game-winning streak snapped.

Paris then had a layup, the first of her 17 points in a 29-17 stretch over 10 1/2 minutes that put Oklahoma ahead to stay. The final go-ahead basket came with 7:44 left when Paris, after having the ball knocked out of her hands, recovered it under the basket and made a layup to make it 58-56.

Paris also had 16 rebounds, her 42nd straight double-double. She averaged 26 points and 19 rebounds in three victories over Baylor last season.

Chelsi Welch and Leah Rush both had 13 points for Oklahoma, and Rush also had 13 rebounds.

Bernice Mosby, a transfer from Florida, led Baylor with 26 points and 11 rebounds. It was her 10th 20-point game this season. Jessica Morrow had 13 points.

It was the 100th Big 12 victory (with 63 losses) for the Sooners and coach Sherri Coale, who last year were the first team to go undefeated in the 11-year-old league. They were the unanimous preseason pick to win their fifth Big 12 title this season - and are off to a great start.
The Sooners also have won 16 straight regular-season games away from Norman, Okla., matching the Big 12 record for consecutive road victories. Their only loss this season was 74-67 at home to No. 6 Ohio State last month.

Baylor’s last field goal came with 5:20 left when Mosby scored to get the Lady Bears within three at 63-60.

There were six lead changes in the first 4 minutes of the game before Baylor went up 14-9 after consecutive baskets by Mosby.

The Lady Bears led 18-14 until Paris made the first of two free throws, then Ashley Paris rebounded the missed second one and made a layup. That started a 9-0 run for the Sooners.

But consecutive turnovers by Ashley Paris led to Morrow’s breakaway layup and a free throw, and then Mosby’s basket to put Baylor back in front 26-25. Oklahoma had nine turnovers in the final 5 minutes of the first half and trailed 35-28 at the break.

Postgame Notes
OU improved to 4-1 against ranked team and 1-1 against top-10 teams.
OU held Baylor without a three point on 13 attempts.  In the previous game, OU held Nebraska to 1-17 shooting from long range.
The 32 point outing marked the seventh 30 point game of Courtney Paris’ career.  It was also the 30th time she has scored at least 20 and collected at least 10 boards, and the 20th time she has reached 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Paris attempted 27 shots, which is a career high and tied for the highest total during the Coale era.  Phylesha Whaley took 27 shots against Texas in 1998.
Paris has averaged 27.5 points and 18 rebounds in four career games against Baylor.  She eclipsed 1,100 career points in her 50th consecutive start last Wednesday.  That is the quickest pace in Big 12 and OU history.

Previewing Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State is off to the third best start in program history at 15-2 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play.  The Cowgirls snapped a 25-game conference losing streak with a defeat of Kansas during midweek action last week.  Then last weekend they ended a 26 game road skid with an impressive win over Iowa State in Ames on Saturday.

Head coach Kurt Budke has quickly turned around the program in just his second season.  The Cowgirls win over Iowa State on Saturday was the 100th of Budke’s Division I coaching career.  Prior to his arrival in Stillwater, Budke headed the Louisiana Tech program, where he lead the Techsters to an 80-16 record in three seasons.

O-State’s two losses have come at the road at Arkansas State (by 13 points) and at Texas Tech (by 26 points).  The Cowgirls are perfect at home, 10-0, with impressive wins over Pacific and Fresno State.

OSU is led by a pair of transfers. The leading scorer and rebounds is junior college transfer Maria Cordero, who is averaging 13.5 and 6.6.  Second on the squad in scoring is UConn transfer Rashidat Sadiq, who is averaging 13 points and 6.1 boards.  Anther juco transfer, Danielle Green, is also averaging double figures at 11 points per game.

Freshman Andrea Riley is one of the early favorites for Big 12 Freshman of the Year.  The Dallas Lincoln high school product is leading all Big 12 freshman in assists (5.6), steals (2.2) while ranking second in scoring at (11.0). 

Last season OU swept the series from OSU for the seventh consecutive season.  OU won by 34 in Stillwater and by 16 in Norman.  At Gallagher Iba last season, OU had six players score in double figures.

OU leads the all-time series 43-34 with wins in 17 of the last 18 meetings.  OU is 17-16 in Stillwater and has not lost at Gallagher Iba since 1998.

 Sooners vs. OSU PTS REB Career High
Brown   5.2 2.7 11 points (1-31-06)
Higgins  8.8 2.8 16 points (3-3-05)
Moore 3.2 1.7 10 points (1-14-06) 
A. Paris    5 4.5 8 points (1-31-06)
C. Paris   14.5 14 17 points (1-31-06)
Rush    8 5.3 15 points (twice)
Sanchez    2.6 1.2 5 points (1-17-04)
Welch    11.9 2.8 18 points (3-1-03)

Texas Tech Postponement
The Big 12 Conference postponed the OU-Texas Tech game scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 14 because of forecasted severe weather and hazardous road conditions in the Southwest region.  The administration at the conference and schools agreed to reschedule the game for Monday, Jan. 22.  The tip time and television broadcast information have not been announced yet.

Pregame Lay-Ups
OU is 46-1 when it is ranked in the top-10 and the opponent is not ranked.  The lone loss came to Washington in the 2001 Sweet 16.

OU is 9-0 away from Norman this season and 7-0 in true road games.

Leah Rush started her 100th consecutive game and Courtney Paris started her 50th straight against Baylor. The OU record for consecutive starts is 133 by Stacey Dales (1999-02).

OU is 4-1 against ranked foes in 2006-07 with wins over No. 20 DePaul, No. 21 UCLA and No. 25/22 New Mexico and No. 9 Baylor.  It’s only loss came to No. 8 Ohio State. 

  OU is averaging 80.4 points and 18.3 assists.  Both numbers are up from last season when OU averaged 76.3 points and 16.8 assists.

OU has held nine of its last 10 opponents under 10 assists.  The stretch began with seven straight under 10 and was snapped by Kansas State.  The last 10 opponents have averaged just 7.8 assists, with a low of five by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and a high of 14 by Kansas State

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: points, rebounds, blocks and field goal percentage.  No other player in the NCAA ranks in the top 10 in more than two categories. 

Historic Defensive Stretch
OU has held 13 of 14 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.  OU has held its last four opponents under 40 percent shooting.

The Sooners have held five opponents under 30 percent shooting, all in the last eight 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 had held two straight opponent below 30 percent on eight occasions in OU history. 

OU is first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at .319.  Only Ohio State (.450) has shot over 40 percent against OU this season.  The lowest mark was a .224 by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado. Last season 24 of 36 opponents failed to reach the 40 percent mark against OU.

The Winning Streaks

OU has won a Big 12 record 22 straight games against conference teams (including last year’s postseason championship) and 20 straight regular season games  - 16 last year, one in 2004-05 - against conference foes.  The Sooners have also won nine straight Big 12 home games and 11 straight Big 12 road games.  The previous record for consecutive wins was 16 by the 2000-01 OU team.

OU has won 16 straight regular season games away from Norman, which is tied for the Big 12 record.  The streak includes true road games and games at neutral sites. OU originally established the record with 16 straight wins from December 2000 to December 2001.

OU has won 14 straight regular season true road games, which is a Big 12 record.  The previous record was 11 games and was set by OU from December 2000 to December 2001.

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 the 1,000 career points.

Erin Higgins is also closing in on the 1,000 career points and should, based on her career scoring average, reach the milestone this season:

 Player  Points  Average   Projected Games
 Erin Higgins  884  7.8  15 Games

Paris & Putbacks
23 (75-327) percent of Courtney Paris’ points this season have come after she pulled down an offensive rebound.  Of that total, 32 have come after her own miss, 36 have come after her teammates’ misses and seven have come at the free throw line after being fouled after an offensive board.

Double-Double Streak Over 40 | Paris' Double-Doubles
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in 42 straight games.  The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.  The streak will be 405 days old when OU takes the court next.

The Half Double-Double
Courtney Paris has recorded a double-double in a single half on 15 occasions (6 first half, 9 second half).  She has five single half double-doubles this season: UCLA (second half), Tulsa (first half), Baylor (second half) and in both halves against New Mexico.

Last year her four first half double-dips came against BYU, Texas (second meeting), UCLA and SMU.  Her second half double-doubles were against New Mexico (twice), Illinois, Michigan State, Texas (first meeting) and Baylor (second meeting).  As usual, Paris shines in the brightest spotlight with eight of these double-doubles coming against ranked teams.  Paris’ career high for points in a half is 23 (Michigan State, 12-21-05, and New Mexico, 12/30/06).  Her career high for rebounds in a half is 14 set against Baylor in second frame of the 2006 Big 12 Championship.

Double Figure Twins
Courtney Paris and Ashley Paris have scored in double figures in the same game on 12 occasions, including five times this season. The 12 occasions account for all 12 double figures games of Ashley’s career.  Additionally, the twins have posted a double-double in the same game on five occasions, including once this season.  OU is 11-1 when the low post twins reach 10 or more points and 5-0 when they both record a double-double.

The Bedlam Series | Complete Standings
Oklahoma trails Oklahoma State 3-2 in the annual Bedlam Series, presented by Bank of Oklahoma and your Oklahoma Ford Dealers.  OU claimed a two-point win in football, but has cropped points in soccer, cross country and wrestling.

Coale, OU Win 100th Big 12 Game
OU head coach Sherri Coale, who has been at the helm for the entire Big 12 era, won her and the program’s 100th Big 12 game at Baylor on Jan. 10, 2007.  Coale is third among active coaches in Big 12 wins behind Jody Conradt (106) of Texas and Bill Fennelly (101) of Iowa State.

Big 12 History
All-time, OU has a 100-63 (.613) 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 76 percent of its regular season Big 12 games for a record of 87-28.  That winning percentage is the best in the Big 12 during that time frame.

OU’s all-time record in regular season Big 12 play ranks fourth among member schools.  The Sooners trail No. 1 Texas Tech (119-44), Texas (105-57) and Iowa State (101-62).  Coale has the third most Big 12 wins among active coaches trailing Jody Conradt (106) of Texas and Bill Fennelly (101) of Iowa State.

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 Championship games to go 19-0 against the league this in 2005-06.  The overall record is a Big 12 record.

This season marks the fourth time OU has started 3-0.  A win against Oklahoma State would mark the fourth time OU has started 4-0.

Overall, OU is 54-26 (.675) in Big 12 games played at the Lloyd Noble Center and 46-37 (.554) in conference road contests.

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 five games, shooting 48 percent and making 12 of 25 attempts.  She has tallied 42 points over that span after having 25 combined in the first eight games.

On the season Higgins is shooting 31.7 percent from 3-point range.

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 four 3-point shooters in the league.  Chelsi Welch (52.1) ranks second, Leah Rush (48.3 percent) ranks third and Jenna Plumley (46.2 percent) would rank fifth if she had one more make. Welch is also sixth in the Big 12 in makes per game at 1.79.  As a team OU is third in the league with a 3-point percentage of 38.5, while ranking fifth in attempts.

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 according to the OU coaching staff.

Rush is third on the OU team in scoring at 10.2 points per game and is posting career highs in 3-point percentage (48.3), field goal percentage (.520) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.14).

She ranks third in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage and 11th in field goal percentage.

Rush Keeps Moving up the Charts
During the New Mexico game senior Leah Rush surpassed Jo Mosely for 13th place on the OU career scoring list.  Rush currently has 1,248 points and is 54 shy of No. 12 Angie Alexander with 1,302.  Rush began the season ranked No. 18 on the OU career scoring list.

Welch Off To Strong Start
Chelsi Welch is off to a fast start to her senior season. Most recently she became the 21st member of the OU 1,000 point club when she scored 14 points against Ohio State on Dec. 20.

The 5-10 guard has scored in double-figures in nine games this season, while tallying eight points in three others.  She posted a season high 23 points in the season opener against DePaul.  Last season, Welch scored in double-figures on four occasions during the non-conference schedule and 16 times total.

This year, Welch ranks seventh in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .537, which is the highest mark among guards.  She is also second in 3-point percentage at .521.

She appears to be picking up where she left off last year, when she scored in double figures in 14 of the final 24 games.  She also dialed up her shooting percentage during that stretch and finished 11th in the Big 12 in field goal percentage during conference action. At the end of the year, Welch ranked No. 2 in conference-only games in 3-point percentage with a 44.9 mark.

What Brown Can Do For OU
Britney Brown has picked up where she left off last season, as one of the Big 12 best point guards. Brown is sixth in the league in assists (4.14) and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.71).

On the Milestone Verge...
Courtney Paris is one steal shy of 50, 16 assists shy of 100 and 44 rebounds shy of 800.   The Sooner center is 27 rebounds shy of No. 7 on the OU career list, 62 shy of No.2 on OU offensive rebound list and 68 shy of No. 3 on the OU defensive rebounds list. 

Leah Rush (1,248) is 55 points shy of passing No. 12 Angie Alexander at No. 12 on the OU scoring list with 1,302.  She is also 11 rebounds shy of 600 in her career.

Getting a Rush on the Competition
Leah Rush, who is shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range, is deadly when she makes her first attempt of the game. She has done so in 22 contests over the last two seasons and shoots 61 percent  (38-62) when she hits her first from long range. OU is 21-1 in those contests with the lone loss coming to Illinois last season.  This year Rush has made her first attempt in four games, all OU wins, and she has shot 75 percent (9-12).

Points in the Paint
The Sooners are dominating opponents in the paint.  OU has outscored opponents 621-282 in the paint this season.  OU is averaging 44.4 points in the paint and limiting opponents to 24.2. The biggest single game advantage was a 42-0 difference against Lamar.  OU’s points in the paint account for 55.1 (621-1126) of the team’s total this season.

Assist-To-Turnover Improvement
OU is first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.08.  Senior guard Britney Brown is fourth among Big 12 players with a 1.71 ratio.  Last season OU was eighth in the Big 12 with a ratio of 0.89.

Owning The Boards
For the second consecutive season, OU is dominating the boards.  Last year OU led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally with a rebounding margin of +10.7.  This year, OU has held a double figure advantage in 10 games and a 20-plus advantage in six games. OU owns a combined rebounding margin of +15.4 which currently leads the Big 12.

Glass cleaner Courtney Paris, who set the NCAA single season record for rebounds with 539 last season, is averaging 15.5 boards.  Last season she averaged 15 per game.  Ashley Paris and Amanda Thompson are second and third on the squad at 6.6 and 5.3 respectively.

The Sooners have collected 50 rebounds in six games with a season high of 57 against Kansas State.



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