OU Takes 23-Game Streak to Boulder

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
JANUARY 20, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 7/6 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (14-1, 4-0 Big 12) will end the longest road trip in Big 12 history at Colorado (8-7, 2-1) on Saturday night.  The Sooners and Buffs are scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m. Central time from the Coors Event Center.

The game will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Southwest. For Cox cable customers FSN-SW is channel 37 in the Oklahoma City area.  On Direct TV it is channel 643 and on the Dish Network it is channel 416.  The broadcast is being produced by Colorado and will feature the on-air team of Tim Reed (play-by-play) and legendary coach Ceal Berry (color).  The game can also be broadcast to the Sooners Sports Radio Network and Yahoo! Radio.  For those in the OKC area, tune to KOKC 1520 AM.

 Game Notes | News Wire | Gameday Central | Season Stats

For many it seems like the Sooners have been on the road all season. In fact, OU has played 10 of 15 games away from Norman this season.  Currently, OU is in the midst of a four-game road trip, which is a result of the weather induced postponement of the Texas Tech game until Jan. 22 at 6 p.m.  No other team in Big 12 history has had to play four straight road games.  Three squads during the inaugural season of 1996-97 had to play three straight on the road.

Despite the many travels, OU is alone in first place in the Big 12 at 4-0 and has won 23 straight games against league foes.  The conference stats also convey the Sooners’ dominance.  OU is tops in scoring offense (76.8), scoring margin (+14.2) and field goal percentage defense (31.7), while ranking second in field goal percentage (47.3) and 3-point percentage (42.9).

Colorado began Big 12 play with victories over Missouri and Iowa State at home.  They dropped a 19-point decision at Texas last weekend.  On the year the Buffs are 8-2 at the Coors Event Center and are yet to win a road game.

The Sooners will begin a three-game home stand on Monday when they make up the game with Texas Tech.  The contest will be broadcast by the Sooner Sports Network.  After that OU will host Iowa State (1/24) and No. 17 Texas A&M (Jan. 27).

Setting The Scene
Date: Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007
Location: Boulder, Colo.
Venue: Coors Event Center (11,064)
Tipoff: 8 p.m. Central
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Cox Cable channel 37 in OKC
Direct TV channel 643
Dish Network channel 416
TV Talent: Tim Reed & Ceal Berry
Radio: KOKC (1520 AM), Sooner Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Radio
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley & Tara DeGiusti
Radio Broadcast Info
Tickets:  (303) 49-BUFFS

Player To Watch
Kendra Moore has been the Sooners’ spark on the road during Big 12 play so far this season. That role could be crucial as OU ends its four game Big 12 road trip.  The OU sixth man has averaged 8.8 points during league play, which is up from her season average of 3.4.  In OU’s win at Baylor on Jan. 10 she tallied a career high 18 points.  Then in the Bedlam opener the Oklahoma native hit a career high three 3-pointers.

 Pregame Media Center
  Highlights: Sooners Cruise Past Buff (2006)
  O-Zone Audio: Leah Rush on Bedlam, CU
  Colorado Daily Camera: Buffs face tall order
  Colorado Daily Camera: OU-CU Preview
  Norman Transcript: Sooners getting busy
  Rocky Mountain News: Can't forget about Paris

Recap - At Oklahoma State
(AP) - Courtney Paris scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 7 Oklahoma to a 76-60 win over Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.

Oklahoma (14-1, 4-0) scored on seven of its first eight second-half possessions, using a 14-2 surge to take a 50-27 lead on Leah Rush’s layup.

Natasha Doh and Maria Cordero hit back-to-back 3-pointers in Oklahoma State’s 8-0 response, but the Sooners bounced right back as Kendra Moore hit a 3 and then had steals on three straight possessions - two of which ended in putbacks by Paris.

Paris’ second basket made it 57-35, and the Sooners were easily in control the rest of the way. With her 43rd straight double-double already secured, Paris exited the game with 7:33 to play. The rest of Oklahoma’s starters followed soon after.

Rush and Moore each added 11 points for Oklahoma, and Moore matched her career-high with four steals. The Sooners committed a season-high 26 turnovers.

Cordero scored 15 points and Rashidat Sadiq had 12 points for Oklahoma State (14-3, 2-2), which shot 29 percent The Cowgirls were outrebounded 45-32 and outscored 32-14 in the paint.

The Sooners set a Big 12 record with their 17th straight regular-season win away from home. They’re 8-0 on the road and 2-0 at neutral sites this season, with their only loss coming against then-No. 8 Ohio State last month in Norman.

It’s also Oklahoma’s 23rd straight win against Big 12 Conference opponents.

With wins in their past two games, the Cowgirls had ended a 25-game Big 12 losing streak and then a 26-game road losing streak. But they couldn’t stop the Sooners from winning a 16th straight game in the Bedlam series.

Oklahoma has won the past 10 games by double figures.

Oklahoma used a 9-2 run to take a 26-12 lead on Amanda Thompson’s three-point play off an offensive rebound with 8:48 to play in the first half. Oklahoma State closed to within 28-20 on Shaunte Smith’s fast-break layup, but Rush responded with a 3-pointer for Oklahoma and the Sooners led by at least 10 the rest of the way.

The Sooners overcame 16 first-half turnovers by shooting 56 percent and led 36-25 at halftime.

Postgame Notes
OU leads the all-time series against OSU 44-34 with wins in 18 of the last 19 meetings, including 16 straight. OU is 18-17 in Stillwater and has not lost at Gallagher Iba since 1998.
OU is 47-1 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 held OSU to eight rebounds in the first half. That marks a season best for rebounds in a half.
Chelsi Welch has hit a 3-pointer in 14 of her last 15 games, she came up short against New Mexico.
Senior Kendra Moore was 3-5 from the 3-point arch. This marks the first time Moore has hit three treys in a single game, she has hit two on four occasions.
In the last two contests OU has hit 67.6 percent from the line, shooting 16-22 against Baylor and 7-12 against OSU. OU came into the game shooting 60.2 percent for the season.
OU finished 52.8 percent from the field, shooting over 50 percent for the eighth time this season and the first time against a Big 12 opponent.

Previewing Colorado
After winning its first two conference games, Colorado has fallen to 2-2 in Big 12 play and 8-8 overall. Both Big 12 wins for CU came at home, while the two losses came on the road.  Colorado is 8-2 at home this season.  Colorado defeated Iowa State and Missouri to start Big 12 play, before losing to Texas and Texas A&M in the last two outings.  Colorado lost to the Aggies 74-58 on Thursday night in a game that was postponed one day due to weather that delayed travel.

Last season Colorado came to Norman for the Sooners Big 12 home opener. Behind four players in double figures, OU posted an 84-61 win.  In addition to Courtney Paris’ 15 point and 17 rebound effort, Ashley Paris, Kendra Moore and Chelsi Welch also scored in double figures.

CU junior forward Jackie McFarland, who had nine points in Norman last season, is averaging a double-double and has collected 10 double-dips this season.  McFarland is averaging 19 points and 10.6 rebounds.  Her and C.Paris are the only players in the Big 12 averaging double figures boards.

CU’s second offensive option is 6-1 senior Jasmina Ilic, who is also scoring in double figures.  Ilic had 14 points at Texas A&M on Thursday.  The return of 6-3 center Kara Richards bodes well for the match up this weekend.  Richards is averaging just over nine points in nine games this season.

Kathie McConnel-Miller is in her second season at Colorado and owns a 17-29 record.  McConnell-Miller was previously the head coach at Tulsa, where she led the Golden Hurricane for six seasons.

OU trails the all-time series with Colorado 18-33.  OU has won four straight in the series and 10 of 15 since the inception of the Big 12.  OU is 4-16 in Boulder and 2-3 during the Big 12 era.  OU has won the last four meetings by an average of 16.3 points, with only one contest being decided by less than 13 points.

Altitude always plays a part in Boulder, which is 5,000 plus feet above sea level.  OU has not played at a high altitude this season, but won twice at New Mexico and twice in Denver last year.
Sooners vs. colorado

 Sooners vs. OSU PTS REB Career High
Brown   1.5 1 6 points (1-7-06)
Higgins  10 3 12 points (2-18-04)
Moore 6 0.5 12 points (1-7-06) 
A. Paris    10 10 10 points (1-7-06)
C. Paris   15 17 17 rebounds (1-7-06)
Rush    10 3 19 points (2-16-05)
Sanchez    4 1.5 8 points (1-7-06)
Welch    11.3 1.8 18 points (2-16-03)

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
The NCAA announced its initial RPI rankings on Jan. 17 and the Sooners came in at No. 9.  The NCAA will announce the RPI rankings on NCAASports.com on a weekly basis for the remainder of the season.

OU is 47-1 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 10-0 away from Norman this season and 8-0 in true road games.

Chelsi Welch, the Big 12 top 3-point shooter in terms of percentage, has knocked down a three in 14 of 15 games this season. 

  OU is averaging 80.1 points and 18.1 assists.  Both numbers are up from last season when OU averaged 76.3 points and 16.8 assists.

OU has held 10 of its last 11 opponents under 10 assists.  The stretch began with seven straight under 10 and was snapped by Kansas State.  The last 11 opponents have averaged just 7.7 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 five categories: double-doubles (No. 1), points (No. 2), rebounds (No. 2), blocks (No. 8) and field goal percentage (No. 8).  No other player in the NCAA ranks in the top 10 in more than two categories. 

Historic Defensive Stretch
OU has held 14 of 15 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  five opponents under 40 percent shooting.

The Sooners have held six opponents under 30 percent shooting, all in the last nine 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 .318.  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 23 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 12 straight Big 12 road games.  The previous record for consecutive wins was 16 by the 2000-01 OU team.

OU has won 17 straight regular season games away from Norman, which is a Big 12 record.  The streak includes true road games and games at neutral sites. OU broke its own Big 12 record established with 16 straight wins from December 2000 to December 2001.

OU has won 15 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
24 (81-344) 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, 42 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 43 straight games.  The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.  The streak will be 408 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.

The White OUt is Back
The Oklahoma Athletics Department is bringing back the popular WhiteOUt the Lloyd Noble Center’ promotion for the contest  between the Oklahoma women’s basketball team and Texas A&M on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m.  The event sold out last season and fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. The game will air in front of a near-national audience on Fox Sports Net.

A free OU “Cheer Like a Champion” white t-shirt will be placed in every seat in the Lloyd Noble Center.  Fans are encouraged to wear the t-shirt during the match up of top-20 teams. Last season, OU and Baylor battled into overtime in front of a program record crowd of 12,112 during the WhiteOUt promotion.

Pink OUt Planned for Texas
The OU Athletics Department will also a hold a “Pack The Place Pink Night” for the Feb. 12 Red River Rivalry matchup with Texas on ESPN2. In an effort to promote breast 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.

Fans are encouraged to donate to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation when they enter the arena. Volunteers will be available on the concourse to take donations. 

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 six games, shooting 46 percent and making 12 of 26 attempts.  She has tallied 42 points over that span after having 25 combined in the first eight games. On the season Higgins is shooting 31.1 percent from 3-point range.

Big 12 History
All-time, OU has a 101-63 (.616) 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 88-28.  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 (120-44), 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 4-0.  Only Sooner teams (1999-00, 2005-06) have started conference play 5-0.

Overall, OU is 54-26 (.675) in Big 12 games played at the Lloyd Noble Center and 47-37 (.559) in conference road contests.

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 six long range shooters in the league.  Chelsi Welch (52.0) leads the league, Leah Rush (48.4 percent) ranks third and Jenna Plumley (46.2 percent) would rank sixth if she had three more makes. Welch is also seventh in the Big 12 in makes per game at 1.73.  As a team OU leads the league and ranks 16th nationally with a 3-point percentage of 39.5.

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 third on the OU team in scoring at 10.3 points per game and is posting career highs in 3-point percentage (48.4), field goal percentage (.528) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.08).

She ranks third in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage and seventh 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 1,259 points and is 43 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 putting together a stellar senior campaign. The season has been highlighted by her addition to the OU 1,000 point club, which she reached with 14 points against Ohio State on Dec. 20.

The 5-10 guard has scored in double-figures in nine games this season, while tallying at least eight points in four 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 sixth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at .535, which is the highest mark among guards.  She is also leading the league in 3-point percentage at .520.

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.

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, who currently has 101 Big 12 wins, is third among active coaches in Big 12 wins behind Jody Conradt (106) of Texas and Bill Fennelly (102) of Iowa State.

On the Milestone Verge...
Courtney Paris is one steal shy of 50, 15 assists shy of 100 and 30 rebounds shy of 800.   The Sooner center is 13 rebounds shy of No. 7 on the OU career list, 57 shy of No.2 on OU offensive rebound list and 59 shy of No. 3 on the OU defensive rebounds list. 

Leah Rush (1,248) is 44 points shy of passing No. 12 Angie Alexander at No. 12 on the OU scoring list with 1,302.  She is also 10 rebounds shy of 600 in her career.

Getting a Rush on the Competition
Leah Rush, who is shooting 48.4 percent from 3-point range, is deadly when she makes her first attempt of the game. She has done so in 23 contests over the last two seasons and shoots 61 percent  (39-64) when she hits her first from long range. OU is 22-1 in those contests with the lone loss coming to Illinois last season.  This year Rush has made her first attempt in five games, all OU wins, and she has shot 71 percent (10-14).

Points in the Paint
The Sooners are dominating opponents in the paint.  OU has outscored opponents 653-296 in the paint this season.  OU is averaging 43.5 points in the paint and limiting opponents to 19.7. The biggest single game advantage was a 42-0 difference against Lamar.  OU’s points in the paint account for 54.3 (653-1202) of the team’s total this season.

Home Court Advantage
OU is 4-1 at the Lloyd Noble Center this season, after going 12-1 on its home floor last season.  OU owns a 93-20 (.823) home mark since the start of the 1998-99 season.  Under Sherri Coale, OU is 98-35 (.735) at LNC. All-time, OU is 258-104 (.713) at Lloyd Noble.

Assist-To-Turnover Improvement
OU is third in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.03.  Senior guard Britney Brown is fourth among Big 12 players with a 1.58 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 11 games and a 20-plus advantage in six games. OU owns a combined rebounding margin of +15.2 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 15.4 boards.  Last season she averaged 15 per game.  Ashley Paris and Amanda Thompson are second and third on the squad at 6.6 and 5.1 respectively.

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

The Experience Factor
Notes on the level of experience OU has on its roster:
  Between eight players, including six seniors, OU has 411 career starts.  Sophomore Carolyn Winchester is the only non-freshman that has never started a game for OU.
  The combined consecutive starts of Erin Higgins (8), Britney Brown (13), Chelsi Welch (38), Courtney Paris (51) and Leah Rush (101) is 200.
  Britney Brown had a streak of 25 consecutive starts snapped on opening night.  She returned to the starting lineup against Hawaii (N18) and has started the last 13 games.
  Since earning her first start at Texas A&M during her freshman season Leah Rush has started 100 straight games.
  Erin Higgins had started 77 straight games before senior night last season when she gave up the honor to then-senior Laura Andrews.



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