Paris Nets Record 43, OU Rolls

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
DECEMBER 30, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale scheduled a game at the Cox Convention Center to help the Sooners become familiar with the facility hosting this season's Big 12 Conference women's basketball tournament.

It's safe to say Courtney Paris felt right at home. Paris scored a school-record 43 points and grabbed 25 rebounds, helping No. 8 Oklahoma bounce back from its only loss with an 80-58 win over New Mexico on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore All-America center had her way against the Lobos, breaking the Oklahoma single-game scoring record of 40 points, set by Phylesha Whaley against Arkansas in March 1999. Paris matched the second-best rebounding game in school history, missing her own school record by one. She has six of the top nine rebounding games ever at Oklahoma.

``Courtney's performance was phenomenal,'' Coale said. ``I remember Wayman Tisdale played in this building and had a pretty impressive performance back in the day. That's what was in the back of my head when she was putting on a show.''

Tisdale scored a school-record 61 points in the same building - then known as the Myriad - against Texas-San Antonio on Dec. 28, 1983.

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Paris' 43-point outing was the highest in NCAA Division I this season. The previous high was 41, by Carrie More of Western Michigan against Detroit on Nov. 17.

``Our first and foremost thing to do is to get the ball to Courtney all the time,'' Oklahoma guard Jenna Plumley said. ``She's just so dominant. There's no reason why we shouldn't get her the ball.''

Paris joined Baylor's Danielle Cockrum as the only Big 12 Conference player ever to have at least 40 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Cockrum did it against Texas A&M in January 2001. Paris also set a Big 12 record for field goals in a game, finishing 20-of-26.

``We just couldn't stop her,'' New Mexico coach Don Flanagan said. ``She dictated what we did defensively. She fouled out two of our post players. She does a great job posting up and she shoots an extremely high percentage. I thought defensively we did pretty well against their other players ... but we couldn't stop Courtney.''

Oklahoma (10-1) has beaten New Mexico (10-3) three times in the last two seasons, this time ending the Lobos' nine-game winning streak. Oklahoma had had its 23-game regular-season winning streak snapped by a loss to Ohio State on Dec. 20.

Paris had 20 points and 13 rebounds while staking Oklahoma to a 34-24 halftime lead and scored 17 of the Sooners' first 19 points to start the second half. She passed Whaley's record with 5:52 left.

Paris played a season-high 37 minutes as the Sooners' two other primary frontline players, Leah Rush and Ashley Paris, spent much of the game in foul trouble.

``We were in a situation where the coaches told me I needed to step up,'' Courtney Paris said. ``Our team needed to step up and not be satisfied. I realized after the Ohio State game that getting your averages and just doing what you do sometimes is just not good enough.''

Paris completed her 39th straight double-double with 4:18 left in the first half, the second time this season she's had a first-half double-double and the sixth time in her career.

Paris could've scored more points than the Lobos in the half had she not gone 2-of-8 from the free-throw line. She shot 3-of-10 for the game.

Oklahoma never trailed. The Sooners held New Mexico scoreless for more than five minutes while building a 16-8 lead, and after the Lobos pulled within 18-16, Oklahoma used a 14-4 spurt to extend its margin to 32-20.

In the second half, Oklahoma scored the first 10 points to go ahead 46-26. New Mexico came within 51-43 with 12:35 left, but a 14-2 run, highlighted by 3-pointers from Plumley and Erin Higgins, put the Sooners back up by 20.

Plumley, a freshman, was the only other Oklahoma player to score in double figures, coming off the bench to finish with 11 points. That didn't bother Coale.

``It's a reflection of a pretty smart bunch of kids,'' she said. ``If you find something that works, you go to it and you go to it and you go to it until they figure out a way to stop it.''

Amanda Thompson added 11 rebounds for Oklahoma, which outrebounded the Lobos 53-31. New Mexico entered the game with a plus-5.2-rebound margin this season.

Dionne Marsh led New Mexico with 20 points, but went 5-of-19 from the field as the Lobos shot 26.2 percent. Julie Briody added 13 points and Katie Montgomery scored 10 for the Lobos.



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