Sooners Top Mizzou on Senior Day

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
FEBRUARY 25, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - With a smile, Courtney Paris had someone special to thank for missing enough shots to allow her to set Oklahoma's record for offensive rebounds.

``I just have to thank myself for missing layups,'' said Paris, the Sooners' 6-foot-4 All-America center.

The latest in the sophomore's string of broken records came Sunday, as she scored 33 points and set Oklahoma's career mark for offensive rebounds in the 13th-ranked Sooners' 72-57 win against Missouri.

Paris pulled down 21 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, to record her 54th consecutive double-double. Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale has long kidded that Paris pads her rebounding stats by missing shots and then getting her own rebound.

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Paris did that three times against the Tigers (17-11, 5-10 Big 12).

``When I miss my shots, I think the reason I miss them is because the defense did a good job of pushing me and they work so hard pushing me out of position to get my shot where I don't get the angle I wanted. They spend so much energy working on that angle, and sometimes they forget to box out,'' Paris said.

Paris' record-breaking 314th career offensive rebound came during an 8-0 run as the Sooners (22-4, 12-3) pulled away in the second half after Missouri had cut a 13-point deficit to 57-51 on Marchele Campbell's 3-pointer from the left wing.

Paris put back her own miss to start the run, and Leah Rush added back-to-back baskets before another layup by Paris stretched the Sooners' lead to 65-51.

 2007 WBB Senior Day Salute

The rebound that moved her to the top of Oklahoma's career list came on one of the few times she didn't immediately bank the ball right back into the basket. Phylesha Whaley, Oklahoma's career leader in scoring, held the old mark for offensive rebounds with 313 between 1997 and 2000.

Paris long list of school records already included the season marks for scoring, rebounding and blocked shots and the most double-doubles in a career.

She had one more offensive rebound than Missouri's entire team and the Sooners held a 49-28 advantage on the boards.

``If you watch Oklahoma's film, they live off of offensive rebounds,'' Missouri coach Cindy Stein said.

Paris again put back her own miss to extend Oklahoma's lead to 69-53, and Coale called timeout at her next chance to insert a lineup full of seniors, who were honored after the game.

Rush - one of the seniors - added 12 points for Oklahoma, which matched a season-high with 13 steals.

EeTisha Riddle led Missouri with 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting, but was held below her 17.8-point average in conference games that ranked only behind Paris' 23.4-point average.

``She made baskets. I didn't,'' Riddle said.

With the win, Oklahoma kept pace with No. 16 Texas A&M in the Big 12 title race. The Aggies won at Baylor on Sunday to knock the Bears from a three-way tie for first place. Oklahoma could win the title outright with a win against Baylor on Wednesday and an A&M loss to Texas that night.

Carlynn Savant hit two 3-pointers to break Tracy Losier's school record at Missouri. The Tigers had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Paris, who yielded her starting spot to the seniors and came off the bench for the first time in her career, hit back-to-back layups to end a 12-2 run that gave Oklahoma an 18-7 lead midway through the first half.

``They didn't really have an answer for Courtney,'' Coale said. ``I have to give our guards credit for their patience too. Sometimes it's real easy to just not take the ball down to the corner and feed from the baseline or to be in a hurry and go back to the other side, and then she's just doing pirouettes and never catching the basketball.

Missouri used 3-pointers from Campbell, Alyssa Hollins and Savant to narrow the gap, and Savant's two free throws trimmed the deficit to 23-20.

Paris and twin sister Ashley scored the Sooners' final nine points of the first half, and they took a 32-25 lead into the break.

The Sooners then opened the second half strong, going up 44-31 after Erin Higgins' 3-pointer from the left corner.

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