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OU Opens Tourney with Longhorns
March 07, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- Winners of five straight games, the No. 12/11 Oklahoma women’s basketball team (23-4) learned its quarterfinal round opponent in the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Tuesday night.  OU will face the No. 7-seed Texas Longhorns (18-13) at 6 on Wednesday evening at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City. 

The Longhorns defeated Missouri,70-57, behind a balanced scoring attack that included fourplayers in double figures.  Sapulpa native Earnesia Williams led UT with 17 points, while Brittainey Raven and Erneisha Bailey contributed 13 apiece.  All-Big 12 honoree Tiffany Jackson contributed 12 points.

OU is a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament for the first time and will attempt to buck history.  A No. 2 seed is yet to win the Big 12 Postseason Championship through 10 years of play.  No. 2 seeds have reached the title game three times.

Big 12 Central

After successfully defending its regular season championship, OU will attempt to win its second consecutive postseason title in Oklahoma City’s debut as a tourney host.   Only two teams have won back-to-back tourneys - Iowa State (2000 & 2001) and Texas Tech (1998 & 1999).  OU has won three postseason championships, which is the highest total in conference.

If OU wins on Wednesday it will advance to the second semifinal game Thursday at 8:30 p.m.  The potential opponent in that game would be No. 3-seed Baylor, No. 6-seed Oklahoma State or No. 11-seed Kansas.

After a day off on Friday, the Big 12 Championship Game will be played on Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m.

Setting The Scene
Date: Wednesday, March 7, 2007
What: Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship
Location: Oklahoma City
Opponent: Winner of No. 7-seed Texas and No. 10-seed Missouri
Tipoff: 6 p.m. Central
Venue: Cox Convention Center
TV: Fox Sports Net
TV Talent: Bill Land (PBP) & Brenda VanLangen
FSN Clearances
Radio: Sooner Sports Radio Network & KOKC-1520 AM
Radio Broadcast Info
Radio Talent: Brian Brinkley (PBP) & Tara DeGiusti
Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com

OU in the Championship
OU has won a conference best three Big 12 Postseason Championships (2002, 2004, 2006).  The Sooners own a 14-7 mark in the tournament, which is the highest win total and percentage in the league. OU is 4-3 in the second round, 4-0 in the third round and 3-1 in the championship game.  OU won in Dallas in 2004 and 2006 and in Kansas City in 2002.  Courtney Paris was the MVP last season, Dionnah Jackson was the MVP in 2004 and Stacey Dales was the MVP in 2002.

Big 12 Championship Media Guide

Defending Champs
OU won the 2006 Big 12 Championship at Reunion Arena in Dallas.  The Sooners won three straight games over Iowa State, Missouri and Baylor.  OU has won three Big 12 Postseason Championships (2002, 2004, 2006).

History of No. 2 Seed
Oklahoma will attempt to become the first No. 2 seed to win the Big 12 Postseason Championship.  In 10 previous tournaments, the No. 2 seed has only reached the final on three occasions (1999, 2002, 2006), including last season when Baylor reached the final only to be beat by the Sooners.  2007 marks the first time OU has been a No. 2 seed in the tourney.  The No. 2 seed has never lost its opening game.

Closing Books on Big 12 Regular Season
Oklahoma won its fifth Big 12 Regular Season Championship (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007).  Thanks 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
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

Pregame Layups
Below is OU’s RPI by the NCAA and predictor website College Basketball News, Jeff Sagarin and College RPI.  The numbers in parentheses are strength of schedule

NCAA - 13
CBN - 9 (28)
Sagarin - 13 (21)
College RPI - 10 (20)

While the Big 12 Championship is debuting at the Cox Convention Center, OU has already played at the arena this season.  OU defeated New Mexico, 80-58, on Dec. 30.  Courtney Paris scored a career high 43 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in the rout.

The No. 9-seed Oklahoma men’s basketball team will No. 8-seed Iowa State across the street at the Ford Center in the 2007 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

  Courtney Paris averaged 25.7 points and 17.3 rebounds while taking MVP honors of the Big 12 Championship last season.  Her averages are the highest on the Sooner team. Leah Rush has averaged 11 points, Erin Higgins 9.6 and Chelsi Welch 9.3 in league tourney play.  Complete player career stats and Big 12 Championship stats are available on the individual player pages (17-30).

Courtney Paris’ double-double streak is at 55 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 32 of 38 games away from Norman over the last two seasons.  The Sooners are 21-4 at home during the same time span.

Sherri Coale currently has 110 Big 12 regular season wins, which is second among active coaches.  Among active coaches, she trails league leader and Texas head coach Jody Conradt (111).

OU is 47-61 (20-22 at home) all-time against ranked opponents.  This season OU is 5-3 against ranked teams with wins over UCLA, Baylor (twice), DePaul and New Mexico.

OU is 42-33 (18-11 at home) when it is ranked and facing a ranked team. 

Recap - OU 88, Baylor 61
Courtney Paris scored 28 points and Chelsi Welch added a career-best 24 as No. 12 Oklahoma claimed a share of the Big 12 title with an 88-61 victory over No. 16 Baylor last Wednesday.

It was the fifth regular season title - 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007 - in OU history and the second OU has shared.  OU also shared it with Iowa State and Texas Tech in 2000.  OU has racked up five regular season titles in the 11-year existence of the league.

Paris added 18 rebounds to record her 55th straight double-double and she also tied her career-high with five assists as the Sooners (23-4, 13-3 Big 12) turned a matchup of the league’s two most recent champions into a rout.

Oklahoma, which will share the conference title with Texas A&M, rushed out to an early lead and then put the game away just after halftime.

Bernice Mosby had 15 points to lead Baylor, which suffered the second most lopsided defeat since Kim Mulkey became coach in 2000. The Bears lost 88-57 at No. 3 LSU on Jan. 30, 2006. 

It was the most lopsided conference loss of Mulkey’s career.  For OU it was their largest ever win over a ranked Big 12 opponent.

Paris’ basket off an offensive rebound ended a run of nine straight points early in the second half and gave Oklahoma a 56-36 lead. Baylor (24-6, 11-5) started the second half 1-for-7 and committed five quick turnovers to dig itself into a hole.

Mosby, who had only one basket to that point, scored six points during an 8-2 response for Baylor while Paris took a brief rest. But Paris scored on the first possession after her return, and Welch pumped in nine points during a 12-0 run that put Oklahoma up 72-46.

Baylor made six 3s in the first half but went 0-for-4 in the second half.  It was a continuing trend for Baylor against OU.  Baylor had made just 8-of-59 (14 percent) attempts in its previous four meetings with OU.

Postgame Notes
Oklahoma played its fifth consecutive home game in front of 10,000+ fans, which is a program record ... Oklahoma averaged 10,437 fans this season at home, which is a program record and the second best mark in the Big 12 and the fourth best mark nationally ... Oklahoma gave up six three-pointers to Baylor and none in the second half ... OU held Baylor without a three-pointer on 13 attempts in Waco in the first meeting ... OU made six 3s in the first half, which is one off a season high for a half ... Erin Higgins hit 2-3 3-point attempts, including one from approximately 28 feet ... Oklahoma held Bernice Mosby to two points in the first half ... She came into the game second in the Big 12 in points per game with 18.1 ... Mosby finished the game with 15 points but was 4-15 from the field ... Oklahoma had 750 rebounds in Big 12 play this year, including 59 against Baylor ... That breaks the Big 12 standard for conference only rebounds, which they set last season with 720 ... Chelsi Welch had 24 points breaking her career single game high of 23 ... She also did not commit a turnover or miss a shot from the free throw line (6-6) or three point range (4-4) ... Her four treys ties a career high she has reached on six occasions ... Courtney Paris (28 points and 18 rebounds) extended her consecutive double-double streak to 55 and now has 60 double-doubles in 63 career games ... Courtney Paris broke the conference only record with 144 free throw attempts in Big 12 play, moving her past LaNeisha Caufield who had 137 (1997) ....  She also broke the conference only record with 60 blocks in Big 12 play, breaking the record of 58 that she and Crystal Boles (Texas Tech, 1997) held together ... C. Paris tied a career high for the second time with 10 offensive rebounds  ... She also tied a career high with five assists for the fifth time.

Previewing Texas
Texas is 18-13 overall and was 6-10 in Big 12 regular season play.  The Longhorns were 5-4 in league play on Feb. 3.  Then they dropped six of their final seven league games to fall into seventh place and place themselves on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.  Texas will be playing for its postseson life for the second consecutive season after failing to reach the NCAA Tournament last season.

Texas is led by All-Big 12 First Team forward Tiffany Jackson, who is averaging 17.0 points and 8.9 rebounds in her senior season.  Jackson is one of just two seniors on the Texas roster.  In fact the Longhorns usually start three freshman alongside Jackson and junior Erneisha Bailey.

Redshirt-freshman Earnesia Williams, who is an Oklahoma native, is leading the rookies with averages of 9.4 points and 4.2 rebounds.  True-freshman Brittainey Raven is averaging 7.7 points and has picked up her output down the stretch, including a 19-point game in the regular season finale against Texas A&M. Redshirt-freshman point guard Carla Cortijo runs the offense and is fourth in the league in assists per game at 4.89.

OU and Texas have met three times in Big 12 Championship play.  The Longhorns have won two of those meetings.  OU’s one win came in the 2004 title game, when the sixth-seeded Sooners posted a 66-47 win.   Texas and OU split their series this year, with both teams winning at home.  UT leads the all-time series 11-20. 

On the Milestone Verge...
Courtney Paris is one double-double shy of tying Sophia Young (Baylor) for the Big career record of 61.  She is also 17 points shy of passing Etta Maytubby (1,451) and breaking into the OU career scoring top-10.  Paris, who already owns the OU career offensive rebound record, is 100 shy of the defensive rebound record and 101 shy of the total rebound record.  The sophomore is also 33 blocks shy of the OU career block record.

Leah Rush (1,355 points) is 97 points shy of passing No. 10 Etta Maytubby (1,451 points) on the OU career scoring list.
Chelsi Welch (1,147) is two points shy of passing No. 18 Mandy Wade  (1,148 points) on the OU career scoring list.

Paris Sized February
Courtney Paris just finished off the most impressive month of a career.  The sophomore center averaged 29.1 points, 16.6 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.  She had single game point totals of 41 (vs. Oklahoma State), 33 (vs. Missouri) and 32 (vs. Kansas).  She also had three games with 18 or more rebounds, including a 21 board effort against Missouri.

She also had several milestone achievements.  Paris became just the second player in OU history to score 30+ points in back-to-back games.  The California native became the first player in OU and Big 12 history with 1,400 points, 900 rebounds, 200 blocks and 100 assists. She also broke the OU career double-double record (55), extended her double streak to 55 and has since upped her career double-double total to 60 in 63 career games.
 
Back-to-Back 30 Point Games

Courtney Paris became just the second player in 33 years of Oklahoma women’s basketball to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games with a 32-point outburst against Kansas (F21) and 33 against Missouri (F25).  The only other Sooner to accomplish the feat was Phylesha Whaley.  Whaley had 30 against Texas Tech on Feb. 11, 1998 and 36 in the next game against Nebraska on Feb. 14, 1998.

Rookies to the Rescue
OU head coach Sherri Coale wanted to infuse energy and shake up her team after losing three of four Big 12 games between Jan. 27 and Feb. 10.  The result was the addition of freshman point guard Jenna Plumley and freshman forward Amanda Thompson to the starting lineup against Texas on Feb. 12.  The duo ignited a 20-point win over their Red River Rivals and were crucial in the current five game win streak.

Plumley is averaging just 3.7 points and 1.6 assists on the season but she has cranked up her output in the last six games, when she has received her most significant minutes of the season.  She is averaging 7.3 points, 4.7 assists and 2.5 steals during that span. 

Thompson has been garnering meaningful minutes all season but has really contributed over the last six games.  She is averaging 7.0 points, 6.7 boards and 1.8 assists during that stretch.

Historic Defensive Stretch
OU has held 22 of 27 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. 

The Sooners have held six opponents under 30 percent shooting.  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 has held two straight opponents below 30 percent on eight occasions in the program history.
OU is first in the Big 12 in field goal percentage defense at .343.  Only Ohio State (.450), Texas Tech (.443), Texas (.435) , Texas A&M (.475) and Kansas (41.3) have shot over 40 percent against OU this season.  The lowest mark was .224 by Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northern Colorado. Last season 24 of 36 opponents failed to reach the 40 percent mark against OU.

3-Point Threats Everywhere
While Erin Higgins is the most recognizable 3-point shooter on the OU roster, she hasn’t been the most efficient this season.  Chelsi Welch (45.7) leads the Big 12 in 3-point percentage.  Leah Rush (41.5) would rank third if she had the necessary 26 makes. Britney Brown (34.5) and Jenna Plumley (36.5) would also be among the Big 12’s top 15 if they had the necessary makes.  As a team, OU ranks third in the Big 12 and 38th nationally with a 3-point percentage of 35.2.

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 1,000 career points.

Erin Higgins is also closing in on the 1,000 career points and could reach the milestone by the end of the season.  Below is her projection, in terms of games needed to get to 1,000:

 Player  Points  Average   Projected Games
 Erin Higgins  952  7.4  7 Games

100,000 Fans
For the first time in program history, the OU women’s basketball team posted a season attendance total in excess of 100,000 fans.  125,247 fans turned out for 12 home contests this season, which averages out to 10,437, which is an OU record and the fourth best mark nationally. OU also sold a record 6,526 season tickets this year.

Last year, OU had an average attendance of 7,630 over 13 contests.  They played in front of 99,188 fans and fell just short of the 1000,000 mark.

Streaks
3 - Wins in the Big 12 Championship
5 - Wins
7 - NCAA Tournament Berths
9 - Winning seasons
36 - Weeks in AP and Coaches Polls
55 - Double-Doubles for Courtney Paris
63 - Double figure scoring games for Courtney Paris
122 - Games with a made 3-pointer

60 Double-Doubles, 55 Straight | Every Paris Double-Double
Courtney Paris has 60 career double-doubles in 63 career games.  She has recorded a double-double in 55 straight games.  The streak began against UCLA on Dec. 5, 2005.  The streak will be 457 days old when OU takes the court next.

55 Straight Double-Doubles  | The 411 on CP3
Courtney Paris has collected a double-double in 55 straight games.  It is the longest known double-double streak in  the history of NCAA Division I women’s basketball and is 15 longer than the best stretch on the men’s basketball side. 

Double-Double Reference
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.

Double-Double Streaks
Courtney Paris 55 12-5-05-Present
Men's Record
1. Billy Cunnigham, N. Carolina 40 12/5/62-2/22/64
2. Jerry Lucas, Ohio State  38 1/23/60-3/11/61
3. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 33 12/31/58-1/2/60
4. Mel Counts, Oregon State 30 3/23/63-3/10/64
5. Lew Alcindor, UCLA 28 12/27/67-12/6/68
    Benoit Benjamin, Creighton 28 3/15/84-2/16/85

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Career Double-Doubles
Courtney Paris 60 2006-P
Men's Record Seasons Total
1. Tim Duncan, Wake Forest 4 87
2. Ralph Sampson, Virginia 4 84
3. Derrick Coleman, Syracuse 4 83
4. Malik Rose, Drexel 4 80
5. Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati 3 79