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2008-09 OU Women's Basketball Blog


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Courtney Starts New Job Today

Courtney Paris and her sister, Ashley, will find out today where they will play in the WNBA and begin the transition to their life after college. However, CP begins another new career today as she will write a dispatch for Sports Illustrated concerning draft day. You should be able to read it in the next issue.

Of course, she won't get paid for her work since she's technically still a student-athlete. But, the door is now open to her dream job of writing for SI.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Courtside Blog: Oklahoma vs. Louisville

OU associate media relations director Jared Thompson will blog live courtside from the Scottrade Center as top-seeded Oklahoma meets 3-seed Louisville for its NCAA Championship Final Four game Sunday at 6 p.m. E-mail your questions to soonersideline@gmail.com.

7:56 p.m. -- Well, I hate to do this while its still interesting, but I've got to wrap the blog and tend to some postgame duties. I'll check back in later with an update.

7:39 p.m. -- The other team captain, Amanda Thompson, takes over this timeout huddle saying the next four-minute interval wins the game. Defensive stops will be the key if OU wants to play Tuesday.

7:38 p.m. -- Jenny Vining's not getting the 3 to fall, but she's made a huge difference in the game with her defense. I know Jenny's uncle, Lon, is in Canada reading the blog right now and he should be very proud of his niece's effort tonight.

7:27 p.m. -- Danielle Robinson is showing incredible maturity at this point. Shots aren't falling for the Sooners, but she's quickly getting the Louisville starters into serious foul trouble with those runs to the rim.

7:20 p.m. -- Carolyn Winchester demonstrating some great senior leadership in the huddle, calming the players and re-focusing them on the task at hand.

Couldn't hear what Coach Coale was instructing them, but she was calm, too. I think everyone realizes they are rushing too much on the offensive side of the ball.

7:14 p.m. -- After those back-to-back turnovers, Coale's speech to the team during the timeout was about focusing on every single possession. Coale made it simple: get a stop and score some points to switch the momentum.

7:09 p.m. -- Nice addition to the ESPN broadcast with the "supertelestrator" on the Inside the Play feature. Brenda VanLenger, who's covered several OU games as a color analyst for Fox SportsNet, is operating the feature as Doris Burke commentates.

7:07 p.m. -- Alright, here's the halftime report as OU leads Louisville, 34-22 -- the Sooners' largest halftime advantage thus far in the NCAA tournament.

Field Goal %: OU - 42.4% (14-33); UL - 22.2% (6-27)
3-Point FG %: OU - 21.4% (3-14); UL - 0.0% (0-7)
Free Throw %: OU - 50.0% (3-6); UL - 83.3% (10-12)
Rebounds: OU - 27; UL - 17

Oklahoma is dominating the boards and, because of it, the second-chance points, outscoring Louisville 16-4 in the category. Danielle Robinson's efficiency is incredible as she already has eight asssits, four shy of her career high. As a team, the Sooners have assisted 12 of their 14 field goals, definitely a season-high percentage.

Louisville's Angel McCoughtry has just four points, all from the free throw line, and is 0-of-7 from the field.

Ashley Paris has found a reversal of fortune as is 5-of-5 from the field, leading the game with 10 points. No missed layups tonight.

The Sooners are out of the locker room and back on the court. Look for OU to try another big run to open the half and frustrate Louisville.

6:54 p.m. -- Jill Prather's (Stillwater, Okla.) e-mail asks whether or not Ashley's and Courtney's mom is in the house. Obviously, ESPN is again focused on Bubba, but if you look right behind him during the next cutaway they do, Lynne is sitting in the seat directly behind them.

This won't be the last stop for the Paris parents this week. After the Final Four, they'll fly to Seacauses, N.J., as both Ashley and Courtney were invited to be part of the WNBA Draft festivites as potential top-15 picks. Then, its off to Los Angeles for the Wooden Award and Wooden All-American banquet, where Sooner men's basketball head coach Jeff Capel and national player of the year Blake Griffin will also be in attendance.

Halftime update in a minute. OU leads 34-22.

6:44 p.m. -- Abi Olajuwon goes in for Courtney Paris after the four-time All-American picked up her second foul. Abi's contributions in the early part of games during the NCAA tournament have been incredibly helpful in maintaining a post presence while CP is on the bench.

6:37 p.m. -- I see more alumni in attendance. Laura Andrews, Erin Higgins, Leah Rush, Krista Sanchez, Chelsi Welch and Kendra Moor are seated together near the baseline. Former OU administrator Marita Hynes, responsible for hiring Sherri Coale, also occupies a seat in the stands.

6:25 p.m. -- Amanda Thompson and Jenny Vining about to check in. It will be Amanda's earlier entrance into a game since the Big 12 Championship.

Blocking out worked well that segment. In the last four minutes since Coale preached better rebounding, the Sooners have seven to Louisville's one. It helps when you make shots, too. Then you don't have to rebound.

6:16 p.m. -- Walz has to call a timeout as Whitney Hand buries a 3. Coale says her team feels invincible when Whitney is shooting well. They are up 11-0, OU's 40th double-digit scoring run this season.

6:14 p.m. -- Louisville 0-for-9 from the field during that first segment as OU took a 6-0 lead into the first media timeout. Sherri Coale is preaching to her players to block out as the Cardinals have the early rebounding advantage at 8-5.

Jeff Walz has subbed Becky Burke into the game in hopes of giving Louisville a spark from beyond the arc. OU will need to limit 3-point attempts.

6:10 p.m. -- Deliberation about the jump ball possession due to the tip off. Louisville apparently never possessed the ball at the open so they get the right to keep it after that first tie-up.

5:52 p.m. -- The national anthem has played and the teams are back in the locker rooms. The atmosphere is becoming electric as more and more spectators file into seats.

Tonight officials are Tina Napier, Lisa Jones and Cameron Inouye. Sue Blanch is the alternate.

5:46 p.m. -- Carlee Roethlisberger's big brother, Ben, is being interviewed on the SportsCenter stage right now. Funny story about Ben yesterday -- apparently a local, who made have had one too many of the home brews, went up to Ben and thanked him for everything he's done as a quarterback to bring a football presence back to the state of Missouri. Somehow, that fan confused Roethlisberger with Chase Daniel.

5:27 p.m. -- I was expecting plenty of alumni at the game considering its magnitude. Stephanie Simon, Jamie Talbert-Wyrick, Lauren Shoush, Kate Scott, Leah Rush, Erin Higgins and Beky Preston are all together again. I've also spotted former OU football defensive end C.J. Ah You, who is now a member of the Rams.

5:11 p.m. -- Like I promised, here's the video of the team's send-off from the hotel earlier.

We're estimating more than 500 enthusiastic crimson-clad fans showed up at the Sheraton City Center Hotel this afternoon to send Coach Coale and the Sooners off to the Final Four. If this doesn't get you pumped up, I don't know what will:

Video  OU fans send off the Sooners

4:55 p.m. -- Chris Stockdale, an OU alum in Milwaukee, asks how the team's mood was coming over to the arena tonight. Really, they were pretty calm. Just another game it seems to the Sooner women.

4:52 p.m. -- SoonerSports.com assistant director Tory Kukowski just showed me the video of OU's send-off from the Sheraton City Center. Wow. Over 500 Oklahoma fans packed the lobby and entrance to the hotel as the team loaded its bus for the brief trip to the Scottrade Center. Great job by the Sooner fans cheering on their team. I'll have the video up shortly.

Boomer Sooner!

3:55 p.m. -- On the floor of the Scottrade Center and the final preparations to the court are being made. ESPN has installed cameras on just about everything they can attach one to and they are presently being wired and checked.

Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck are at the in-house studio overlooking the court, preparing for their live SportsCenter segment in just a few minutes.

It's very blue inside Scottrade right as it should be with an NCAA event. Scottrade is also home to the NHL's St. Louis Blues and the four women's basketball teams here are occupying most of the visitor locker rooms. It quite a contrast for the Sooners, who made their home in the NBA's Thunder locker room last week at the Oklahoma City Regional.

At midcourt is the Final Four logo design and a large, swooping arch swings from baseline to baseline as the iconic landmark is used repeatedly in signage and promotions.

NCAA personnel not in suits and ties are sporting a windsuit that is unfortunately colored navy and gray -- also the school colors of Connecticut. However, with three of the four teams sporting red, there will be enough fans bleeding Crimson and Cream.

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Not Your Typical Title Town

OU's women's basketball team arrived in St. Louis Thursday like they had arrived in cities dozens of times this year, via plane and bus to a hotel with little fanfare in between.

Any signs of normalcy disappeared Friday.

Only an early-morning practice typified the standard preparations for a game weekend. The Sooners spent most of the day being whisked from location to location for interviews, sightseeing and salutes.

Oklahoma's six starters (I write six because we consider both Nyeshia Stevenson and Amanda Thompson part of the starting lineup) and Coach Coale visited the Scottrade Center today not to workout on the court, but in front of the cameras.

After interviewing with ESPN's women's basketball broadcast group, which included producer Phil Dean, color analyst Doris Burke, sideline reporters Rebecca Lobo and Holly Rowe, studio analysts Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck and ESPN.com writer Graham Hays, the Sooners shot green-screen teasers for the game's broadcast.

Though the group never left the arena, you'll see them on TV on top of famous St. Louis landmarks and walking through the streets in a computer-generated 3D mockup of the Gateway City.

The septet also shot special bumpers for the arena's videoboard, which those of you lucky enough to be at the game will see Sunday night.

After the media obligations, the group had just enough time to catch the team bus and visit the world-famous Arch. No computer generated graphics here as all the players and coaches made the claustraphobic ride 630 feet to the top.

Friday evening was more relaxed than the sunlight hours. The team was invited to a reception at the America's Center and, along with Connecticut, Louisville and Stanford, were sized for their national championship rings and ate a cordial dinner alongside their future nemeses.

Then the music started.

A live band kick-started the competition so many athletes in one room are only destined to begin. UConn's Renee Montgomery was first to hit the dance floor and it didn't take long for every player from every team to follow. Though I know it has to be unique, I couldn't help but think of what Tyler Hansborough and Blake Griffin were doing tonight in Detroit when the entire roster of the Women's Final Four was doing the electric slide, followed by a dance-off between each team's most animated players.

I truly doubt the past two men's national players of the year were stranded in the middle of anything like this (Video).

Well, at least for one night, basketball was put on hold as the community celebrated its sport. Saturday begins the routine again.

I'm looking forward to the change of pace.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Courtside Blog: Oklahoma vs. Purdue

OU associate media relations director Jared Thompson will blog live courtside fromthe Ford Center as Oklahoma meets Purdue for its NCAA Championship Regional Final Game Tuesday at approximately 8 p.m. E-mail your questions to soonersideline@gmail.com.

10:07 p.m. -- Game. Set. Match. OU will advance to its second Final Four and meet Louisville in the national semifinals Sunday. See you in St. Louie.

10:02 p.m. -- Ashley Paris fouls out in her final game as a Sooner in Oklahoma. Standing ovation from the crowd. It's been an incredible four years for the Paris twins, who are responsible for growing the sport as much as anybody in the state.

10:01 p.m. -- Just saw Krista Sanchez in the stands -- can't leave her out of distinguish alumni here. My intuition tells me Erin Higgins is in the building, too.

9:56 p.m. -- FahKara Malone's night is over. Versyp has to pick her poison and figure out if she'll guard Whitney Hand or Danielle Robinson now.

9:54 p.m. -- Remember those ugly halftime shooting figures? OU is over 56 percent for the second half and Purdue has made 47 percent of its field goal attempts. Stark contrast from earlier.

9:50 p.m. -- Small source of amusement in a dogfight as June Courteau has to use the Purdue Boilermaker's sledgehammer to loosen that stuck ball.

Versyp calls a timeout before the score gets out of hand. It will be interesting to see her defensive changes as she can't depend on hack-a-Shaq techinques the way Courtney Paris is shooting free throws.

9:40 p.m. -- This was the fight both teams knew they were in for following Sunday's games. All five players on the court for both teams have to be guarded intensely at all times, including Amanda Thompson who just made her first basket of the tournament.

The first team to wear down will be the unfortunate one tonight.

OU coaches preached "No 3s" for Purdue in the timeout huddle.

9:36 p.m. -- Whitney Hand buries her third 3 of the night to put OU up 42-38 with 10:04 remaining. But Danielle Robinson got nabbed with her second foul on the following possession.

9:34 p.m. -- Oklahoma's original starting lineup of Hand, Paris, Paris, Robinson and Thompson have returned to the court together for the first time since the Big 12 Championship. Let's see how they play together.

9:31 p.m. -- Attendance has been announced at 11,529; easily the largest single-session attendance of any women's regional this season. The weekend's combined total is 21,872.

Figures like that keep the NCAA craving for more sites in Oklahoma. OU will host the women's first and second rounds at the Lloyd Noble Center next year. The Ford Center will also host the men's first and second rounds in 2009.

9:26 p.m. -- More notable people around the arena. Former OU assistant Bo Overton is here as well as alums Leah Rush, Chelsi Welch and Laura Andrews. I understand Bubba Paris is miced up for ESPN; I'm sure he has something to say.

Bob Stoops, Jeff Capel and Toby Keith have also been spotted somewhere.

9:23 p.m. -- The free throw make gives Courtney Paris her 127th career double-double.

9:21 p.m. -- Five huge blocks for Courtney Paris. The latest one causes a shot-clock violation for Purdue and gives the ball to Whitney Hand for another 3.

9:15 p.m. -- Great decision by Nyeshia to find Whitney for the 3 instead of taking a contested layup. Big momentum swing.

9:01 p.m. -- Here's a look at halftime numbers as Purdue leads 27-22.

Both teams are shooting ugly: Purdue at 30% and Oklahoma at 24%, the Sooners worst half of shooting this season. Neither team is keeping hold of the ball particularly well either as PU has nine turnovers and OU eight. The Boilermakers, however, are taking advantage of OU's mistakes, counting 11 points off turnovers while OU has just seven. Both teams have made just one 3-point shot.

Purdue's plan to no-catch Whitney Hand and double-team Courtney Paris has worked well to frustrate the Sooner offense. Nyeshia Stevenson will have to open up from 3-point range and Danielle Robinson must start making shots or get to the free-throw line.

You might see Sherri Coale switch to a high-low game with the Paris twins, putting Courtney up top and Ashley down in the paint to unlock some space under the basket. Ashley Paris has a good mismatch offensively and has been single-covered, but teammates have not looked to get her the ball.

OU is 5-2 this season when trailing at halftime.

8:40 p.m. -- Courtney Paris goes to the bench with two fouls. She's also recorded two blocks, which gives her 100 this season. Paris is the first woman to record 100 blocks in each of her four collegiate seasons.

8:36 p.m. -- OU is dominating the paint, outscoring Purdue 10-2 in the lane. However, the Sooners have hacked Campbell each time she's been near the rim and have allowed her three free trips to the line, allowing Purdue six easy points.

8:31 p.m. -- It's rare when Courtney Paris resets one of her single-game records, but she already has three steals tonight, matching her career best.

8:29 p.m. -- Heather Gottsch e-mails in asking how many tickets were sold in advance of tonight's game. The number was just over 10,000 earlier this afternoon. Although, it looks like a couple thousand more are inside tonight. The Ford Center sections 305-312 curtained Sunday night, but those are wide open now with a few hundred sprinkled throughout.

8:26 p.m. -- Versyp needed that timeout quicker. OU's run quick run was more a product of her team's endurance. The Sooners out-hustled Purdue during that last stretch and have retaken the lead, 15-13.

Campbell is back in the game.

8:22 p.m. -- Sharon Versyp has put speedy guard FahKara Malone on Whitney Hand in hopes the freshman won't get a chance to throw up a 3. Danielle Robinson will need to take advantage of the mismatch and get some jumpers going.

8:15 p.m. -- At the first media timeout and only each team's center has scored. Courtney Paris has OU's 4 and Danielle Campbell has Purdue's 2. Campbell was a high school teammate of OU's Amanda Thompson at Whitney Young High School in Chicago.

Thompson said before the game that Campbell was known for throwing elbows. Haven't seen that just yet, but I'll keep an eye out.

8:07 p.m. -- At tip-off now. Two words: It's loud.

8:02 p.m. -- Sherri Coale enters the court to raucous applause from the thousands in attendance. She's dressed head-to-toe in black, but has her Stella McCartney stilettos she famously wore in OU's intro video. Starting lineups are next.

7:45 p.m. -- Watching Courtney Paris warmup. Different intensity in her tonight than in recent games, should see some fireworks.

Tonight's officials are June Courteau, Felicia Grinter and Ronald Dressander with Angela Enlund as the alternate.

7:37 p.m. -- Thirty minutes to tip-off and the atmosphere is electric inside the Ford Center as an expected crowd of over 12,000 begins to fill in seats. Rumors are that the scalpers outside are selling the $31 lower level tickets for $75 apiece...crazy for a women's basketball game.

I just caught up with a very well-known Sooner who is here tonight in a working capacity. Stacey Dales is in the house calling the game with Craig Way on CBS/Westwood One Radio.

Click to Play

 

5:05 p.m. -- Well, here it is -- gameday in the Elite Eight. The final two tickets to St. Louis will be punched tonight as Arizona State meets Connecticut in Trenton, N.J., and Purdue and Oklahoma tango at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Both games will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Check back here for updates and reaction on tonight's games.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Courtside Blog: Oklahoma vs. Pittsburgh

OU associate media relations director Jared Thompson will blog live courtside fromthe Ford Center as Oklahoma meets Pittsburgh for its NCAA Championship Regional Semifinal Game Sunday at approximately 8:45 p.m. E-mail your questions to soonersideline@gmail.com.

10:52 p.m. -- Well, the game is wrapped and I'm signing off to do my post-game duties. Attendance tonight was 10,343. The Ford Center holds over 19,000. OU plays Purdue at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Be here.

10:40 p.m. -- Apparently, OU mascot Boomer became a little overzealous during a recent cheer. Boomer's in the back with the OU doctors with a knee injury. Fortunately, Boomer won't succumb to the treatment given to race horses with bum legs. This pony will be back in action Tuesday night.

10:28 p.m. -- Amanda Thompson is about to go in for the first time, hopefully to keep OU's rebounding advantage alive with Courtney Paris on the bench in foul trouble.

After being knotted at the half, OU is outrebounding Pitt 38-28.

10:24 p.m. -- With 11:54 to play its 63-37, or 22-4 this half.

Assistant coach Chad Thrailkill, strength coach Tim Overman, SoonerVision producer David Brown, OU radio play-by-play man Brian Brinkley and I have a tradition of eating Mexican food on game days. Today it was Chelino's. During that last timeout, Coach TK walked over to me and said we'll be eating at Chelino's again Tuesday.

10:20 p.m. -- I don't care what awards come out in the next couple days, but here's one that should go together: Whitney Hand and National Freshman of the Year.

10:18 p.m. -- OU mascot Boomer is egging each side of the arena to cheer louder than the other. If OU keeps the throttle down, that will soon be the only competition left in the Ford Center tonight.

Oklahoma has its third 20-point lead in three NCAA Championship games.

9:56 p.m. -- At halftime now and the OU coaches are fairly pleased with the team's effort. They are going to stress blocking out on the rebounds, but they knew it would be a tough gig against Pittsburgh's tall post players. The Panthers are one of the few teams that average more rebounds per game than the Sooners, but at halftime the rebounding margin is zero with both teams counting 22.

The stars of the game -- OU's Courtney Paris and Pitt's Shevonte Zellous are the only players with any foul trouble. Each have two personals.

Here's a look at some more halftime stats as OU leads 41-32:

Field Goal Percentage: OU - 45.9% (17-37); PITT - 38.5% (15-39)
3-Point Field Goal %: OU - 41.7% (5-12); PITT - 20.0% (1-5)
Free Throw Percentage: OU - 100% (2-2); PITT - 1-2 (50.0%)
Assists: OU - 11; PITT - 7
Turnovers: OU - 7; PITT - 5
Steals: OU - 3; PITT - 4
Blocks: OU - 2, PITT - 3

Whitney Hand is trying to take over the game. She already has 17 points, her most in a single half, and seven rebounds, matching a career high.

Danielle Robinson is nearly perfect from the field for the third straight NCAA tournament game with a 4-for-5 effort in the first period.

And how about Jenny Vining with two assists with no turnovers in six minutes of play. Good passing numbers for someone who comes into the game to be a perimter threat.

9:34 p.m. -- Wow to Whitney Hand again. During that timeout, Coach Coale came over to my spot and said, "Well, I'll take three more years of her."

I think all Sooner fans will.

9:28 p.m. -- Do you think Whitney Hand likes playing at the Ford Center? I do. Hand scored a career-high 20 points on a can't miss night during OU's February win versus Tennessee. Tonight she's all over the stat sheet...and the floor. Mom and dad are in the stands proudly watching, too.

9:25 p.m. -- That's Courtney Paris' fourth rebound. She just became the first college basketball player ever -- man or woman -- to record 2,500 points and 2,000 rebounds in a career. Well done.

9:19 p.m. -- I mentioned Stacey Dales is here tonight; she's behind the OU bench. Also here tonight are San Jose State head coach Pam DeCosta, one of Sherri Coale's first assistants and the one repsonsible for bringing Dales to OU from Canada, and former OU athletic trainer Wendee Lentz, who is supervising athletic training for this weekend's event.

9:14 p.m.-- There is definitely a home-court advantage tonight. Over 10,000 tickets were sold as of Sunday morning and its looks like all 10,000 are here, screaming for the Sooners.

The winner of tonight's game will face Purdue in the regional. The Boilermakers defeated Rutgers, 67-61, earlier tonight in a thriller.

9:10 p.m. -- Looks like Pitt gave up the press after its was successfully broken by OU on its first two possessions. Danielle Robinson took her 25th charge of the season and gave her 200th assist on Whitney Hand's early 3-pointer.

Robinson is one of only three Sooners to reach 200 assists in a season. The others are Stacey Dales and Sharee Mitchum. Dales is in attendance tonight and will be calling Tuesday's regional final for Westwood One radio.

ESPN2 has D-Rob's mom, Denise, miced up for the game...should be interesting.

9:03 p.m. -- We're seconds from gametime. Just before starting lineups Pitt coach Agnus Berenato greeted Sherri Coale with, "Let me see your nails!" It didn't take long for her to ask about her hair, either.

6:25 p.m. -- The national anthem has played as Rutgers and Purdue meet in the first regional semifinal game here at the Oklahoma City Regional. OU will arrive in about an hour. If you would like to send off the Sooners, meet us at the Skirvin Hotel for our departure at 7:30 p.m.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sooner Saturday

Oklahoma fans had a lot to cheer about this weekend following the men's basketball team's win over Syracuse Friday night and the women's team's appearance in the Oklahoma City Regional.

The Sooners arrived for practice and, as the No. 1 seed, got the choice locker room which usually houses the NBA's Thunder.

Oklahoma had the hometown crowd behind them, too. Approximately 200 fans attended the Saturday practices for Purdue, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and OU. The stands for the warmup session looked more packed than some of the arenas on TV today.

You can read more about Saturday here.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Courtside Blog: Oklahoma vs. Georgia Tech

OU associate media relations director Jared Thompson will blog live courtside from Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Oklahoma meets Georgia Tech for its NCAA Championship second-round game Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. E-mail your questions to soonersideline@gmail.com.

11:59 p.m. -- Already, getting packed for an early, but enjoyable flight out of Iowa tomorrow morning.

Oklahoma will meet fourth-seeded Pittsburgh at the Ford Center Sunday night at 9 p.m. The game will follow the Rutgers-Purde matchup and both will be nationally-televised on ESPN2 HD. No flipping channels next week.

We'll have ticket information to you ASAP.

Good night and Boomer Sooner!

10:19 p.m. -- Getting close to the finish and I'll probably sign off at any moment. A couple housekeeping items, though.

Special thanks to Paula Jantz and all the folks in Iowa for making this a great event. Additional thanks to Phil Haddy, Matthew Weitzel and Linda Edge-Dunlap for making my job this weekend so much easier.

And, last but not least, thanks to OU marketing director Ashley Gloystein for her list of things to do in Iowa. I've gained at least 10 pounds since Friday thanks to her food suggestions.

10:16 p.m. -- Ashley Paris' 15th rebound is a season high. Like I said earlier, she was ready to play.

10:14 p.m. -- Roethlisberger causes a major swing of momentum with that block, her first this season. She's played very inspired this week. Must have something to do with being close to her home state of Ohio.

10:08 p.m. -- I just realized Courtney Paris has six blocks and in now tied with Duke's Alison Bales (2004-07) for third all-time on the NCAA career blocks list with 434. Paris is 46 away from Sandora Irvin's (TCU, 2002-05) NCAA record.

Paris currently has 18 NCAA records. Here they are with figures entering the night:

Single-season rebounds: 539 (2006)
Freshman single-season rebounds: 539 (2006 -First freshman to lead NCAA DI women in rebounding)
Single-season double-doubles: 33 (2006, 2007)
Single-season consecutive double-doubles: 33 (2007)
*Career rebounds: 1,986 (2006-09)
*Career offensive rebounds: 725 (2006-09)
*Career defensive rebounds: 1,261 (2006-09)
*Career double-figure scoring games: 131 (2006-09)
Career double-doubles: 125 (as of March 15, 2009)
Career consecutive double-doubles: 112 (2006-09)
Fewest games to reach 1,000 rebounds: 66
Fewest games to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds: 67
Fewest games to reach 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds: 98
Only player to have 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a single season (2006, 2007)
First player to have 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in consecutive seasons (2006-07)
Highest two-season rebounding total: 1,043
Highest three-season rebounding total: 1,531
*Highest four-season rebounding total: 1,986 (as of March 22, 2009)
*-active records

10:05 p.m. -- Joseph send Williams and Sasha Goodlet back in for Georgia Tech nearing desperation time. OU converts a fast-break lay-up. Carlee Roethlisberger is nearing her second-straight double-figure scoring game in this tournament.

10:03 p.m. -- Courtney Paris gets tagged with her fourth personal foul. She has six points and eight rebounds and may fall short of her 127th career double-double. That's alright, though. In the three games Paris did not get a double-double this season, OU won by double-digits.

10:00 p.m. -- OU director of marketing Dave Haskin checks in with a text message saying the soft-serve is a popular choice at the concession stand tonight. Nothing like packing on the pounds during an extended road trip, Dave. Hope you have your running shoes next weekend in Oklahoma City.

9:56 p.m. -- Sherri Coale pulls Danielle Robinson out of the game for a short rest and to remind her to take the ball up the middle on the full-court press.

9:51 p.m. -- You might have noticed all the Vitamin Water paraphernalia around arenas while watching men's and women's NCAA tournament games. This year Coca-Cola, which paid handsomely for the right to be the official drink sponsor of the NCAA, switched its product of choice to advertise from Dasani to Vitamin Water.

I haven't yet tried the Vitamin Water, but I have been sneaking several complimentary bottles of the electrolyte-enhanced Smart Water to the floor. I write "sneaking" because the NCAA wants only cups courtside to maintain the brand identity.

Common sense dictates that bottles (with caps) don't spill, while cups, when hit by errantly-passed basketballs, make a huge mess.

I cringe every time a player dribbles near our bench, where Sherri Coale's cup of water waits precariously just inches from my computer.

9:46 p.m. -- Have to hand it to the Iowa fans. Though, the attendance is about half of what showed up two nights ago, they are definitely passioniate about tonight's game.

9:44 p.m. -- Courtney Paris is hustling tonight. Her fifth block spawned the fourth foul for Jacqua Williams. Williams is done until Georgia Tech gets desperate.

And, say what you will about Ashley Paris' offensive play tonight, but she's definitely not short on confidence. Last year, with a first-half like she had, she definitely would not still be looking to score.

9:33 p.m. -- Returning to the second half shortly. Here's a look at some intriguing numbers. Both teams leading scorers have been stymied tonight. Jacqua Williams is 0-for-3 with three fouls and played just half the first period. Courtney Paris has just two points and three rebounds, but her three blocks moved her into fourth all-time on the NCAA career blocks list with 431.

The Yellow Jackets are schooling the Sooners in the paint, 14-6, and have a 7 to 1 advantage on second-chance points despite a plus-1 rebounding advantage for OU.

There are nine fouls spread across GT's starters and just four for OU's starting five.

OU did not make a field goal for the final 7:08 of the period.

9:19 p.m. -- We're at halftime with the score knotted 29-29 and I assure you no one is "tweeting" from the locker room.

I personally could stand to live in a world without Twitter, but I did laugh at tech-savvy ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo's post while viewing the OU/Prairie View game Sunday night on ESPNU:

"The commercials you see on ESPNU are hilarious. The U viewer must be seen as a lazy, burger-eating group unable to use a spatula."

You can check out Rebecca's Twitter page here: http://twitter.com/RebeccaLobo

9:15 p.m. -- For those of you needing the score, live stats are provided by viewing GameTracker online here. It is also available in a link provided through the schedule.

9:06 p.m. -- Bad start for Ashley Paris who has blown her sixth layup. She had a slow start Sunday night, but scored 10 of her 14 points in the second half against Prairie View.

OU needs a spark and Sherri Coale is pulling Amanda Thompson off the bench to start it.

9:01 p.m. -- Good substitution by GT head coach MaChelle Joseph getting Jacqua Williams out of the game after those free throws. D-Rob just put a foul on her replacement Metra Walthour. Had Williams' been in the game, it would have been three early for GT's best player.

8:56 p.m. -- Georgia Tech quickly become a lot shorter with foul trouble, but also improved on their press with the quicker players on the court. They still aren't defending OU's guards, who have 18 of the Sooners' 20.

8:46 p.m. -- At the second media timeout and Hand's still perfect from the field. Georgia Tech is free to leave her open all night. Danielle Robinson's 2-for-2 from the field, too. Those guards have scored all of OU's 14 points.

8:37 p.m. -- Whitney Hand's confidence must be high. She's scored the only five points in the game thus far, all off Georgia Tech turnovers.

8:29 p.m. -- Starting lineups are wrapping. Here's the broadcast info again in case your just tuning in.

Note that ESPN2's high-definition channel will show whip-around coverage of all games. If you are in an Oklahoma market, you will need to watch a ESPN2's standard definition channel in order to see the game uninterrupted. The complete broadcast will also be on ESPNU.

8:26 p.m. -- Ashley Paris just walked over to me with an intense stare in her eyes and gave me a fist bump. She's ready.

8:21 p.m. -- The Iowa fans started to clap as the public address announced that Big 10 member Michigan State, a 9 seed, won its game against No. 1 seed Duke. They roared as he announced the score -- 63-49 -- a rout for the Spartans, who advance to the Berkeley Regional to face tonight's Ball State/Iowa State winner.

8:12 p.m. -- It's obvious everyone is anxious to start tonight's game. If playing at 8:30 p.m. wasn't strange enough, OU will be playing on a Tuesday for just the third time this season. The Sooners do have a good Tuesday night record, though, going 2-0 with wins on the road at Saint Louis, 87-61, on Dec. 30, and Texas Tech, 80-72, on Feb. 17.

8:06 p.m. -- Tonight's winner will meet Pittsburgh in the regional semifinal in Oklahoma City, with a chance to advance to play Rutgers or Purdue for a trip to the Final Four.

Twenty-two universities sent both their men's and women's basketball teams to the NCAA Championship this season. At least four will have both advance to the Sweet 16. Connecticut, Duke and Pittsburgh have already advanced both squads while the winner of the women's Michigan State/Duke game taking place right now will send both. Oklahoma's and Louisville's women can join their men's squads deeper in the dance should they win the late-starting contests.

7:59 p.m. -- There's already about 400 fans in the seats with about half being Sooner fans, including several with dual allegiance to the home team. In fact, OU mascot Boomer is halfway up the bench-side stands getting his picture taken with a couple Hawkeye supporters.

7:53 p.m. -- OU and Georgia Tech will both play the same starting lineups they had in Sunday's first round. OU will have Amanda Thompson active and ready, but would prefer to sit her unless needed. However, GT will again be without leading scorer, rebounder and 3-point threat Alex Montgomery, who suffered a knee injury last week.

June Courteau, Carla Fountain and Jesse Dickerson are tonight's officials with Dock Sisk and alternate. All are familiar in Big 12 circles.

7:30 p.m. -- OU and Georgia Tech have arrived at the arena and are on court warming up ahead of tip time, which is about one hour from now.

Seeing the two teams on the court together for the first time, its easy to see that Georgia Tech will have a height advantage. OU emphasized rebounding and protecting the paint in practice. The Sooners better get their hands up, too.

3:54 p.m. -- Back at the hotel now with a recharged computer. Since we've been gone, some inspiration has appeared on the doors to each of the players' rooms. The team watched Ali (Will Smith, Jamie Foxx) last night and several of the boxer's memorable quotes are littered down the hallway with the message, "Get back to OKC."

At the moment, this is my particular favorite Ali quote: "If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."

2:47 p.m. -- Shootaround is complete. Sherri Coale emphasized protecting the paint. Sorry for the shortness, but my battery is about to die.

1:44 p.m. -- The team is back at Carver-Hawkeye Arena ready to begin its hour-long shootaround in preparation for tonight's game. It's dreary outside with some sprinkles of rain, but nothing like what apparently going on back in Oklahoma right now. It's a good day to stay inside and watch some basketball.

11:38 a.m. - Here's the broadcast information for tonight. Note that ESPN2's high-definition channel will show whip-around coverage of all games. If you are in an Oklahoma market, you will need to watch a ESPN2's standard definition channel in order to see the game uninterrupted. The complete broadcast will also be on ESPNU.

Broadcast Information
Dave Barnett (play-by-play) and Sarah Kustok (analyst) have the call on ESPN2's coverage of the Oklahoma-Georgia Tech game, 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The complete game will broadcast live nationally on ESPNU and on ESPN2's standard definition channel in Oklahoma and Atlanta, as well as alternate ESPN2 channels on DirecTV and DISH Network.

ESPN2's high-definition channel will show whip-around coverage of all active women's basketball games.

10:21 a.m. -- Courntey Paris begins today's blogging with her latest entry:

The month of March will forever be special to me.

The NCAA tournament annually acts as the medium through which seven months worth of sweat and hustle converge to decide the best of the best in college basketball. I've been to four of these now and none more special than this one. This is my last time through March Madness, but that is not what makes it uniquely special. It's because I appreciate it more.

We arrived in Iowa City on Friday and you would think that, by now, our team would be sick of each other and ready to do anything but spend time with each other in the hotel all day. Only the opposite is true.

I wrote in my journal today that I can't think of a better group of people to be around than my teammates. I've soaked in every minute of our time together and the more time I spend with them, the more I want.

I was nervous going into our first-round game Sunday night, not for the brightness of the lights, the flashes of the cameras or the booming voice of the announcer -- all the things that remind you that a lot of eyes are watching you're every movement. I was nervous because I began thinking this might be the last time that I would get to play this game with the people I love.

My teammates and coaches are among the most wonderful people in my life.

As a senior, I'm hungry for more time, more chances to sing out of tune on long bus trips, to squeeze into foul smelling locker rooms for inspirational pre-game talks and to gather with my teammates at the center of a court after a game, raise my index finger into the sky and recite my school's chant while a sea of crimson-clad fans applaud.

The only way to stop the craving is to keeping winning.

I believe that great teams are made of great teammates. Only the best teams make the Final Four. The Sooners are not just fighting for a national title; we're fighting for more time together.

And, if I'm with my teammates in St. Louis in April, the hardware we take home will be secondary.

My arms locked with my teammates under a shower of celebration and tears will be my one shining moment.

-CP

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Courtside Blog: Oklahoma vs. Prairie View

OU associate media relations director Jared Thompson will blog live courtside from Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Oklahoma meets Prairie View for its NCAA Championship opener Sunday at 6:21 p.m. E-mail your questions to soonersideline@gmail.com.

10:40 p.m. -- Oklahoma will face Georgia Tech Tuesday at approximately 8:30 p.m. It will be the first ever matchup between the two basketball teams.

Following the game, Sherri Coale told her players to be excited about the win, but to turn their attention to Tuesday's game. Coale also reminded her players that its up to them to dictate the way they play and that sluggish strecthes often snowball if you choose to focus on the negative plays rather than on what you are doing at the moment.

Here's more post-game reaction from two of tonight's key players (apologies for the audio quality; it was a crowded locker room):

Video  Whitney Hand | Video  Danielle Robinson

8:08 p.m. -- OK, time to sign off for now and take care of some post-game duties. I'll return later with locker room reaction and some more notes.

8:01 p.m. -- Stat of the game...second-chance points: OU 22, Prairie View 2.

7:57 p.m. -- Brad Bunting, a Sooner fan from Indianola, Iowa, about a two-hour drive away from Iowa City, just e-mailed in that he would take Danielle Robinson over any point guard in the country. Tonight I would agree. Brad, we'll see you here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Tuesday.

7:53 p.m. -- And, of course, OU just turned it over. I promise not to write notes like that for the rest of the tournament.

7:52 p.m. -- I don't want to jinx anything, but OU has not had a turnover this half.

7:49 p.m. -- Pay attention to how OU substitutes for the rest of the game. Sherri Coale will look to get several different combinations on the floor so the reserves get experience with the starters just in case Amanda Thompson is not available Tuesday.

7:41 p.m. -- Strange situation with the audience. As more and more Iowa fans fill in -- I would estimate about 2,500-3,000 now at the 12-minute mark of the second half -- the crowd is actually getting quieter. As OU pulls away from Prairie View, the Iowa fans rooting for a possible matchup with the 16th-seeded Panthers are sitting on their hands.

We're looking at possibly Danielle Robinson's best game as a Sooner. Currently, she has 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals. That's an Amanda Thompson-like stat line in the box score.

7:28 p.m. -- With Courtney Paris' last basket, she passed Baylor's Sophia Young for most career games scoring in double figures. Paris and Young entered the night tied with 130. Paris has now upped that number to 131 for her 18th NCAA record.

7:21 p.m. -- A look at the halftime numbers as OU leads 38-28. The Sooners have 16 fast-break points compared to the Panthers' 2 and lead 14-0 in second chance points. The glaring number is that the Sooners aren't dominating in the paint. OU has 18 points in the paint, PV has 16.

Courtney Paris has a pair of blocks -- her 45th consecutive game with at least one -- and is two points and three boards shy of her 126th career double-double. An interesting note on Paris, she has either set or reset an NCAA record in 105 consecutive games. Crazy.

Danielle Robinson's 10 first-half points are her most since scoring 11 in the first 20 minutes versus Tennessee.

6:54 p.m. -- With a lot of energy from the bench players, it looks like Sherri Coale is content on sitting Amanda Thompson, who is nursing a foot injury, for the game. Thompson was put through some drills by OU's medical staff earlier in the day and said the foot felt fine.

6:45 p.m. -- Danielle Robinson is doing a little bit of everything. She's 4-of-5 from the field with four rebounds and three steals already. Given a well-deserved rest, she's still cheerleading from the bench.

The partisan crowd gives out a loud cheer as the PA announces that Big 10 member Minnesota has beaten Notre Dame, 79-71.

6:39 p.m. -- A number of e-mails already about ESPN2 coverage. If you are not in Oklahoma, the network is broadcasting whip-around coverage of all games right now. The OU game is on an alternate ESPN2 channel for DirecTV and DISH Network subscribers as well as ESPNU in standard definition.

6:34 p.m. -- Whitney Hand just sank her first 3-pointer in six games. Hopefully, this will inspire some confidence and open the scoring floodgates.

6:32 p.m. -- Already, OU has used its speed and size to its advantage, but has blown four layups. The Sooners have 14 field goal attempts to PV's six.

6:20 p.m. -- Starting lineups went a little better for Danielle Robinson. Unlike the Big 12 Championship semifinal, she wasn't full-checked back into the floor by Abi Olajuwon. Much more of a love tap this time.

Tonight's officials are Carla Fountain, Dock Sisk, Darci Doll and Doug Knight is the alternate. None have officiated an OU game this season.

6:14 p.m. -- OU athletics director Joe Castiglione has made the drive from Kansas City after watching the men advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003. Joe C. is currently isolated in the media room watching the final minutes of the Marquette/Missouri men's game. Castiglione served five years as the A.D. at Mizzou before coming to Oklahoma.

6:11 p.m. -- The reknowned Prairie View band just finished a terrific rendition of the national anthem. Which team's band plays the national anthem is decided by coin flip between the head coaches of teams in the first session in NCAA competition. It would have been more interesting instead if Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and Sherri Coale played HORSE for the right, but I can only assume the outcome would be similiar.

6:00 p.m. -- It's about 20 minutes until tip-off and there's already a few hundred spectators in their seats. The crowd is dominateed by Iowa fans, of course, who are pumped just one day after the Hawkeye wrestlers claimed a national title. I'm sure that more seats will turn yellow and black as fans fill in the gaps as we near the start of the Oklahoma City Region game that follows ours between 8-seed Iowa and 9-seed Georgia Tech.

5:15 p.m. -- The Sooners have arrived at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their first-round matchup with Prairie View in the 2009 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship. Oklahoma is making its 10th consecutive NCAA appearance and is 17-11 overall in the tournament, including a 9-2 record in the first round.

"Let's go!"

Nyeshia Stevenson shouts to the team as the 60-minute clock starts and teams can begin warmups on the court.

12:09 p.m. -- Back at the hotel and the team will spent its brief rest period watching one of two basketball games. On the tube is the women's matchup between Utah and Villanova and the men's game between Arizona State and Syracuse (the winner will face OU's men's team next Friday in Memphis).

11:35 a.m. -- Oklahoma's shootaround has wrapped. The team focused on breaking the press, which it expects Prairie View to do substantially tonight. Coach Coale left the team with an important message to think about over the next few hours -- value the basketball.

10:51 a.m. -- Oklahoma returned to the court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Sunday morning for an hour-long shootaround, a warm up for tonight's game. Every minute of practice time is scrutinized by the NCAA to be sure no team has a competitive advantage. Thus, the countdown clock begins once the first player removes a basketball from the rack.

Prairie View started and finished early, their scheduled practice time just ahead of the Sooners, and so Oklahoma was able to enter the gym quicker than expected. After a few seconds of Nyeshia drumming on the Iowa pep band's trap set, Ashley and Whitney dancing, and Jenny posing, Sherri Coale asked the NCAA staff to start the clock to begin practice, jokingly adding, "lest we lose our minds."

7:54 a.m. -- Oklahoma players have an 8:30 a.m. wake-up call for breakfast but don't play until about 10 hours later. Still, the free time on game days is very limited. Following a team breakfast and devotional, the Sooners will depart for the arena and participate in an hour-long shootaround. Then they'll have a two-hour rest period, their pre-game meal and begin getting taped by athletic trainer Carolynn Loon.

What's the best thing about Iowa City? All-day breakfast at the Hamburg Inn. Some of the staff will be enjoying that after an early shootaround Sunday morning at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The California Omelet is item of choice (big thanks to our new friends Ashley Granger and Lyndsey Wilson for the recommendation).

After that, it's time to take care of business. OU vs. Prairie View starts at 6:21 p.m. and will broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPNU. In Oklahoma, standard- and high-definition channels will carry the complete game. In other areas, check local listings for alternate channels on DirecTV and DISH Network.

Check back here for the live courtside blog for more info as the game progresses.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Time to Celebrate

The game isn't until tomorrow night, but Saturday night was a time of celebration for the women's basketball team in Iowa City. The Sooners watched the men's basketball team bully Michigan and punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 and then ate dinner at Iowa River Power.

After some pleading, the staff allowed Nyeshia Stevenson to have cake for her 21st birthday. She split the slice of chocolate fudge cake with each of her teammates.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Media Day at Iowa City

It was day one for the Sooners in Iowa City, which meant meeting the media. The effects of the economy on the ability for newswriters and broadcasters to travel to events has been stymied by the economy, and today's showing by the press proved no different. The University of Oklahoma women's basketball staff outnumbered the reporters in the press conference and only one national sportswriter, despite the proximity to a major market like Chicago, was in attendance Saturday. That was Jeré Longman of the New York Times. Sooner fans might remember some of Longman's work: he wrote this and, more recently, this.

On a more positive note, officials expect about 5,000 fans for Sunday's first-round games, significantly above the 3,400 per home game averaged by the Hawkeyes this season.

Iowa officials have been fantastic with early hosting duties. Carver-Hawkeye is an older, smaller building, and the logisitics of holding so many teams in one place is a tough job, but the home staff has made everything pleasurable and convienient to all parties involved.

Dave Barnett and Sarah Kustok will call the game on ESPN2 (also on ESPNU and ESPN360.com) Sunday night.

Barnett is a Denton, Texas, native and, as a Texas Rangers broadcasters, has some familiarity with Rich Hand, former Ranger pitcher and father of OU guard Whitney Hand.

Kustok, a Chicago native, played guard at DePaul University from 2000 to 2004 and later joined Doug Bruno's staff as an assistant coach.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Courtney Paris: One Goal Down, One to Go

NORMAN, Okla. (AP)--Well, the regular season is over and a new season begins with the NCAA tournament.

They don't call it March Madness for nothing.

It seems everything gets a bit crazier, a little more hectic about this time of year. The world seems to pay more attention to what you're doing at every moment and, if you're not used to it, it can drop on you like a weight.

One thing that won't be weighing me down anymore is school. I'm happy to announce that I've finished my final course and will graduate in May with my degree in journalism. Getting my degree has always been my main goal the past four years.

Now, it's on to my other goal.

You should know by now, I made a little promise to the Sooners fans a couple weeks back. I said on senior night that our team would win the national title or I would pay back my scholarship.

I came to Oklahoma with two goals--to earn my degree and to win a national championship.

I've been to the Final Four every year for all the awards ceremonies, but I desperately want to be there with my team. There's a quote that hangs on the wall outside our locker room that reads: "Leave your story better than you found it."

Our story began decades ago with great women who shared dingy uniforms and played for just a handful of spectators. But those pioneers knew their sacrifices would create better opportunities for the next generations--for people like me. The senior class here when I was a freshman sacrificed for me, to make me the player and person I am. I think our freshmen class feels the same about this year's seniors.

Today we play in front of sellout crowds and nationally televised audiences. Our equipment is new. We jet to most road games. Most importantly, our success has made us role models in our community. There's no shame in a young girl playing sports anymore. It wasn't like that just a few years ago.

Our team is special. I believe in them more than I have any other group of people I've ever known. Our story is on the brink of its next chapter and winning a national championship is the topic I want to write.

And I won't feel like I've earned my scholarship unless that happens.

I'm not crazy. I know what you're thinking when you read this. But, like I said, the NCAA tournament is a new season and, for me, my last trip to the dance.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

-CP

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ashley and Courtney Share the Spotlight

ESPN catches up with the Paris twins in Norman to get their take on just what it has been like the past four years being both sisters and teammates.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scouting the Iowa City Opponents

First Round - Prairie View
Prairie View (Texas) A&M earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship after winning the SWAC Championship. At 23-10 overall and 17-1 in conference games, the Lady Panthers ended the season with a 19-game winning streak, currently the nation's fourth longest and was just one of two SWAC teams with a record better than .500. Prairie View is appearing in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship for the second time in program history, but second time in three seasons.

The Lady Panthers are coached by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, a two-time WNBA MVP who led the Houston Comets to the league's first four titles. She has led Prairie View to the SWAC title in each of her three seasons following a coaching stint with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

Prairie View had a 6-9 non-conference record, including a 1-4 mark on the road and 4-4 mark at neutral sites. The Panthers and Sooners share two common opponents -- Iowa State and Texas Tech. Prairie View lost to Iowa State, 75-59, in a tournament in Hawaii on Nov. 28 and fell, 72-55, at Texas Tech on Dec. 18. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State once in Norman and Texas Tech twice by at least an eight-point margin of victory in each contest.

Prairie View narrowly lost at Rutgers, a 7 seed, 58-56, on Dec. 11.

All-time, Oklahoma is 6-0 versus Prairie View. The Sooners played the Panthers twice in home-and-home series in each the 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. The smallest margin of victory for the Sooners was 28 points in a 92-68 victory at Prairie View on Dec. 12, 1990. The average margin of victory in the six-game series was 52 points.

Candice Thomas led the Lady Panthers, averaging 13.1 points. Gaati Werema and Dominique Smith added 12.1 and 10.6 points per game, respectively.

The Panthers tallied 66.1 points per game, outscoring opponents by an average of 12 points, and shot 43 percent from the field, including a 29 percent mark from beyond the arc.

Second Round - Iowa or Georgia Tech
Oklahoma City Region No. 8 and 9 seeds know each other well. Iowa and Georgia Tech met early last season as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Yellow Jackets walked away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 76-57 thumping of Iowa on Nov. 28, 2007.

Iowa enters the tournament an identical record as it had one year ago, 21-10 overall and 13-5 in the Big Ten, tying Michigan State and Purdue for second place in the league standings. Iowa lost to Kansas, 76-55 and California, 76-43, but defeated Texas Tech, 56-48, and Iowa State, 66-46. Kristi Smith leads the Hawkeyes, averaging 13.4 points. Megan Skouby and Wendy Ausdemore each contribute 12.4 points per game.

While its scoring offense (68.2 points per game) ranks only 65th in the NCAA, its shooting is among the best. Iowa ranks fourth in free throw percentage (.794), 19th in 3-point field goal percentage (.364) and 40th in field goal percentage (.432). The Hawkeyes also rank 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio (.97).

Iowa is 2-1 all-time versus Oklahoma. The Sooners won the last meeting, 85-68, at the Odwalla Classic in San Francisco on Nov. 25, 2005.

The Hawkeyes, who will be playing on their home court, have a 13-1 home record this season losing only to Purdue, 69-60, in their Big Ten home opener.

Georgia Tech has a record of 21-9 overall, including a 4-5 road record, and went 3-5 against teams ranked in the top 25. Their marquee victory was a 66-62 defeat of then-No. 2 North Carolina on Jan. 22.
Georgia Tech is led by Alex Montgomery, who averages 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds. Jacqua Williams averages 11.7 points and Iasia Hemingway averages 10.9.

Georgia Tech leads the nation in steals, forcing 14 per game. Individually, Williams has 107 steals this season, fourth best in the NCAA. The Yellow Jackets also have one of the nation's top 3-point field goal defenses, allowing just 26.3 percent from beyond the arc.

The Yellow Jackets gave No. 1 Connecticut one of its only scares this season, a 82-71 loss, in its season opener. Georgia Tech also has a 76-68 win over Texas and a split with North Carolina during the conference schedule as its comparison to OU with common opponents.

Oklahoma and Georgia Tech have never met.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Selection Monday by the Numbers

ESPN will announce the 64-team bracket for the 2009 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship on its selection show at 6 p.m. Central Monday evening. The Sooners are expected to be one of the top seeds. Here's a brief look at OU's history in the NCAA Championship:

1 - Oklahoma's only previous No. 1 seed was earned in 2002. The Sooners finished as the national runner-up to Connecticut.

2 - Oklahoma has been a No. 2 seed three previous times - 2001, 2006 and 2007. Each time OU lost in the regional semifinal (Sweet 16 round).

4 - Losing in the Big 12 Championship is not a bad omen for the Sooners. Four of the past six national champions did not win their conference tournaments (2003 and 2004 Connecticut, 2006 Maryland and 2007 Tennessee).

11 - Oklahoma's four losses have come to teams ranked within the top 11 of the current Associated Press poll (No. 1 Connecticut, No. 10 Texas A&M [twice] and No. 11 North Carolina). The loss to North Carolina and first loss to Texas A&M were each by one point. OU completed the 2008-09 season No. 1 in strength of schedule and RPI.

12 - Oklahoma's 2009 appearance in the NCAA Championship will be its 12th overall and 10th consecutive. OU has played in the NCAA Championship in 1986, 1995 and every year since 2000.

18 - OU has 18 wins in the NCAA Championship. Oklahoma's all-time NCAA Championship record is 18-11. OU is 9-2 all-time in the first round; 6-3 in the second round; 1-5 in the regional semifinal; 1-0 in the regional final; 1-0 in the national semifinal and 0-1 in the national championship.

30 - Courtney Paris need just 30 rebounds to become the first college basketball player ever - any gender, any membership, any division - to reach 2,500 points and 2,000 rebounds in a career. Only six - five men and one woman - have reached 2,000 points and 2,000 rebounds.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Courtney Paris Named to All-Big 12 Tournament Team

Courtney Paris was named to the Big 12 Championship Team Sunday. It was the third time in her career she earned the honor. Joining Paris were most outstanding player Jessica Morrow (Baylor), Morghan Medlock (Baylor), Jhasmin Player (Baylor), Takia Starks (Texas A&M), Danielle Gant (Texas A&M) and Tanisha Smith (Texas A&M).

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Paris on Final Wooden Award Ballot

Courtney Paris was named to the official ballot for the Wooden Award late Thursday. Paris, a three-time Wooden All-American leads the list of 18 candidates. The panel of voters, which includes prominent media, coaches and administrators from across the nation, have until March 30 to vote. The five finalists, who comprise the Wooden All-America Team, and winner will be announced at the Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 10. Remember, fans can also help Courtney Paris win the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award by voting online every day through March 22.

2009 Wooden Award Candidates
Jayne Appel
6-4
F/C
Jr.
Stanford
Chante Black
6-5
F/C
Sr.
Duke
DeWanna Bonner
6-4
G
Sr.
Auburn
Alysha Clark
5-10
F
Jr.
Middle Tennessee St.
Marissa Coleman
6-1
G/F
Sr.
Maryland
Jantel Lavender
6-4
C
So.
Ohio State
Shalee Lehning
5-9
G
Sr.
Kansas State
Angel McCoughtry
6-1
F
Sr.
Louisville
Renee Montgomery
5-7
G
Jr.
Connecticut
Maya Moore
6-1
F
So.
Connecticut
Courtney Paris
6-4
C
Sr.
Oklahoma
Ta'Shia Phillips
6-6
C
So.
Xavier
Epiphanny Prince
5-9
G
Jr.
Rutgers
Andrea Riley
5-5
G
Jr.
Oklahoma State
Kristi Toliver
5-7
G
Sr.
Maryland
Ashley Walker
6-1
F
Sr.
California
Danielle Wilson
6-3
G
Jr.
Baylor
Monica Wright
5-11
G
Jr.
Virginia
Shavonte Zellous
5-11
G
Sr.
Pittsburgh

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Register for Postseason Banquet

NORMAN, Okla. -- Sherri Coale and the University of Oklahoma women's basketball team invite Sooner fans to join them in celebration of the 2008-09 season at the team's annual postseason banquet Monday, April 20.

The festivities will take place at the U.S. Postal Service National Center for Employee Development at 2701 E. Imhoff Road in Norman. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the program beginning at 7 p.m.

Seats are $45 for adults and $30 for children. Checks (please do not send cash) should be sent to:

Oklahoma Women's Basketball
2900 Jenkins Avenue
Norman, OK 73019

Due to limited seating availability, checks must be received before seats can be reserved. Should registered fans be unable to attend the banquet for any reason, the cost will be considered a donation to Oklahoma Women's Basketball.

The Sooners claimed their sixth Big 12 regular-season title in 2009 and begin postseason play with a national No. 3 ranking. Oklahoma boasts the 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year Sherri Coale, Player of the Year Courtney Paris, Freshman of the Year Whitney Hand and Sixth Man Award winner Nyeshia Stevenson.

Be sure to register and celebrate with the Sooners on another wonderful season of OU women's basketball.

For more information, call the OU women's basketball office at (405) 325-8322.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

KAUT to Replay OU-Texas Tech Game Broadcast

NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma City-based KAUT-TV "OK 43" (COX Channel 16) will replay the Oklahoma-Texas Tech women's basketball game Saturday, March 7, at 9 p.m.

The game originally aired Wednesday night, but experienced technical difficulties during the broadcast.

No. 3 Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech, 61-49, in the final game at the Lloyd Noble Center for seniors Ashley and Courtney Paris and Carolyn Winchester. The win also gave the Sooners outright ownership of the 2009 Big 12 Conference regular-season title.

Oklahoma meets No. 15/16 Texas for the Big 12 regular-season finale in Austin, Texas, Sunday, March 8, at 2:30 p.m. The game will air of Fox SportsNet.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Red Carpet Challenge - Whitney Hand

Freshman Whitney Hand's version of the Red Carpet Challenge is up. Competing for who knows her best is her sister, Jordyn, and teammate Carlee Roethlisberger.

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Friday, Feb. 21, 2009

Red Carpet Challenge - Carlee Roethlisberger

Senior Carolyn Winchester is back against sophomore Danielle Robinson, who just happens to be Carlee Roethlisberger's roommate. Catch the Red Carpet Challenge and more on Sooner Basketball with Sherri Coale.

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Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2009

Ratings Game - Valentine's Day

Valentine's Night was lovely to the Sooners, who picked up a win against Kansas and dominated television ratings locally. One ratings point represents the percentage of viewing households in the share market that were tuned in to each program.

PROGRAM (STATION) RATING
OU Women's Basketball, CBS (KWTV) 6.1
COPS, FOX (KOKH) 4.1
Law and Order SVU, NBC (KFOR) 3.7
Charlie Brown Valentine's, ABC (KOCO) 2.8
Grey's Anatomy, ABC (KOCO) 1.9


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Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2009

WBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Fund Charity Auction Begins

As part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative, the Oklahoma women's basketball team, in partnership with CBS College Sports, is auctioning off several items to help promote breast cancer awareness.

A total of 14 commemorative and game-used items from OU's Pack the Place Pink Night presented by outreach.ou.edu on Saturday, Feb. 21, against Baylor are now available in the official OU Online Auction.

All proceeds generated by the auction will be donated to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Bidding ends on Friday, Feb. 27, one week following the game.

Click Here to Bid on Items

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Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

Women's Basketball Drawing Top Ratings

In the wake of setting ESPN2's record share and rating of a women's basketball "Big Monday" game when the Sooners defeated Tennessee at the Ford Center on Feb. 2, OU continues to draw high televsion ratings locally. Wednesday night's broadcast of the OU-Iowa State victory earned KWTV-CBS the second spot on primetime ratings just behind FOX's American Idol.

One ratings point represents the percentage of viewing households in the share market that were tuned in to each program.

PROGRAM (STATION) OVERNIGHT RATING
American Idol, FOX (KOKH) 9.2
OU Women's Basketball, CBS (KWTV) 7.9
Lost, ABC (KOCO) 7.1
Knight Rider, NBC (KFOR) 4.9
Life, NBC (KFOR) 4.3

Stay in Valentine's night and turn to KWTV Channel 9 in Oklahoma City as the next OU women's basketball broadcast takes place. Oklahoma travel to Kansas to face the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse Saturday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m.

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Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

Senior Red Carpet Challenge

Seniors Carolyn Winchester and Ashley Paris competed in this week's Red Carpet Challenege, a segment of Sooner Basketball with Sherri Coale that pits two contestantsagainst one another in a mock quiz show about who knows their teammates the best. This week's center of attention -- Courtney Paris. You might be surprised to see who knew her best.

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Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

Big Monday a Big Hit

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Monday's women's basketball matchup between Oklahoma and Tennessee on ESPN2 was the highest rated "Big Monday" telecast in history.

There were plenty of storylines entering the game as No. 2 Oklahoma halted Pat Summitt's quest for 1,000 victories with its 80-70 win. The broadcast garnered a 1.0 rating and was viewed by an average of 940,000 households, the most viewed matchup in the history of the primetime, game-of-the-week series, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Big Monday telecast also featured college basketball Hall of Famers Bob Knight and Nancy Lieberman sharing analyst duties with ESPN men's college basketball telecast partner Brent Musburger and sideline reporter Holly Rowe.

The game, held at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, was attended by 12,552 fans who witnessed history live as the Sooners turned a 15-pointed deficit into an 18-point lead to cruise to victory for the first time over the Lady Vols.

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Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2009

Coach Donovan Speaks on the Streak

Courtney Paris' streak of consecutive games with a double-double ended at 112, an NCAA record for any gender of basketball, against Tennessee Monday, Feb. 2. The streak lived over four seasons of basketball for a total of 1,159 days. Perhaps the most remarkable statistic about the streak is how far it was extended from its previous record.

According to the NCAA, former Old Dominion star Anne Donovan, now the USA Basketball head coach, was second with 19 consecutive games with a double-double, lasting over two seasons in 1982.

This was Donovan's reaction to Courtney's streak finally ending:

"Courtney's streak of 112 double-doubles is an amazing feat. That kind of consistency from her freshman season through now, in one of the premier women's basketball conferences in the country, is not likely to ever be broken.

"Her commitment to helping Oklahoma firmly establish itself as one of the best programs in the nation, has brought recognition to women's basketball from outside our sport. I think people from all professions appreciate and aspire to that kind of day-to-day accomplishment, work ethic and mind set to reach higher."

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Monday, Feb. 2, 2009

Who Do You Want Taking The Buzzer Beater?

Following her 8-of-9 (4-of-5 from 3-point range) performance against Tennessee, WBCA's Shootaround with Beth and Debbie has posed the question:Who do you want to take a buzzer beating shot to win a game?

Canididates include Maryland's Kristi Toliver, Rutgers' Epiphanny Prince, Tennessee's Angie Bjorklund, Cal's Devanei Hampton and Oklahoma's Whitney Hand.

Sooner fans, vote here and enlighten some of the basketball-watching world.

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Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009

President Bush Witnesses Sooners' 'W'

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Former President George W. Bush attended a Baylor women's basketball game against Oklahoma in one of his first public appearances since returning to his Crawford ranch.

Bush and his wife, Laura, walked onto the court Wednesday evening with Baylor coach Kim Mulkey after the former president addressed the team before the game. As soon as Bush and Mulkey emerged from the tunnel, without any introduction, the crowd stood and broke into loud applause.

The Bushes then took their seats in the first row behind the bench.

The Baylor campus is about 25 miles from the Bush ranch in Crawford, where they have been staying since last week when President Barack Obama took office.

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Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009

Courtney Remembers Kay Yow

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Since I last checked in we started Big 12 play. While I want to say we've had a great start, I know we still have so much more to work and more tough games to come.

That has been nothing but the theme in this conference - we just won a big game against a very good Texas team and here we are getting ready for another highly-ranked team in Baylor.

The chemistry of my team is coming along well. Were getting better every day and learning from each game we play. We're clicking and balancing the different dimensions of our team.

Danielle Robinson and my sister Ashley are probably the two most improved players at their positions in the country and Whitney Hand has to be one of the most impactful freshmen - reasons we have kept our winning streak alive.

But, I think, more than anything, we are just having fun.

Ashley, the self-proclaimed funniest person on the team, started a little chant for us on one of our road trips.

We were walking through the halls in our hotel in St. Louis and half the team was ahead of the group and Ashley says, "You think the six of us could take those guys on in a battle?''

Then, out of nowhere, she yells, "We got some soldiers in the house. I said we got some soldiers in the house,'' and throws her fist in the air twice while chanting, "Whoop! Whoop!''

It was hilarious, and now we are the "Sooner Soldiers'' and now there isn't a day that goes by without hearing, "Whoop! Whoop! Soldiers in the house!''

Speaking of soldiers, there is one who had been fighting her battle for all my life (21 years). A woman who would be first pick in my foxhole.

Coach Kay Yow will be greatly missed.

Her life, her fight, her courage as coach and a person motivates so many to live better, to fight their own misfortunes and to do what they do with respect and passion.

Before we took the floor in our game against Texas, Coach Coale made a request of us to play in such a way that would make Coach Yow proud. I hope we did that for her and continue to do that for her in the sport she was passionate about.

"Whoop! Whoop!'' for Coach Yow and all the soldiers fighting the battle against cancer.

I know Kay Yow is in a better place and so am I for living in a world that she touched.

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Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009

Kay Yow Passes

ATLANTA --The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, announce the heartbreaking loss of North Carolina State head women's basketball coach Kay Yow. Yow passed away this morning after facing three bouts with breast cancer.

"Coach Kay Yow had a remarkable career in the sport of women's basketball," Oklahoma head coach and WBCA President Sherri Coale said. "Her resume and associated accolades reveal her professional excellence, but her legacy will be the remarkable impact she had on all with whom she came in contact. In sickness and in health she was a bastion of courage and kindness. Her zest for life and her determination to make a difference in this world have galvanized our profession while inspiring millions."

"Words cannot even begin to express the impact that Coach Yow had on me personally and on this Association," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "I have known her for 32 years, and she is by far one of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to get to know. Her legacy and impact will continue to live on even in her passing through her Foundation leading us toward a cure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family. This is a very sad day for all of us."

"What a sad day for all of us with the loss of such a dear coach, friend and mentor, Kay Yow," said Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund President Marsha Sharp. "It is humbling to serve as the President of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, and to have the opportunity to uphold her legacy of faith, integrity, inspiration and leadership through the Fund. I am positive that she would want us all to unite and find a way to continue the battle that she fought for years. We WILL find a cure for cancer."

Yow is a past president and founding member of the WBCA, and served as a leader and a galvanizing voice for the Association. She was an Olympic Gold Medal head coach in 1988, NCAA® Elite Eight® and Women's Final Four® coach in 1998, Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2000, as well as a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2002. Yow won the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance at the 2007 ESPY Awards. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987.

In December 2007, Yow established the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation as a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.

"I am honored to have a Fund established in partnership with The V Foundation that bears the name of Kay Yow," said Nick Valvano, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. "Her courage, faith and legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those she helped to inspire throughout her coaching career and battle with cancer."

Yow, 66, had been supported by her family and her staff in the last several days and was even able to visit with her entire team at WakeMed Cary Hospital earlier this week.

In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund at www.JimmyV.org, by calling 1-800-4JimmyV, or by mailing checks to the WBCA with attention Megan Smith at 4646 Lawrenceville Hwy. Lilburn, GA 30047. All donations are tax deductible. Visiting and funeral arrangements will be posted on www.wbca.org as soon as they are available.

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Monday, Jan. 19, 2009

Griffin, Paris on ESPN First Take Tuesday

Before tuning to the Presedential Inauguration, dial your TVs to ESPN. Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris are schedule to appear together live for a segment on ESPN's First Take Tuesday morning at 10:15 a.m. Central. The duo represents a rare circumstance where both the men's and women's national basketball player of the year candidates play at the same school.

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Friday, Jan. 16, 2009

Red Carpet Challenge

If you haven't been checking out Sherri Coale's weekly shows, you've been missing the Red Carpet Challenge where teammates/friends of an OU basketball player are challenged head-to-head to answer trivia about that player. Sooner Basketball with Sherri Coale is available as a webcast on SoonerSports.com All-Access and also airs on several stations in and around the Oklahoma area. Check your local listings for dates and times.

In this week's Red Carpet Challenge, Ashley Paris and Lauren Willis battle for the right to be Jenny Vining's best friend.

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Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009

CP3 kicks off the New Year

Well, it's after the holiday season and the New Year. While most students got to relax at home for a couple weeks, no such luck for us women's basketball players. We do get a few days off but it's mostly to get recharged for the conference season. I'll attempt to briefly review all that's happened since my last blog.

Christmas was great! Although I sat through a flight delay and I was charged for a hotel room I never used, it was good to see some of the family again. Everyone knows my sister, Ashley, but they don't realize we have four older brothers. It's tough to see everyone in a family that large, but we do our best to get in touch throughout the year.

Basketball is going fine and, while there is always something to discuss, there's nothing much I want to touch on at this point. We picked up a few wins, including two back in my home state of California, and I'm looking forward to playing against a very tough Big 12 schedule.

We went to Saint Louis University to play "Slu'' as the natives called them. While we were there a few of us walked down to the Arch and took a tour to the top. I am afraid of heights so that is a huge deal for me and a fun little bonus to our road trip.

School - I did well last semester although not as well as I would have liked. I now have one eight-week math course this spring and then I am finished with my degree. Thank goodness! I had been told of the feeling of satisfaction and relief you get once you finish school, but I never thought it would be this good. It's like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I'm pumped to be so close to the next stage of my life.

I was able to catch a few movies recently. I absolutely loved "Marley & Me.'' Some people might label it sad, which it was at the end, but it was a "good sad,'' like the movie "Stepmom'' with Julia Roberts that made you cry in a good way.

Speaking of movies I was flipping through the channels the other day and ran into one of my old favorites, "Napoleon Dynamite.'' Ha! Very pointless and very funny.

As for the New Year and my resolutions: To mend, rebuild and structure my relationships for the better; to read one book a month and write every day; and no more eating junk food.

I promise more insight next time, for now best to all in 2009.

Courtney Paris

 

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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008

ESPN The Magazine features Courtney Paris

Before the season began, ESPN The Magazine's Jerry Bembry visited with Courtney Paris and those who know her best. That story will be included in the Dec. 29 issue that hits newsstands soon. For now, you can read this companion piece and view video Bembry compiled about Oklahoma's all-universe center.

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Monday, Dec. 22, 2008

Watch the Comeback

The game wasn't televised, but cameras were there. Created by syncing the OU coaches' game video with the audio from the Sooner Sports Network radio broadcast with play-by-play announcer Brian Brinkley and color analyst Kendra Wecker, this SoonerSports.com web exclusive is now available.

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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008

Willis Awarded Scholarship

Sherri Coale presented sophomore guard Lauren Willis an early gift this holiday season.

Coale surprised Willis with a grant-in-aid contract at the team's annual holiday party. A speechless Willis, after being tackled and hugged by each of her teammates, promptly signed the document, becoming the team's 13th scholarship player.

"This has definitely been earned." Coale said during the presentation. "Based on a lot of stuff that has been earned; based on tremendous commitment and dedication and selflessness and attitude that I'm proud of -- at this time I would like to give this to Lauren Willis."

Coale then handed Willis an envelope containg the grant-in-aid form and chaos ensued.

The Overland Park, Kan., native was an all-state player and McDonald's All-America nominee who walked on to the Sooner team despite receiving scholarship offers from several institutions, including some Big 12 programs.

Video Watch Coale surprise Willis with the scholarship

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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008

Happy Holidays

View photos from the Sooners' caroling exploits Saturday afternoon. OU's women's basketball team stopped by local nursing centers to spread some holiday cheer.

Photos  Photos

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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008

Sooners Deck the Halls

Members of the Oklahoma women's basketball team will be spreading holiday cheer Saturday. The Sooners will visit two local nursing centers and sing Christmas carols.

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008
3 p.m. at Rambling Oaks Assited Living, 1060 Rambling Oaks Drive, Norman, OK.
4 p.m. at Grace Living Center, 201 48th Avenue SW, Norman, OK.

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Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008

Meet the Robinsons

San Jose, Calif., native Danielle Robinson leads a video tour of the Sooners' visit to her hometown for last weekend's wins against Cal State Baskersfiled and California. Stops at Santana Row, In-N-Out Burger, Danielle's home and more quality time at the airport highlight the trip.

 

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Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008

Sooners Engineer NCAA's Greatest Comeback

The 26-point deficit overcome by Oklahoma to win Saturday night was the second greatest in NCAA Division I history. It was also the greatest ever for a team winning in regulation time. Oklahoma trailed California 52-26 at halftime before beginning a 10-0 run, closing the gap, with 19:00 remaining in the second half.

Only Texas State, on Feb. 18, 2006, had overcome a greater deficit. TSU trailed UT-San Antonio 40-8 (32 points) with 2:18 remaining in the first half and then won 73-71 in overtime. TSU had a 27-point halftime deficit in that game.

Also, Houston trailed Lamar 48-22 (26 points) with 19:28 remaining in the second half and won 82-75 in overtime on Jan. 2, 2008.

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Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008

About the Streak

Courtney Paris returns with her latest blog entry, this time focused on her 100th consecutive double-double and how it compares to the greatest streaks in sports history...

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Blake Griffin has become my new basketball idol. He dominates.

It's unbelievable, what he does on the court is literally like watching a man amongst boys. I think he started off the season averaging something like 27 points and 19 rebounds -- absolutely crazy and fun to watch.

Our men's team played Southern Cal the other night and, although Lil Romeo would be sitting on the bench for the Trojans, I couldn't make it to the game because of a class. I did make it home in time to watch the closing minutes of the nail-biter our men would pull out.

And although I can't stand groupies, I have become somewhat fascinated with Blake (much like my fascination with Michael Beasley at Kansas State last year) and I always check on how he is doing.

So I check and, of course, he has 20-something points and he and his brother, Taylor, share an array of big-time blocks, but I couldn't believe he didn't get a double-double in the game (he finished with 25 points and six rebounds).

So I go, "Man, Blake's streak of 18-plus rebounds ended,'' and the friend I'm watching the game with replies, "it's hard to do, Courtney!''

Sunday, I recorded my 100th consecutive double-double in our game against Arkansas State.

People ask me about this streak all the time and, honestly, I haven't thought about it too much until lately. It's uncomfortable even to write about, but my sports information director asked me to -- just this one time.

And when random people ask if I'm the one with all the double-doubles, I'm glad to see that people are becoming more aware of women's basketball.

Recently I have learned this about my streak and others: that it is hard to do, and there are a lot of amazing streaks in sports history.

Like Wayne Gretzky's streak of 51 consecutive games scoring a point.

Last week, Jenny Vining and I were shooting free throws together and Jenny stops and says, "It's amazing how we get this little ball through that little rim.''

And I responded, "well it's probably a lot harder for you, Jenny, than it is for me.''

Jenny plays beyond the arc; most of my shots come inside the key.

Well, Gretzky played hockey, which is otherwise known as tackle football on ice. Fifty-one consecutive games with a point -- now that's hard to do.

How about the 47-game winning streak Oklahoma's football team had back in the 50's, and currently five straight games with 60 or more points?

Incredible!

The Boston Celtics' eight straight titles. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Byron Nelson's 11 consecutive PGA Tour wins. Lance Armstrong's seven straight Tour De France victories.

Talk about living strong.

Under John Wooden, UCLA won seven consecutive national championships in men's basketball. Now that's one streak I would like to help get started for Oklahoma.

You know, my streak really isn't all that hard, now that I think of it.

I have had amazing guards get me the ball, a wonderful coaching staff to learn from, encouragement and support.

In our game last week against Creighton, we were in the final minutes and I hadn't yet scored 10 points. My whole team starts saying we got to get her the ball. Danielle (Robinson) makes a great play and catches me on an extra pass and there it is -- number 99.

The whole crowd erupts like it's the game winner and, watching film the next day with Coach Coale, I noticed our bench and my teammates standing up and cheering for me.

I'm certain that those other guys couldn't have had it as easy as I have.

I think my streak will certainly end or be broken, but my appreciation for the people who helped me get it will never go away.

Til next time,

CP

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Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008

Stoops has Sam Bradford; Coale has Danielle Robinson

ESPN.com's Graham Hays pens his latest feature with an appropriate metaphor this weekend. Hays writes: "Robinson led the Sooners in assists last season, but she made arguably her most compelling case for Big 12 freshman of the year by showing off an Iverson-like first step and the accompanying fearlessness getting to the rim."

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Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008

At Oklahoma, the Game is in Their Blood

Here's a great article by Jeré Longman of the New York Times chronicling the explosion of elite second- and third-generation athletes in women's sports. Certainly, his three days following the Sooners' athletic pedigree provided substantial content.

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Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008

D-Rob, Paris Twins Dish on Season, Life

Courtney Paris got things rolling after practice with a mock interview with Danielle Robinson, who talked about everything from the season to shoes to San Jose. Then Ashley Paris joined the conversation as the trio expressed their thoughts on the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and basketball schedule.


Part One


Part Two

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Monday, Nov. 24, 2008

Time to Rest

Monday provided a well-deserved day off for the women's basketball team -- staff and players alike -- after playing three games in five days, though most of the Sooners did step into the practice gym to get a few shots up. More deserving of a day off, OU's event management and support staff, who hosted 11 home events during the week, including seven basketball games and the most important college football game of the season thus far.

The rest ends quickly however, as OU hosts another top basketball team -- Marist is on the fringes of the Top 25 -- Wednesday night.

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Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Courtney Paris Checks In

Hey guys, it's me again, Courtney Paris. Promised I would check in again so here I am.

I was supposed to blog about the start of the season but I have been so preoccupied -- well, kind of.

So here is the thing. I am addicted to my BlackBerry. Not to e-mails, not text messaging, not phone calls about nothingness. I'm addicted to Brick Breaker. Oh my gosh that game, I tell ya, is the owner of any free time my thumbs might have.

TK (assistant coach Chad Thrailkill), one of our assistants, had a BlackBerry two summers ago and bragged about how he had gotten 300,000 points and had 90 lives left. No way. I could not believe it and I did not have to because his phone miraculously broke before he could save it.

However, I'm competitive, so naturally every time I go on there I think, "Beat TK, get to 300,000." Crazy thing is, even if I got there and surpassed Coach Thrailkill, I will still be 7,251,110 points behind Umang Kanoria, who is currently at the top of the Brick Breaker leader board.

I am coming for you Kanoria!

Another thing about my phone though and is I get updates about women's basketball news and, man, there have been some strange things happening around the country with powerhouses going down.

I think personally it's a good thing for women's basketball. A little parity never hurts; in fact it shows how much our sport is growing (or how much Candice Wiggins and Candace Parker are missed).

We play Middle Tennessee next, and it should be a challenge not to be the next top team to fall. But right now all I can focus on is making sure my team is getting better every day, so that when the time comes to really do something special, we'll be prepared.

Now back to my game.

Until next time,

Courtney Paris

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Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Junior forward Amanda Thompson celebrated her 21st birthday Tuesday. Happy Birthday, Amanda!

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Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008

Women's NIT Second Round Opponent Set

Middle Tennessee dropped the hammer on Lafayette (Pa.) College Saturday night, winning 85-47 to advance to the second round of the Preseason WNIT where they will face the Sooners Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.

Purchase Tickets Here

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Friday, Nov. 14, 2008

Q&A with Blake and Courtney

It's not often your job is to be flown from New York City to Norman, Okla., to interview two college basketball players, and then fly right back. But it's less often when the same school has potential men's and women's players of the year and top pro draft picks in Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris. So, it was a no brainer for Sports Illustrated to send its college basketball writer Andrew Lawrence to the Sooner State to interview the pair. Read the Q&A here.

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Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008

Turnabout is Fair Play

As an All-American basketball player, Courtney Paris has received her fair share of interview. As a journalism major, she has given them as well. Paris spent the summer working the public safety beat for the OU Daily and has been on and behind the camera in her practicum this fall through the Gaylord College of Journalism.

However, for CP3's latest assignment, part of her capstone project, she turned the tables for the first time by interviewing someone who had interviewed her. With a paper about fairness in sports journalism due, Paris reached out to coaches, sports information personnel, general fans and sportswriters. One of those sportswriters was veteran columnist Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Here's his take on the Paris project.

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Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

Courtney's Blog Goes Nationwide

All-American senior Courtney Paris introduces herself to the country in her latest blog, picked up in as part of a series of women's college basketball player blogs initiated by the Associated Press for distribution across the nation via its wire service...

NORMAN, Okla. - Hey "y'all," I'm Courtney Paris and, in case you don't know, I play for the University of Oklahoma, which is where I've picked up my new dialogue.

I'm a senior in journalism and I am excited about finishing my last year of college with my twin sister, Ashley. Time has flown and then dragged. I feel like I've been here forever, yet I can't believe it's almost over.

I've done a lot in my college experience - milked a cow, had my first job, bought a home, paid bills, broken records, been challenged on and off the court and met some pretty incredible people.

There's only two things left for me do as a Sooner and those are complete my degree and help lead my team to a national title.

I feel like I have a good chance at getting both.

I'm probably most known to for my double-double streak and while I don't want it to end, one streak I want over is going to the Final Four by myself. This year I want to be in St. Louis with my team. And playing!

- Oklahoma senior Courtney Paris

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Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008

Griffin and Paris on Sports Illustrated Cover

OU basketball stars Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris will be the latest Sooners to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated when this week's issue hits newsstands Wednesday. The duo are among six feature in regional covers for SI's college basketball preview issue. SI ranks the OU women as preseason No. 3 and features more insight on both the men's and women's upcoming seasons.

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Friday, Nov. 7, 2008

Coale Praises Team's Intensity

Intensity was the theme of Thursday night's exhibition win over Western State. Coach Coale had more opinions about the game, the leadership of her captains, the play of the two freshmen and what's expected in the exhibition finale against Oklahoma Christian, Coale's alma mater, Tuesday night.

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Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

Already in the Building

The Oklahoma Sooners and Western State Mountaineers don't face off until Thursday evening. But both teams were present tonight at the Lloyd Noble Center watching the OU men's exhibition victory over Panhandle State.

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Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008

Why You Can't Miss the Sooners in 2008-09

The 45 voters who make up the Associated Press' women's basketball poll made Courtney Paris just its sixth unanimous preseason All-America selection in history. The Associated Press has also recently listed Oklahoma in two of its 10 can't miss games of 2008-09 and named Whitney Hand as one of four newcomers to watch this season.

Here's the word on Hand :

Whitney Hand, 6-1, Oklahoma

Hand finished as the second leading scorer in Texas history with 3,649 points and will be called upon to help the Sooners open up their offense. She hit 108 3-pointers last season and made 85 percent of her free throws. Hand was selected as the Big 12 preseason freshman of the year.

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale on Hand:
"Whitney Hand's just an uncanny shooter. Maybe the most prepared player we've ever had in our program at the University of Oklahoma in terms of coming in ready to make an impact. She's really sharp. She understands the game. She learns quickly. She's a big, strong girl. She's capable of holding her own. She's in fantastic physical condition. And her skill set is something that's truly special."

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Monday, Nov. 3, 2008

Promotions Set for Thursday's Exhibition

The OU Marketing staff has set the promotions for the Sooners' exhibition game against Western State College of Colorado that tips off at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6.

The first 200 OU students will receive a coupon good for a free soda or popcorn courtesy of Aramark. OU's official team poster and schedule cards will also be available to all patrons in the upper concourse.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. OU students must enter through the Lower North entrance at the Lloyd Noble Center.

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Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008

Select Single-Game Tickets on Sale Monday

The OU Athletics Ticket Office will begin selling single-game tickets for women's basketball's exhibition games and all rounds of the Preseason WNIT beginning Monday, Nov. 3. Tickets start for as low as $5.

 Purchase Single-Game Tickets |  Purchase Season Tickets

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Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008

Pre-game at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

More than 250 Oklahoma and Nebraska fans visited the OU women's basketball team during its autograph session at Fan Fest Saturday. The lucky fans met Sherri Coale and the Sooners, who were ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll that was released today.

Photos  Photo Gallery

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Friday, Oct. 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The OU men's and women's basketball teams treated Sooner football fans at the RV Village at Lloyd Noble Center with a surprise appearance Friday night. The Sooners distributed candy and posters to the tailgaters.

Photos  Photo Gallery

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Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008

Autograph Signing Saturday

There's a lot of festivities surrounding this week's OU-Nebraska football game and the OU women's basketball team will have its share Saturday. If you can't be there, listen to Sherri Coale live on KRXO 107.7 FM at approximately 4:30 p.m. during its pregame show. If you will be there, stop by Fan Fest and meet the team during its autograph session from 5 p.m to 5:45 p.m.

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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

The Number Change

Following Wednesday's practice, sophomore guard Jenny Vining detailed her reasons, with just a hint of saracasm, for switching to No. 53 for the 2008-09 season.

Click on the graphic below to view the video.

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Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008

Know Your Sooners

Do you know what was sophomore forward Carlee Roethlisberger's favorite Halloween costume or what is her ringtone? Check out the latest edition of Know Your Sooners to find more about Carlee and some other Sooners.

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Monday, Oct. 27, 2008

Media Guide Arrives

OU Printing Services completed its deliveries of the 2008-09 OU Women's Basketball Media Guide to the basketball offices Monday morning. The players were checking it out before practice today. You can purchase a copy at the OU Athletics Multimedia Store.

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Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008

Intro Video Shoot Wraps

David Brown and the crew at SoonerVision finished filming the OU women's basketball team's intro video Sunday night at the Lloyd Noble Center. The completed project will debut Nov. 15 at Oklahoma's season opener against UC-Riverside in the Preseason WNIT. Get tickets here.

Here's a short, behind-the-scenes look at the shoot.


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Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008

SI Shoots Blake & Courtney

Sports Illustrated sent writer Drew Lawrence to do an exclusive interview with Sooner basketball stars Blake Griffin and Courtney Paris. The duo also took part in a photoshoot for the magazine's college basketball preview issue. Both the OU men's and women's teams are getting a lot of preseason hype and will be prominently featured in SI when the issue drops Nov. 17. Check out a short video clip from Friday night's photo shoot.

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Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

Intro Video Shoot, Day One

The women's team spent Friday night at the Lloyd Noble Center shooting its intro video for the 2008-09 season. Sorry, no photos or video today. We're keeping it under wraps until it debuts Nov. 15 at OU's game versus UC-Riverside.

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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008

What Have You Signed?

Oklahoma's preseason scrimmage was followed by a meet-and-greet session with Fast Break Club members in the women's practice gym. Ashley Paris and her teammates describe some of the crazy things they've been asked to autograph during their careers.

Ashley
D-Rob & Ny
Jasmine
Coach Coale

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Wednesday Oct. 22, 2008

Showstoppers

Sherri Coale, Ashley Paris, Courtney Paris and Danielle Robinson stole the show at the annual Big 12 Media Day held at the Cox Center in Oklahoma City, the site of this year's Big 12 women's basketball tournament.

Read more about it here.

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Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

Senior Carolyn Winchester celebrated her 22nd birthday today. The Washington, Okla., product and Sooner legacy was treated to the OU women's basketball team's rendition of the Happy Birthday song after its practice.

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Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

Get Your Popcorn Ready!

The Fast Break Club held its annual preseason banquet Tuesday night at the Lloyd Noble Center. About 700 people were in attendance as OU athletics director Joe Castiglione and head coach Sherri Coale introduced the team and talked about the upcoming season. OU's theme `Welcome to the Show' debuted to the crowd as guests were seated at tables with movie-themed centerpieces. Also in attendance, were several former women's basketball players, who along with those on the current roster (who weren't in class), helped served food and beverages.

Check out the photo gallery here. 

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