OU's Paris getting plenty of help from supporting cast
By Nancy Lieberman
It was Oklahoma's season debut. On national TV. And as expected, Courtney Paris was dominating the paint.
The Sooners sophomore's quickness and decision-making skills were as solid as ever.
But then something happened. The camera cut to Oklahoma's bench -- where Paris was sitting. Which meant Courtney's identical twin, Ashley Paris (above, right), was the one doing the damage on the court.
It figures, I remember thinking. Ashley played in Courtney's shadow all of last season -- and probably for years before that. It's understandable. Courtney Paris annihilated the record books as a freshman last year, setting more than three dozen school, Big 12 or Division I records en route to becoming the first woman in NCAA history to amass at least 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a season.
But somewhere along the line -- at least on a national level -- Ashley Paris' solid freshman campaign got lost in the shuffle. She started just eight games last season, but Ashley -- who wears No. 5 (her sis is No.3) and at 6-foot-3 is just shorter than 6-4 Courtney -- averaged almost six points and 6.7 rebounds, shooting 47 percent from the field.
"Ashley had a really good freshman year, but because of Courtney's exclamation point, people forgot," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale.
"Ashley might be the second-best post in the conference and might be a top post in the country, but everybody's always comparing her to what Courtney does."
Ashley says she is used to the comparisons, and in fact welcomes them.
"It's the highest compliment," Ashley Paris said. "It never bothers me. I'm just so proud of my sister."
And Paris is the first to acknowledge their differences. Courtney's outgoing, Ashley's introspective. Courtney's the life of the party. Ashley is just at the party.
"Courtney has the same personality on and off the court -- she's very dynamic," Ashley Paris said. "Me? I'm very passive and just laid-back."
But right now, Ashley's improvement should be as prominently discussed as Courtney's dominance
To read Nancy Lieberman's complete story on Ashley Paris, click here.
21 Although they fell below .500 just two days later, Southern California's Women of Troy deserve a nod for Friday's "historic" win over Notre Dame.
USC hadn't beaten the Irish in almost 22 years, since January 1985. But the Trojans broke a seven-game skid against Notre Dame with a 69-58 victory Friday to move to 2-2 on the season.
In the win, USC senior guard Shay Murphy tallied 15 points and 17 rebounds. Counting Sunday's loss to Nebraska, Murphy has netted double-digit scoring in 29 consecutive games. -- ESPN.com's Melanie Jackson