- Melanie Jackson, Women's Basketball
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We'll always have Paris, right?
Well, the Oklahoma record books might.
Rookie Courtney Paris has played just 10 games in a Sooners uniform, but she already is tearing through the charts and has set eight school records in OU's 9-1 start. The first came in the Sooners' opener on Nov. 11, when Paris scored a freshman debut-record 24 points. The 6-foot-4 center has since reached 100 points (five games), 200 points (10 games) and 100 rebounds (nine games) faster than any player in OU history.
Paris -- the daughter of former All-Pro lineman William "Bubba" Paris for the San Francisco 49ers -- also is the first OU player to: notch a double-double in the first three games of her career, score at least 10 points in the first 10 games of her career and record double-figure rebounds in her first three games.
Paris' numbers rank among the best in the Big 12 and nationally, too. She's leading the conference in rebounds (13.1 boards per game) and blocks (3.22) and ranks in the top five of six statistical categories in the Big 12. And her twin sister, Ashley, a 6-3 forward, adds 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Paris' 22-rebound game against UCLA is tied for this season's single-game NCAA Division I high, and the total set an OU freshman single-game record. Her 20 rebounds against SMU last month set the Preseason WNIT single-game mark and paved the way for her tournament-record 54 rebounds.
Paris is averaging 21.0 points and 13.6 rebounds and shooting 67.5 percent from the field. With 20 regular-season games left, Paris already has 31 blocks and is almost halfway to the single-season mark (64). The only "negative" number would be Paris' 57.1 percent free-throw accuracy. She also averages 3.1 turnovers.
Paris' physical talent is as impressive as her numbers.
"She has a pro body now, and there's not a big learning curve for her," ESPN analyst Nancy Lieberman said. "She's big, strong and has everything you need physically to excel, like excellent footwork and a nose for the basket. Usually at the next level, there's somebody bigger than you. But for Courtney, she's the one being aggressive and not afraid to test her opponent."
Or the record books. Paris is on pace to break just about every single-season freshman mark at Oklahoma -- and the program's single-season records for scoring and rebounding, regardless of class. That's right, even OU legend Phylesha Whaley, who averaged 20.8 points in 1999-2000, might not be immune. The single-season rebounding record, 12.9, was set by Shirley Fisher in 1983-84.
Lieberman says the Paris twins finally give Oklahoma a big-bodied presence down low.
"And I say that with all due respect to Caton Hill, who was more of an outside post," Lieberman quickly adds. "And Whaley was a 5 in a 3 body. Her huge determination made up for her being undersized."
More important, Lieberman says, is that the Paris twins bring size and success. Season-ticket sales at OU already have set a program record.
"Courtney will own every record at OU by the time she's done, and it's absolutely remarkable what the twins might be able to do," Lieberman said. "They are program changers. They've already taken OU from a potential top-25 team to a top-12 or 15 team."
Of course, the Big 12 schedule looms ahead, and things are only going to get tougher, right?
"That's true," Lieberman said, "but this might be considered a down year in the Big 12. So anything's possible."
Melanie Jackson coordinates ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage. E-mail the Dish at Melanie.J.Jackson.-ND@espn3.com.
She has played just 10 games. But freshman Courtney Paris already is etching her name in OU's record books.