8:00 PM ET, December 5, 2005
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- A record-setting performance by freshman Courtney Paris helped Oklahoma overcome UCLA's trio of guards.Paris scored 24 points and set an Oklahoma freshman record with 22 rebounds, leading the No. 16 Sooners to an 83-78 victory over No. 22 UCLA on Monday night."They're a very good basketball team," UCLA coach Kathy Olivier said. "They have great size inside, and we just didn't have an answer for Courtney."UCLA rallied from a 19-point, second-half deficit, closing to 78-77 on Noelle Quinn's 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:14 to play.Paris answered with a basket inside for the Sooners and, after Nikki Blue missed a driving basket, Leah Rush made two free throws to give Oklahoma an 82-77 lead with 29.7 seconds left.Blue hit the first of two free throws, and Quinn got the rebound and missed a jumper with 16 seconds remaining. Ashley Paris hit one of two free throws to seal the win for Oklahoma (8-1).The previous Oklahoma record for rebounds by a freshman was 21, set by Molly McGuire in a 75-62 win at Wichita State on Dec. 10, 1979.Courtney Paris, who had her sixth double-double, scored Oklahoma's last two baskets and had two defensive rebounds in the final 3 minutes. And Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said she could have had an even bigger impact down the stretch."There was a sense of urgency with the way Courtney posted in the last 3 minutes, I promise you," Coale said. "We missed her twice."Rush finished with 19 points, Erin Higgins had 14 and Kendra Moore added a career-best 13 for the Sooners.Blue scored 20 of her 23 points in the second half for UCLA. Quinn finished with 18 and Lisa Willis 13 for the Bruins. The trio, who Olivier dubbed the "triple threat" after UCLA's win against Clemson on Saturday, combined to score 43 of UCLA's 50 second-half points. "Huge effort by UCLA's guards in the second half. That was exactly what we were prepared for and what we'd seen pieces of on film," Coale said. "Fortunately, they weren't able to sustain it for the whole night or we might have had trouble beating them and our men might have had trouble beating them."UCLA trailed 40-28 at halftime after Oklahoma closed the first half on a 7-0 run, and the Sooners used another 7-0 run in the second half to stretch their lead to 49-32.Willis completed a three-point play to rally UCLA within 49-38 with 14:27 left, but Rush and Higgins answered with 3-pointers for Oklahoma.Another 3-pointer by Higgins gave Oklahoma its largest lead at 62-43.Blue, who played only seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, scored nine points during an 11-3 run that got the Bruins within 69-60. Her driving layup cut the deficit to 78-74."She's the type of player that's extremely competitive, likes to play aggressive basketball and picked up a couple of quick touch fouls -- very lightly touch fouls," Olivier said. "I think that hurt us a little."In the second half, Blue was 6-for-8 from the field and 7-for-10 from the foul line while leading UCLA's comeback."I decided in the second half, I was going to go all out," Blue said. "If I get five fouls, I was going to get five fouls by being aggressive."
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