4:30 PM ET, December 2, 2006
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- After sitting on the bench for more than 10 minutes, Courtney Paris wanted to make it up to her teammates.The All-America center scored 24 points and had 13 rebounds for her 34th straight double-double and sparked a late run that boosted No. 3 Oklahoma to a 72-49 victory over Tulsa on Saturday.Tulsa cut a 22-point deficit to single digits after Paris picked up three quick fouls in the second half and had to leave the game after getting her fourth foul on a post move by Jillian Robbins with 16:09 to play.Paris returned with Oklahoma ahead 54-45 at the 5:34 mark and immediately put the Sooners back in control. She converted a layup, then followed Chelsi Welch's 3-pointer with a layup off an offensive rebound. Paris' three-point play with 3:56 left extended Oklahoma's lead to 64-47, and Leah Rush stretched it past 20 with a short jumper from the left side."I felt really bad because I got three quick, stupid fouls and had to sit and so those guys are working extra hard to keep us in it," Paris said. "It makes it easy when Coach puts you back in there to finish it off, to just do your job and have fun. And that's exactly what happened."Rush, who contributed a season-high 18 points, also picked up her fourth foul during Tulsa's run and re-entered with Paris."It's tough when you have to be on the bench and the other team's making a run a little bit," Rush said. "When you get back in, you want to try to finish the game right."Oklahoma outscored Tulsa 18-4 after Paris and Rush came back."I thought we probably looked as good as we've looked all year in the final 5 minutes of the game, just relaxed and playing together and playing with emotion and energy," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "It's a good win. It's a really good win."While Tulsa was able to close the gap, Coale said "it never did get too scary or too dangerous."Welch added 12 points for the Sooners (6-0), who won their 11th straight road game to tie the Big 12 record set by the Sooners from 2000-01.Robbins finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to lead Tulsa (3-4), the defending Conference USA champions.Robbins, the Conference USA player of the year last season, scored seven points during a 20-7 run that brought the Golden Hurricane back within 54-45 after Robbins' reverse layup with 7:18 left."I think we did a good job despite what the score says. That score does not show how the game went," Robbins said. "That score shows the last two minutes. We gave all we had, to a certain extent, and good teams know how to put a fist in somebody and keep them down, and that's what OU did."Rush, who scored 14 points in the first half, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 10-0 run that put the Sooners up 37-16 late in the first half. She also scored eight of Oklahoma's first 10 points to help the Sooners to an early 10-5 lead, and they would never trail.Tulsa held Oklahoma without a field goal for 5 minutes in the first half, but was able to score only two points in the same period.
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