8:00 PM ET, January 24, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma can be dominant even with Courtney Paris on the bench.Chelsi Welch scored 13 points, Leah Rush added 12 and the sixth-ranked Sooners did much of their damage with their All-America center on the bench in a 69-49 win against Iowa State on Wednesday night.Paris notched her 46th straight double-double with a season-low 14 points and 13 rebounds, but it was during the 6-foot-4 sophomore's two rest periods in the first 35 minutes that Oklahoma took control.The Sooners (17-1, 7-0 Big 12) combined to outscore Iowa State 24-3 in those spans on their way to their 26th straight conference win."When you look at the numbers, it's not just Courtney Paris," Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said. "It's Courtney Paris on a really good team."Oklahoma won for the third time in the past five days, including a double-overtime victory against Texas Tech on Monday in a game rescheduled due to icy weather. The Sooners get two days off before hosting No. 21 Texas A&M on Saturday morning."It seems like we play every day," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said.Megan Ronhovde scored 13 points to lead Iowa State (15-5, 3-4), and Lyndsey Medders had 10. Iowa State shot 32 percent and committed 20 turnovers while getting outrebounded 48-29.The Sooners' 13 steals were their most of the season."Our inside game got mauled," Fennelly said. "I know that they are very good players, but we should have played better."Immediately after Paris headed to the bench with 16:18 left to play, Rush scored six straight points to start a 14-3 run that put the Sooners up 50-32. She hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, then added a three-point play after banking in an airborne layup off a lob pass. Britney Brown followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing, and Welch finished the spurt with two free throws and a 3-pointer from the left corner.Before that, most of Oklahoma's lead got built during a first-half stretch while Paris was taking a breather. The Sooners took advantage of three Iowa State turnovers to score 10 straight points, and Paris then returned to add a layup and stretch the lead to 22-8."I think it's a great sign," Coale said. "We don't need to play her 40 minutes a night if we want her to be at ultimate strength in March and early April. It's important to be able to continue to score, and score in a variety of ways. I thought that's what we did."During Paris' freshman season, the Sooners often struggled to keep scoring when she came out of the game. That's been less of a problem this season."They've been with Courtney more, and we've all been together longer," Coale said. "I think also a big part of that is [her twin sister] Ashley's improved play as well. If we do need to keep exploiting a post player at the block and Courtney needs a break or she's in some sort of foul situation, we can keep exploiting that post player by going to Ashley. I think that's made a huge difference."Iowa State scored the final seven points of the half to get within 28-19, as Oklahoma went more than 5 minutes without a point.The win was Coale's 100th at the Lloyd Noble Center.
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