8:00 PM ET, February 21, 2007
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Oklahoma used its overwhelming size advantage to make up for lousy free-throw shooting against Kansas.Courtney Paris had 32 points and 13 rebounds and her sister Ashley added 16 points and nine rebounds Wednesday night, powering the 11th-ranked Sooners to a 76-70 victory over much smaller but better foul-shooting Jayhawks.Hopelessly overmatched inside against 6-foot-4 Courtney and 6-3 Ashley, the Jayhawks began sending them to the foul line in the second half, which turned out to be smart. Oklahoma, struggling against the last-place Jayhawks, hit only 18 of 32 from the line while Kansas -- 8-for-8 at one point -- was 12-for-17."Oh, heavens," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "I don't have any idea what to say about it. We just haven't been very good from there."The victory enabled Oklahoma (21-4, 11-3 Big 12) to stay in a first-place tie in the conference. Kansas (9-18, 3-11) remained in last place in Bonnie Henrickson's third year with two road games left.The Sooners used their size advantage, led by the Paris sisters, to outrebound the Jayhawks 42-25. Oklahoma started four players at least 6 feet tall, while the 6-1 Porscha Weddington, normally not a starter, was the only 6-foot Jayhawk in the opening lineup."In our scouting, we saw that they don't start a player over 5-11, so we had the size advantage," Courtney Paris said after ringing up her 53rd straight double-double. "But they did a good job. They were scrappy. They did the best job they could. But in the end, we were just bigger than them."The Jayhawks trailed only 62-60 after Kelly Kohn hit a 3-pointer with 3:24 to go.Oklahoma had never led by more than four against the smaller, quicker home team until Ashley Paris hit one of two free throws to make it 62-57 a moment earlier.But after Kohn's 3-pointer, Erin Higgins immediately answered with a 3-pointer for the Sooners, who were just 2-for-10 from beyond the arc. After Courtney Paris rebounded a Kansas miss, Amanda Thompson banked home a 12-footer and the Sooners had a 67-60 lead en route to their ninth-straight victory over the Jayhawks.Britney Brown, a 5-8 guard, had 14 points for Oklahoma."The world knows about Courtney Paris," Henrickson said. "But we've got to be solid with everybody else, and that's why Britney Brown going off is disappointing. We didn't guard her. We knew we were going to be short-ended with Courtney. There's no secret there. I said before the game, we'll double and get two kids in her armpits. But we've got to be solid everywhere else, and we weren't."Courtney Paris also had three assists, making her the first Big 12 player with 1,300 points, 900 rebounds, 200 blocked shots and 200 assists."She's just a dominant force," Coale said. "And what I really liked about her performance was when push came to shove and we had to have a basket, there wasn't one soul in this gym who had a wrong impression about where we were going with the basketball. We all knew. But we were still able to get it to her."Shaquina Mosley, a senior playing her final home game, had 20 points for Kansas while Kohn had 16 and Sade Morris 13.The Sooners hit their first eight shots, with the Paris sisters getting every bucket except the 16-footer Chelsi Welch hit.But the quicker Jayhawks also had nine steals in the fast-paced first half, compared with only one for the Sooners, and trailed at intermission only 37-35.Every time the Sooners looked to be pulling away, Kansas answered.Courtney Paris' bucket made it 53-49 after Leah Rush stole a Kansas pass, but Sharita Smith and Kohn responded with baskets to tie it at 53 a minute later."We are all going to be ready anytime our number is called," Brown said. "We will just go out there and try and do whatever we can to help our team. I knew we could push the ball in transition and get easy layups if we tried, and that's what I tried to do. I tried to bring energy."
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