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Freshman Robinson's 7 steals help halt Illini upset bid

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Oklahoma relied on a freshman in its first road test of the season.

Danielle Robinson had 14 points and a career-high seven steals to lead No. 9 Oklahoma past Illinois 77-67 on Wednesday night.

Courtney Paris had 22 points and 14 rebounds, extending her streak of double-doubles to 68 consecutive games for the Sooners (5-2). Jenna Plumley had 12 points and Nyeshia Stevenson added 11.

However, it was Robinson who led the game's decisive stretch. She scored eight points in a 16-3 run in the second half, lifting the Sooners to a 70-57 lead with 3:36 remaining. Robinson also had back-to-back steals for layups in the stretch.

"She changed the game, no doubt," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "She used her speed and athleticism, and let her defense create her offense."

Paris scored 16 in the second half as Oklahoma broke open a close game and won its fifth straight after opening the season with neutral-court losses against No. 3 Maryland and No. 1 Tennessee. Wednesday marked the first time Oklahoma played on an opponent's home floor.

Chelsea Gordon scored 16 to lead Illinois (6-3). Jenna Smith and Danyel Crutcher added 15 points apiece.

Smith's basket with 7:56 left drew Illinois even at 54. However, Robinson's jumper keyed Oklahoma's run, and her defense helped the Sooners pull away.

"I take a lot of pride on defense and I figure I can get in the passing lanes," Robinson said. "They were being soft with ball, saw those opportunities and ran with it."

The Sooners scored the final eight points of the first half for a 29-23 halftime lead, holding the Illini scoreless for 5 1/2 minutes. Ashley Paris, who added 10 points, scored inside before Stevenson hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute of the half.

Oklahoma eventually pushed the lead to 48-40 before the Illini rebounded.

Smith scored six points to help Illinois tie it at 54 before Robinson's flurry.

"Her last three steals were crucial," Illinois coach Jolette Law said. "She was the difference-maker in the game."