3:00 PM ET, December 30, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- With Courtney Paris struggling offensively, her Oklahoma teammates more than picked up the slack.Freshman guard Danielle Robinson scored a career-high 20 points to go with six assists and Paris barely kept her double-double streak alive as No. 9 Oklahoma routed South Carolina 95-63 on Sunday.Oklahoma (9-2) has not lost since dropping its first two games of the season to Maryland and Tennessee. The Sooners entered Sunday's game off a 10-day layoff and won't play again for 10 more days until visiting Iowa State in their Big 12 Conference opener on Jan. 9.Besides Robinson and Paris, three other players reached double figures in scoring for Oklahoma. But no point total was watched more closely than that of Paris.The 6-foot-4 junior had 24 rebounds, nearly matching South Carolina's total of 26 and missing her career high by only two. But she went just 4-of-14 from the field and didn't reach the 10-point mark until a bucket from underneath with 3:57 left. The crowd at Lloyd Noble Center roared when Paris secured her 72nd straight double-double."She's not one about personal accolades. She would much rather her team be successful," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said, noting Paris routinely passed out of the post when double- or triple-teamed. "We knew she was doing a great job on the boards. It seemed like every time a shot came off the rim she got the rebound."Oklahoma became only the fourth team to score 70 or more points against the Gamecocks this season, but South Carolina (9-4) has struggled against elite competition, losing 91-58 to Illinois and 97-39 to then-No. 2 Connecticut before its lopsided loss to the Sooners.Oklahoma had a 58-26 rebounding edge over South Carolina, which has not beaten a ranked team since December 2005.South Carolina coach Susan Walvius said she scheduled teams like Connecticut and Oklahoma to prepare the Gamecocks for Southeastern Conference play. She said any hopes they had of upsetting Oklahoma hinged on controlling the boards."We had to rebound the basketball, we had to push back," Walvius said. "Oklahoma is a very special team in that area. ... Their transition offense is excellent and their rebounding is very, very good. We had some good moments today, but we were not very strong today in the areas that we needed to be strong in to beat Oklahoma."Paris shot 2-for-11 from the field in the first half, but matched her career high for rebounds in a half with 14 as the Sooners led 45-29 at halftime and held a 34-14 rebounding edge.Paris didn't score until 12 minutes into the game, even having a couple of shots blocked by South Carolina's towering frontline of 6-foot-6 Ilona Burgrova and 6-foot-4 Demetress Adams. But the way Paris' teammates were shooting, it didn't matter.Taking advantage of openings created by South Carolina's defense against Paris, four Sooners had eight points or more in the half, led by Ashley Paris, who had 10 on 5-of-5 shooting. Oklahoma never trailed and had a double-digit lead by midway through the half."We realized they were going to be very physical, with [Courtney Paris] especially, and try to eliminate her getting opportunities to score," Ashley Paris said. "When she did get looks, they were all over her. So we knew we had to step up and contribute offensively."South Carolina pulled within 13 in the opening moments of the second half, but the Sooners responded with a 19-2 run to build their lead to 64-34.A 16-0 run by the Gamecocks cut the gap to 68-53 with 10 minutes left, but Oklahoma scored 11 of the next 13 points to rebuild its lead.Robinson finished 8-of-12 from the field but said she didn't realize she had scored 20 points."It is just another game and points are not that big of a deal, just how I play," she said.The only drama in the final minutes was the fate of Courtney Paris' double-double streak. Paris only had six points with 5 minutes left, and Coale said she would have left her star center in the game until the end if Paris hadn't of reached the 10-point mark when she did."You don't want something of that significance to go away in a game like this," Coale said. "It's an important record and it would be a shame to just not pay any attention to it."Ashley Paris scored 16 points and Nyeshia Stevenson added 15 for the Sooners. It was the 25th time both Ashley Paris and Courtney Paris had reached double figures in scoring.Freshman guard Jordan Jones led South Carolina with 18 points, while Burgrova scored 15. South Carolina went just 16-of-26 from the free-throw line.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-55 (.400)||39-78 (.500)|
|3P Made-Attempted||3-13 (.231)||6-19 (.316)|
|FT Made-Attempted||16-26 (.615)||11-19 (.579)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||18 (0/0)|