UC Riverside 57

(0-1, 0-1 away)

(4) Oklahoma 88

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    3:00 PM ET, November 15, 2008

    1 2 T
    UCRV 29 2857
    #4OKLA 48 4088

    Top Performers

    UC Riverside: K. Nkele 31 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

    Oklahoma: C. Paris 16 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 3 Blk

    Paris up to 2nd on school's career scoring list; Sooners win Preseason NIT opener

    Associated Press

    NORMAN, Okla. -- All-American center Courtney Paris now has only one player left to pass to become the highest-scoring player in Oklahoma history.

    Her teammates aren't so bad at scoring, either.

    Paris scored 16 points to move into second place on Oklahoma's career scoring list and the Sooners (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) opened their season with an 88-57 win against California-Riverside on Saturday in the Women's Preseason National Invitational Tournament.

    Nyeshia Stevenson added 14 points and four steals off the bench, and Amanda Thompson and Danielle Robinson scored 13 apiece as the Sooners (1-0) had six players reach double figures.

    "We just have so many offensive weapons that if everybody's sharing the basketball the way we should and the way we are right now, anything less than 80 [points] should be a disappointment," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said.

    Oklahoma used its size and speed to create offense against the Highlanders (0-1), who went to the NCAA tournament two of the last three years and were picked to win the Big West Conference again this season.

    The Sooners outrebounded Riverside 50-24 and turned their 21 offensive rebounds into 40 second-chance points. Another 30 points came off the Highlanders' 18 turnovers.

    If the game wasn't already out of reach, Robinson and Stevenson made sure there would be no Riverside comeback with one stretch of defensive brilliance in the second half. Robinson had steals on back-to-back possessions, and then Stevenson matched her with two straight steals to propel Oklahoma to an 11-0 surge. Stevenson also had two 3-pointers during the run, the second one extending the lead to 69-38.

    "Pretty much it was just tips and speed," Robinson said of the duo's spate of steals.

    Coale said the inside presence of Paris and her twin, Ashley, can force opponents to put a little more air under their passes and that allows Stevenson and Robinson to swoop in and take the ball. They're also proficient at tipping it away on their own.

    "It's that combination of size and speed that can make us really dangerous," Coale said.

    Courtney Paris needed only seven points to pass Molly McGuire, and she had that many midway through the first half. She's now behind only Phylesha Whaley on the Sooners' career scoring chart, and needs 31 points to move into first.

    It'd be the latest in a line of records for Paris, who learned officially this offseason that her streak of double-doubles is also an NCAA record. Researchers determined that the longest previous streak was 19 straight by Anne Donovan of Old Dominion, who recently coached the U.S. women to the gold medal in Beijing.

    Paris had her 93rd straight double-double against Riverside.

    Kemie Nkele scored a career-high 31 points on 12-for-24 shooting for Riverside, but few of her teammates could get going. Roney Friend had all 11 of her points in the first half and guard Seyram Gbewonyo started out 0-for-11 before hitting her final shot in the last minute.

    Nkele was the 2007 Big West player of the year before missing all but six games last season with a knee injury, and she looked forward to facing Paris.

    "I wanted to see if I could raise to her level of play because she is an amazing player," Nkele said. "You can't come out scared and usually I don't."

    Nkele hit two 3-pointers and mixed in jumpers and several layups when she sneaked in behind Oklahoma's defense.

    "What is it about us that brings out the best in scorers? We're trying to take that really personally in that we need to shut down an opponent who gets ridiculously hot," Coale said. "She worked like crazy to get her baskets tonight and she's wise without the ball in her hands, but she was also in the zone when she caught it and shot it.

    "There were a couple that I'm not even sure she could see the basket and it went in."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 57 88
    FG Made-Attempted 24-58 (.414) 36-72 (.500)
    3P Made-Attempted 4-10 (.400) 8-25 (.320)
    FT Made-Attempted 5-9 (.556) 8-13 (.615)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 25

    Game Leaders

    PointsK. Nkele 31C. Paris 16
    ReboundsK. Nkele 5C. Paris 14
    AssistsR. Friend 3D. Robinson 6
    StealsA. Morris 2D. Robinson 5
    BlocksR. Friend 1C. Paris 3

    2008-09 Season

    » Nov 15, 2008 @OKLA 88, UCRV 57Recap | Box Score