9:00 PM ET, December 12, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Courtney Paris absorbed the double teams in the first half, content to let her Oklahoma teammates carry the scoring load.That all changed as soon as Cal State Bakersfield made a run to cut the Sooners' lead to three early in the second half.Paris scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds to post her 101st straight double-double and help Oklahoma (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) pull away for a 105-84 victory in the opening game of the Basketball By The Bay Classic on Friday night."When people are coming up on you, you know you have to take it to another level," Paris said. "These guys in the first half knocked down a lot of big shots. So in the second half, they couldn't double as hard. So it let me go to work. We play inside-out or outside-in, depending on how people guard us."Paris took just two shots in the first half, before making six of seven in the opening 9 minutes of the second half when the Sooners (7-2) broke the game open. The undersized Roadrunners (4-5) had no strategy that could contain Paris when she decided to dominate inside."Hope she misses?" Christin Kepenikian said about the approach to playing Paris. "We had our hands up. She made some pretty hard shots. We were double-teaming her, but a couple of times she got it in too deep, which is too hard to guard."Reserve Nyeshia Stevenson led the Sooners with 23 points, and Courtney's twin sister, Ashley, added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Danielle Robinson had nine points and 10 assists in a homecoming game for the San Jose native.Amanda Thompson scored 13 for the Sooners, who shot 58.9 percent for the game."Obviously we tried to take away their inside game because they're so strong there," Roadrunners coach Tim La Kose said. "They did a nice job getting it to the open person. Stevenson took advantage of that in the first half. We tried to take away their top options and make their fourth or fifth people score. Unfortunately for us, they were able to do that."Kepenikian led the Roadrunners with 22 points, giving her double figures in all nine games this season. Kelly Tarver scored 20 before going down with a right knee injury in the final minute.Krista Arase added 17 and Nikki Leon had 15 for Cal State Bakersfield, which had never before played a team ranked in the top five. The Roadrunners are in their fourth year of a five-year transition into Division I.Cal State Bakersfield has lost all three of its games against major conference teams this season, falling 104-57 to UCLA on Dec. 3 and 70-57 at Nebraska earlier this week.The Sooners had a decided size advantage inside with the Paris twins and two other 6-footers in the starting lineup compared to just one starter taller than 6 feet for the Roadrunners.But Cal State Bakersfield stayed in the game with their outside shooting, as 12 of its first 15 baskets came from long range. Arase hit back-to-back 3s early in the second half to start an 11-0 run that cut Oklahoma's lead to 56-53.That's when Courtney Paris asserted herself, scoring 11 points during a 31-11 run that put the game away. The Roadrunners hit only one more 3-pointer the rest of the way."They played great. If you look at their stat line afterward and you would think they won the game," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. "Yet you look at ours and it's really good too. I think the difference was our post play, our dominance in the paint and our transition game. But the big adjustment at halftime was limit their 3-point attempts."It's been a successful trip home so far for the Paris twins, who were born in San Jose and went to high school in nearby Piedmont. They were honored Thursday night at halftime of a game at their alma mater, Piedmont High School, and won their first game this weekend against the Roadrunners.The Sooners will play California (No. 7, No. 9) on Saturday, and the Roadrunners take on host San Jose State in the final day of the classic.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||22-54 (.407)||43-73 (.589)|
|3P Made-Attempted||13-23 (.565)||9-21 (.429)|
|FT Made-Attempted||27-29 (.931)||10-10 (1.000)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||12 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|