No. 8 Oklahoma throttles Mercer after slow start

NORMAN, Okla. -- Danielle Robinson and Amanda Thompson each scored 17 points and Oklahoma (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) opened the post-Courtney Paris era with a 108-66 win against Mercer on Friday night.

Coming off the second Final Four appearance in school history, the Sooners (1-0) struggled for the first 7 1/2 minutes before taking the lead for good with a 15-0 run.

Whitney Hand finished the spurt with a three-point play and a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma a 39-25 lead. The Sooners then put the game away with a 22-2 surge early in the second half.

Hand and Abi Olajuwon had 16 points apiece for Oklahoma in its first game since Paris moved on to the WNBA.

Lindsey Lowrie hit four 3-pointers and had 16 points for Mercer (0-1), which played without coach Janell Jones. Norman native Lacy Ramon added 15 points in her return to her hometown, and Courtney Ford had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jones was replaced by assistant Kenneth Cooper, who said she was suspended one game because of an "administrative error" but would return for Mercer's next game Nov. 20 at the College of Charleston.

Without Paris, the NCAA's career leader in rebounds, Oklahoma let Mercer stick around for a while before putting its size advantage to use on the boards. The Bears had been outrebounding their hosts before the Sooners came up with five offensive boards on a single possession during the first-half surge that sent them into the lead to stay.

Hand's six straight points pushed the lead to 39-25 with 4:48 left before halftime. She also scored seven in a row during the Sooners' big second-half push, and the lead ballooned to as many as 49 before Mercer scored the game's final seven points.

The Sooners finished with a 56-37 rebounding edge.