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Paris Leads Oklahoma to Rout of Nebraska

February 26, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Erin Higgins scored 17 points, Courtney Paris recorded her 21st double-double in a row with 15 points and 13 rebounds and No. 9 Oklahoma pulled away from Nebraska early in the second half for a 73-45 win Sunday.

Chelsi Welch hit a jumper and a runner, Paris scored three points and Leah Rush added a 3-pointer from the top of the key as Oklahoma (25-4, 15-0 Big 12) opened the second half with a 10-0 run to take a 45-25 lead.

Higgins and Laura Andrews then made consecutive 3-pointers from the left wing to stretch the lead to 56-32, and Nebraska (15-11, 7-8) was never back within 20.

Oklahoma has won 13 straight games and snapped Nebraska’s three-game win streak.

Unsure what to do when her team was nitpicking its mistakes instead of enjoying a 14-0 Big 12 start, Sooners coach Sherri Coale went to a colleague, football coach Bob Stoops, for pointers.

Coale said Stoops, who’s had three undefeated regular seasons at Oklahoma, told her that ``sometimes you need to stop in the middle of a winning streak and remind them how much fun it is.″

After this win, the Sooners, who wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title with a win against Texas A&M last weekend, dropped red and white balloons from the rafters and cut down the nets during a celebration that merged with the final home game for seniors Beky Preston and Andrews.

The sellout crowd chanted ``Big 12 Champs!″ as players donned T-shirts and caps touting their title, and hoisted the conference championship trophy.

Higgins was 5-of-7 from 3-point range to boost her record for the most 3-pointers in Oklahoma history. With her fifth attempt, the junior passed Etta Maytubby for the most attempts ever by a Sooners player.

Paris, who had five blocks, also played a role in keeping Nebraska’s leading scorer, Keira Hardy, at bay. The 5-foot-6 point guard, who was averaging 17.1 points, got in early foul trouble while defending Paris and scored 10 to lead the Cornhuskers.

Paris, whose 26 double-doubles are the most in NCAA Division I, became the first Big 12 player ever to score 600 points and have 400 rebounds in a season. She left the game with 6:43 remaining, high-fiving her teammates on her way to the bench.

The Cornhuskers scored seven straight points to take a 16-10 lead on Jessica Gerhart’s jumper from the left wing. But Higgins hit two 3-pointers to key a 14-0 run.

After Nebraska pulled to within 24-20 on T.K. LaFleur’s jumper from the right wing, the Sooners reeled off nine straight points and took a 35-25 lead into halftime.

After making seven of their first 10 shots, Nebraska went 2-for-29 as Oklahoma pulled away.

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