No. 3 Oklahoma 78, South Carolina 51
Thursday, December 7th 2006, 12:12 pm
News On 6
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Courtney Paris had 15 points and 16 rebounds _ her 35th straight game with a double-double _ and No. 3 Oklahoma defeated South Carolina 78-51 on Thursday night to open 7-0 for the third time in six seasons.
While Paris continued her streak that started more than a year ago, it was her lowest point total of the season and well below her average of 22.3 points coming in.
It didn't matter as the Sooners used some accurate long-range shooting to turn a tight game into a runaway.
Oklahoma led 38-28 early in the second half when Leah Rush hit two 3-pointers and Erin Higgins added a third. After Paris added an inside bucket, Rush made another long shot to put the Sooners out front, 52-32.
South Carolina did not get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
Oklahoma has won its past 21 regular-season games.
Rush had 13 points, including three of the Sooners' seven 3-pointers.
Melanie Johnson and Stacy Booker had 10 points to lead South Carolina (5-4), which has lost three of its past four games.
Paris came out fast and looked like she'd put this one away herself, easily getting to the basket and drawing two fouls on South Carolina star Iva Sliskovic in the first 38 seconds.
But Paris was kept in check the rest of the half, managing only one field goal and 5 points. She proved a force on the defensive side, though, with eight rebounds and four blocks in the first 20 minutes.
Paris came out after the break and quickly got two close-in baskets and a pair of foul shots in the first three minutes to end any suspense about the streak going forward.
Still, the Gamecocks used the 6-foot-5 Sliskovic and 6-6 Ilona Burgrova to lock down on Paris in the paint.
With South Carolina concentrating close to the hoop, Oklahoma found room to operate on the outside.
The Sooners were 6-of-9 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Sliskovic, the Gamecocks' top scorer coming in at nearly 12 points a game, was held to one field goal for 2 points. She was 1-of-7 from the field.