No. 2 Oklahoma wins 13th straight game

Preview | Box Score | Recap

WACO, Texas (AP)—With former President George W. Bush watching from the first row behind the Baylor bench along with a partisan crowd, Oklahoma’s standout sisters prevented a perfect ending for the Lady Bears.

Courtney and Ashley Paris both had double-doubles, and Courtney scored the tiebreaking basket with 34 seconds remaining to help No. 2 Oklahoma beat fourth-ranked Baylor 56-51 on Wednesday night.

“It was a night none of us will forget,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “The only thing that could have made it better was a win. … We missed a grand opportunity to make it a special night.”

An exchange of 3-pointers, Whitney Hand hitting for Oklahoma before Jessica Morrow made one for Baylor, tied the game at 51—the 11th tie in the game— with a minute left.

But Courtney Paris, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds for her 111th consecutive double-double, put the Sooners (17-2, 6-0 Big 12) ahead for good on the next possession when she scored on an inside shot.

Ashley Paris added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Sooners, who won their 13th straight game and snapped Baylor’s 11-game winning streak.

Bush and his wife, Laura, walked onto the court with Mulkey after the former president addressed the Lady Bears before the game. When Bush and Mulkey emerged from the tunnel, without any introduction, the crowd stood and broke into loud applause.

“I thought it was just Baylor’s coach walking by herself,” Ashley Paris said. “I thought she gets that attention every time she walks out. I thought, coach (Sherri) Coale, you really got to step it up.”

But the Bushes came from their Crawford ranch about 25 miles from the Baylor campus to watch the highest-ranked conference matchup ever in the Big 12, which has a nation-best six teams ranked in the women’s Top 25.

“I recently did an interview and somebody asked me if important people came to your games, and I said yeah, Toby Keith,” Courtney Paris said. “Now I can say the president came. Good for the resume.”

Melissa Jones had 16 points for Baylor (17-2, 5-1), which lost at home for the first time this season while shooting a season-worst 27 percent (16-of-59). Jessica Morrow and Danielle Wilson, who played the entire game, both had 11 points.

“For us to even be in the game shooting 27 percent against the No. 2 team in the country was pretty remarkable,” Mulkey said.

Baylor had been 10-0 at home, including an 81-65 victory over then-No. 2 Stanford back in November. The Lady Bears had won 27 of their last 28 games at the Ferrell Center with a 20-point victory over Oklahoma last year.

Morrow’s 3-pointer with 4 seconds left in the first half made it 23-22 and the Lady Bears didn’t trail again until Nyeshia Stevenson’s free throw with 7:52 remaining broke a 40-40 tie.

Robinson then made a short bank shot and was fouled. She missed the free throw, but a lane violation by Baylor gave her another chance, and she made that one for a 44-40 lead.

The Lady Bears didn’t catch up again until scoring twice in a second. Morghan Medlock drove for a layup with 1:42 left, then Jones stole the inbound pass and was fouled. Jones made the second free throw, the ball falling through after rattling around the rim to make it 48-all.

Hand then hit Oklahoma’s only 3-pointer of the game—the only basket of the game for the standout freshman.

“When she misses, we’re all surprised. When she makes, we’re not. She was due,” Coale said.

“It went by really fast,” Hand said of that sequence. “I’m really kind of glad it did because I didn’t have time to think about the times I played terrible, which was the rest of the game.”

After Morrow’s game-tying 3-pointer, Courtney Paris scored the go-ahead shot. Morrow then missed another 3-pointer and Danielle Robinson was fouled. Robinson, who had 13 points, made both free throws.

It was one of the first public appearances for Bush since returning to his Crawford ranch after ending his second presidential term last week when President Barack Obama took office. Bush was greeted by huge ovations when he walked onto the court before the game and when he was introduced at the first timeout.

“When the leader of our country for eight years shows up at a women’s basketball game and cares enough about me and the program to acknowledge us in that manner that he did, you bet it was special,” Mulkey said. “I was so appreciative to the fans that acknowledged him. He is a Texan.”

Updated Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009

Related Articles

Top Performers

 Top Performers
Courtney Paris Courtney Paris
7-15,  15 Pts
14 Rebs, 3 Assists
Melissa Jones Melissa Jones
6-9,  16 Pts
3 Rebs, 0 Assists

Team Stat Leaders


Conference Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jan 28