Freshman powers Sooners past Bears

By wire services
Published March 12, 2006

DALLAS - Freshman Courtney Paris had 24 points and 26 rebounds and Oklahoma completed its undefeated run through the Big 12 by beating Baylor 72-61 in the tournament final Saturday.

After becoming the first Big 12 team to go 16-0 in conference play, the No.8 Sooners (29-4) won the tournament for the third time in five seasons.

But Paris dominated the game - and the tournament. Named MVP, she had 77 points and 52 rebounds in three games.

The 26 rebounds broke the tournament record of 16 Paris set in Oklahoma's first game. She has 497 rebounds and almost certainly will become only the third woman to reach 500 and first with 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks.

Oklahoma committed 32 turnovers, 19 in the first half that the Bears turned into 14 points to stay within 31-27. But Baylor (25-5) could not tie it in the second half and trailed by as many as 14.

"We were pretty horrible and still up," Paris said.

"Coach ripped up the (stat sheet) and said don't worry about it, we can still win."

MOUNTAIN WEST: Julie Larsen scored a career-high 24 and fellow senior Shona Thorburn recorded the first triple double in the seven-year history of the league to lead No.19 Utah (24-6) past No.20 BYU (25-5) 84-60 in the final in Denver. Thorburn's 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds earned her tournament MVP. Larsen's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Utah a 44-33 lead at halftime.

ATLANTIC SUN: Shontavia Williams scored 26 to lead Florida Atlantic (20-10) to a 74-63 victory over Gardner-Webb (14-16) in the final in Dothan, Ala. It's the Owls' first Tournament berth. Williams scored nine in a row early in the second half to make it 51-36.

BIG SOUTH: Host Liberty (25-5) earned an NCAA berth won its 28th consecutive conference tournament win, 53-50 over High Point (20-10). The Panthers pulled within 51-50 on Candyce Sellars' 3-pointer with 2:12 left. But after Allyson Fasnacht's 10-foot jumper for Liberty with 16 seconds left, Ayonna Thompson air-balled a 25-footer.

BIG SKY: Alyssa Wahl scored 19 and Kim Winkfield 17 to help Northern Arizona (22-10) beat Weber State (15-15) 74-59 in the final in Pocatello, Idaho. Tied at 32 early in the second half, Northern Arizona went on a 31-10 run.

BIG WEST: Amber Cox made a 3-pointer with 1:10 left to help UC Riverside (16-14) to a 59-58 upset of top-seeded UC Santa Barbara (16-13) in the final in Anaheim, Calif. Jessica Wilson missed an inside jumper with two seconds left for the Gauchos, who had won the past nine conference tournaments.

COLONIAL: T.J. Jordan scored 13 and Paula Muxiri 11 to lead Old Dominion (22-8) past James Madison (24-6) 58-54 in the final in Fairfax, Va. Down 55-54, Jasmin Lawrence missed a layup in traffic for the Dukes with 7.5 seconds left.

MAC: Carin Horne scored 16 to lead No.24 Bowling Green (28-2) past Kent State (21-8) 64-39 in Cleveland for its second straight title. The Golden Flashes scored 13 in the first half.

MEAC: Rashida Suber scored 14 to lead Coppin State (22-8) to its second straight title 46-36 over Delaware State (21-9) in Raleigh, N.C. Down 37-34 with 6:24 left, Delaware State missed its last five shots and went 3-for-8 from the free-throw line.

NORTHEAST: Amanda Pape had 25 points and 14 rebounds to lead host Sacred Heart (26-4) to its first title 69-65 over Quinnipiac (22-8). Up two with 1:10 left, Pape converted a three-point play and Kerri Burke made five free throws.

SOUTHLAND: Britany Vinson led three players in double figures with 17 points as host Stephen F. Austin (23-7) beat Texas-San Antonio (18-12) 56-48 in the final. Stephen F. Austin held San Antonio scoreless for nearly five minutes to pull away in the second half.

SWAC: Rolanda Monroe scored 17 to lead Southern (19-10) past host Alabama State (17-13) 61-58 in the final. Tied at 46 with six minutes left, Southern went on a 7-1 run and led from there.

WAC: Tasha Williams scored 19 in Louisiana Tech's 63-39 victory over New Mexico State (10-20) in the final in Reno, Nev. With Tech (26-4) up 35-30, Williams scored seven during a 16-3 run to make it 51-33 with 6:15 left.