No. 2 Oklahoma Defeats No. 15 Tennessee, 80-70
Feb. 2, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (AP) - Pat Summitt's 1,000th win will have to wait at least another game.
Courtney Paris' record 112-game double-double streak came to an end, but Whitney Hand matched her career high with 20 points to help No. 2 Oklahoma beat 12th-ranked Tennessee 80-70 on Monday night for the Sooners' 15th straight victory.
Summitt was denied in her first attempt at reaching the coaching milestone. She'll get another chance on Thursday when the Lady Vols host Georgia.
"I'm not concerned about a number for me," Summitt said. "I'm concerned about this basketball team investing in our system and not picking and choosing when they want to play hard."
Paris had nine points and 12 rebounds and got a standing ovation when she fouled out with 38.2 seconds left. She walked to the bench with both arms raised and wiped away tears as she waved to a standing crowd before taking a seat on the Sooners' bench.
"It was going to end sometime," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "My immediate thought was good for her. She doesn't have to carry it around anymore."
It was the end of a remarkable run that started more than 1,000 days ago in December of her freshman year. It was only the fourth time in Paris' 121 career games that she failed to score at least 10 points and pull down at least 10 rebounds.
But her teammates had plenty of fight to get the win anyway -- and, just as notably, prevent Summitt from getting it.
In the 35th year of her storied stay at Tennessee, Summitt was trying to become the first major college coach to reach 1,000 victories. And there were times early when it looked like she'd get there. But she was left glaring in silence at her team after calling timeout following Hand's steal and fast-break layup that closed an 11-2 Sooners run that put Oklahoma ahead 57-46 with 13:10 to play. When she finally broke her silence, her instructions came in brief bursts.
By then, her Lady Vols had already blown a 15-point lead and were threatening to get run out of the game entirely.
"We are a long way from being a 40-minute team," Summitt said.
She could only stem the tide for so long.
A few minutes later, Hand nailed her fourth 3-pointer of the game during a run of nine straight points for the Sooners. Danielle Robinson's fast-break layup pushed the lead to 72-54 and forced Summitt to burn her final timeout with 5:53 left. And it was too late to do enough damage after that.
The crowd started chanting "Courtney! Courtney!" as Oklahoma (19-2) tried to pound the ball in to Paris to extend her streak. But she turned it over twice under the basket and also missed a reverse layup in the final 2 minutes, and then had to leave early.
She still was able to celebrate, though, bouncing off the court after a postgame interview.
Paris' sister, Ashley, finished with 19 points, Robinson scored 17 and Stevenson had 11. The Sooners shot 53 percent and forced 24 turnovers, 14 in the second half.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 19 to lead the Lady Vols (16-5). Glory Johnson added 12 and Vicki Baugh 11. Baugh had to be helped off of the court in the closing minutes and Summitt said she didn't expect to know her injury status until the team got back to Tennessee.
Stricklen scored 10 points during an early 16-0 surge by Tennessee, prompting Summitt to clap her hands and shout encouragement to Stricklen after her second 3-pointer during the stretch. But soon enough, her trademark scowl was back and her arms were folded -- right over left -- just as they had been most of the game, and even when the Lady Vols lineup was being introduced before the game.
Coale gambled by putting Courtney Paris back in with two fouls, and it paid off perfectly. She set a screen to clear Nyeshia Stevenson for a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Oklahoma wiped out its 15-point deficit with a 19-0 run completed by Ashley Paris' two free throws that put Oklahoma up 37-33.
"I just think that we let down and we started turning the ball over. We were starting to rush things," Stricklen said.
Alyssia Brewer, Summitt's first recruit out of Oklahoma in her time at Tennessee, finally ended an 8-minute field goal drought with a jumper in the final 10 seconds to get the Lady Vols within 41-36 at halftime.