Paris, Sooners too much for Baylor

Freshman Courtney Paris (pictured) led Oklahoma to the schools' third Big 12 Tournament title with 24 points and 26 rebounds in the Sooners' 72-61 win over Baylor Saturday in Dallas. She also became the first freshman to win Tournament MVP honors. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Dallas, Texas — The legend of Courtney Paris continues.

Oklahoma's freshman center simply couldn't be stopped as she scored 24 points and pulled down a Big 12 finals record 26 rebounds in the Sooners' 72-61 win over Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament title game Saturday in Dallas.

Paris scored just six first half points, but added 18 in the second half, including five key free throws from the 3:36 mark on that helped put the game away as Baylor intentionally put her on the line.

Up to that point Paris was only 1-for-9 from the free throw line, but she quickly spoiled the Bears comeback plans by making five of her last six free throw attempts.

During the stretch when Baylor began fouling Paris off the ball, which were not called intentional fouls by the officials, the Sooners stretched the lead from 58-50 to 70-56 as she made four consecutive free throws during one stretch.

Paris, whose performance earned her conference tournament MVP honors and drew chants of "You can't stop her" from the Oklahoma fans in attendance, also outplayed Baylor forward and 2005 Final Four MVP Sophia Young in a much anticipated head-to-head matchup between two of the Big 12's best.

Young, who edged out Paris for Big 12 Player of the Year honors, was just 4-for-14 from the field and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Joining Paris in double figures were Britney Brown, Erin Higgins and Leah Rush. Brown finished with 15 points and a game-high seven assists, while Higgins added 15, all of which came on five clutch 3-point shots. Rush, who guarded Young for most of the night, finished with 12.

Rush and Higgins joined Paris, Young and Iowa State's Brittany Wilkins on the All-Tournament team.

Oklahoma committed 32 turnovers, but outrebounded Baylor 55-38 and also held the Bears to a season-low 25 percent shooting performance (20-79) from the field.

Back to Paris, the 6-foot-4 freshman finished with the third-highest scoring total (77) in Big 12 Tournament history. Her 11 blocks in OU's three games was the second-highest total and her 59 rebounds set a new record for the conference tournament. She also became the first freshman to win MVP of the Big 12 Tournament.

With the win, the Sooners (29-4) pushed their winning streak to 18 games and claimed their third conference tournament title in five years.

Oklahoma will find out their first round destination and seed for the NCAA Tournament on Monday.

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