<
>

Oklahoma beats Colorado behind Paris, Higgins

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Erin Higgins' mother always tells her to
"Own the Outside." No one at Oklahoma has ever done it better.

Higgins passed Etta Maytubby to become Oklahoma's all-time
leading 3-point shooter and twins Courtney and Ashley Paris each
had double-doubles as the No. 18 Sooners beat Colorado 84-61
Saturday.

Higgins broke the mark with a 3-pointer from the left wing to
give Oklahoma (12-3, 2-0 Big 12) its largest lead of the first half
at 50-27.

"It's a great honor. There's a lot of great shooters on that
list. My mom was kind of keeping tabs on it more than I was. It
means a whole lot to me, but I'm really happy that I could give her
something to come to games for," Higgins said, adding the last
part jokingly.

Higgins said she had three things written on her hand for the
Sooners' game: "Help my team," "Nothing easy" for her time on
defense and "Own it," a reminder of her mom's advice.

After making the shot, Higgins pointed to the Oklahoma bench,
ran downcourt and high-fived Laura Andrews, whose crosscourt pass
set her up for the shot.

"Laura and just I looked at each other and smiled at each other
for about 5 seconds," Higgins said.

Higgins' 2-for-9 performance was subpar for a gunner who's hit
42 of 96 (44 percent) from 3-point range this season. She now has
two more 3s than Maytubby, who hit 174 from 1993-96.

"Erin's a terrific shooter and I think her numbers this year
are reflective of the type of shooter that she is because she's
getting pure looks," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.

"In past seasons, she had to take some pretty iffy 3s deep in
the shot clock because we didn't have the presence around her maybe
that could create the way Courtney's presence and Ashley's presence
can help create. What you see there is pretty vintage Higgins."

Courtney Paris added 15 points and 17 rebounds for her
NCAA-leading 12th double-double and Ashley Paris had 10 points and
10 rebounds. Kendra Moore scored 12 points and Chelsi Welch, who'd
averaged 21.5 after being inserted into the starting lineup two
games ago, added 11 for the Sooners, who never trailed.

The Buffaloes (5-9, 0-2) cut into a 26-point deficit with a 9-0
run midway through the second half, getting within 61-44 on Hannah
Skildum's free throw. That's as close as the game got in the second
half.

Whitney Law scored 14, Skildum added 12 and Jasmina Ilic had 11
for Colorado, which committed a season-high 24 turnovers.

Colorado's Jackie McFarland, who was averaging 19.2 points, was
held to only nine. It was only the second time this season she had
been held below 10 points. She scored four points in an 84-83
overtime loss to Northern Arizona in which she played only 10
minutes before fouling out.

"Jackie is our leading scorer and what she's done in the
nonconference has really made people take notice as far as what she
can do on the offensive end," Colorado coach Kathy
McConnell-Miller said. " ... The fours and fives in our
nonconference games, with the exception of two or three, don't look
like Courtney Paris or Ashley. Their bodies aren't built like them.

"Jackie is going to struggle in the Big 12 until she learns to
face up and pull people out."

Leah Rush scored eight points as Oklahoma rushed out to a 12-2
lead. A 10-2 run capped by Ashley Paris' layup extended the edge to
41-21.

Higgins then extended the lead to 23 points with the
record-setting 3-pointer with 32 seconds left in the first half.

It took Higgins 84 less shots to reach Maytubby's mark, and
she's still only a junior.

"She did this with a year and half left in her career. She
could set the record so far that it might never be touched again,"
Coale said.

At halftime, Oklahoma introduced the donors of three new endowed
scholarships intended to help get the women's basketball program --
which was dropped for eight days in March 1990 -- to a point where
it is self-sufficient.

The donors were allowed to choose "foundation" players, whose
names would be included on the scholarship. Oklahoma now has eight
endowed scholarships for women's basketball.

Former Oklahoma greats including Stacey Dales and Phylesha
Whaley participated in the announcement.