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Let Courtney Paris off hook for OU loss

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 6, 2009 at 7:48 am •  Published: April 6, 2009
ST. LOUIS — For a second Sunday night, you thought the shot was true. You thought Nyeshia Stevenson’s open-court 3-pointer would fall through the net and become a buzzer-beater for the ages. You thought Courtney Paris’ college career would last one game longer.

That’s a lot of thinking for maybe one second. The blink of an eye, really. About how long the Paris sisters feel their college careers lasted.

"It does seem like it goes by so fast,” Courtney said. "You wish you could have done more.”

There she goes again, taking the weight of the world upon her shoulders. Courtney did plenty. Just not quite enough.

Stevenson’s shot bounced off the rim and became the $64,000 miss. The buzzer sounded, Louisville had beaten Oklahoma 61-59 in the women’s Final Four at Scottrade Center and Paris’ money-back guarantee of an NCAA championship will be put to the test.

She shouldn’t have to pay up, of course. Paris was a fabulous player and fabulous ambassador for the Sooners, and that was no different Sunday night, when she was valiant in the effort and classy in defeat.

"What they’ve done for our program is remarkable,” OU coach Sherri Coale said of the Paris sisters. "No one should let their final game define them.”

True. In fact, let’s not hold Courtney’s vow to bring an NCAA title back to Norman against her. Uttered in the emotion of Senior Night, it had little basis in reality, not with King Conn waiting in the finals.

But making the championship game was a reasonable goal, and OU could have aced that one. Louisville won because on a cold-shooting night for both teams, it made one more basket, 22-21. The ’Ville started the game 0-for-13, but the Sooners started the second half 2-for-15, and much of that could be placed on Courtney’s absence.

Fourteen seconds into the second half, Courtney was whistled for her third foul — a call that came from a ref stationed at Busch Stadium — and she sat for three minutes.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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