withered without her.
Courtney finished with typical imposing numbers — 16 points and 16 rebounds. The Sooners had played well for a stretch in the first half without their franchise center. But not in the second half.
When Paris went to the bench, OU led 34-25. When she returned, it was 35-35.
"Louisville was playing a lot harder and lot more physical” in the second half, Coale said. "Courtney’s presence is the first way we battle that physicality and that toughness.”
Louisville scored three baskets off offensive rebounds in those three minutes with Courtney on the bench.
"A momentum snapper for us,” said Ashley Paris.
So it was a new ballgame, down to the wire, and Louisville wrestled control.
Paris’ final basket as a Sooner came with eight seconds left, with a nifty catch off a Stevenson pass. That drew OU within 60-59, and when Louisville’s Candyce Bingham made just one of two foul shots with 7.6 seconds left, the Sooners had a chance.
And when Stevenson launched her shot, Courtney’s college career had either 40 minutes or one second left.
"I thought it was a great shot,” Paris said. "Rim to rim and came out. I thought it was really courageous of her to be willing to take that big shot. It just didn’t go in.”
And just like that, the game, the guarantee, the career, was over.
"We’ve enjoyed this era, and Courtney and Ashley have done some phenomenal things for our program,” Coale said. "Some things that will live on for a long, long time.”
405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.