Courtney Paris showed just how important she is to Oklahoma’s national title hopes by how little she played Saturday. With Paris saddled with foul trouble throughout, the top-seeded Sooners struggled offensively as Texas A&M rolled to a 74-62 upset at the Cox Center to advance to today’s Big 12 Tournament title game.
"A lot of fouls came off situations I could have controlled,” Paris said. "It’s my own fault. I wasn’t ready to go. "I have to come out ready to play and make sure my teammates are ready to play, too.” Paris played only 24 minutes. She had 15 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out with 3:23 left. When Paris was on the bench, OU had little offense. In the first half, the Sooners scored just 16 points and shot 26 percent from the field, both season lows. They had only one assist to nine turnovers against A&M’s stingy four-guard lineup as the Aggies jumped to a 29-21 halftime lead. "A lot of people say our style is ugly. But defense is going to win you championships and that’s our bread and butter,” said Aggie coach Gary Blair, whose club forced 29 turnovers in A&M’s 57-56 regular-season win over OU in College Station two weeks ago. "We don’t apologize for it.” Despite the sloppy first half, OU seemed like it was on track to overcome Paris’ three early fouls.