Lady Vols Summitt Must Wait for Win #1,000 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Lady Vols Summitt Must Wait for Win #1,000

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Pat Summitt walked off the court still

stuck on 999 wins. Courtney Paris bounded away with tears of joy

despite her remarkable double-double streak coming to an end.

Paris had gotten a double-double in an NCAA-record 112 straight

games before coming up just short against No. 12 Tennessee. Whitney

Hand matched her career high with 20 points to help second-ranked

Oklahoma beat the Lady Vols 80-70 on Monday night for the Sooners'

15th straight victory.

Summitt will be stuck on 999 until at least Thursday night, when

the Lady Vols host Georgia.

"I'm not concerned about a number for me," Summitt said. "I'm

concerned about this basketball team investing in our system and

not picking and choosing when they want to play hard."

Paris finished with nine points and 12 rebounds marking the

first time in more than 1,000 days she had failed to reach double

figures in both categories. This was the first game in her college

career that Paris didn't score at least 10 points.

She got a standing ovation when she fouled out with 38.2 seconds

left. She walked to the bench with both arms raised and wiped away

tears as she waved to a standing crowd before taking a seat on the

Sooners' bench.

"I'm sorry if I cry because I'm a crybaby. I came here and I

wanted to win a national championship," Paris said, wiping away

tears. "In the midst of it, I've gotten this streak, I've had

scoring records, I've did all these other things.

"And tonight, I wish I would have played better but I realized

we have all the tools we need to do what I really wanted to do.

It's just overwhelming."

It was the end of an unbelievable run that started in December

of her freshman year and only the fourth time in Paris' 121 career

games that she didn't reach at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. By

comparison, the longest streak in men's basketball was 40 in a row

by North Carolina's Billy Cunningham back in the 1960s.

"It had to end sometime, and if it ends tonight, it does. It's

still the most remarkable streak in the history of college

basketball," Sooners coach Sherri Coale said.

Paris' teammates had plenty of fight to get the win anyway -

and, just as notably, prevent Summitt from getting it. It was

Oklahoma's first win in four tries against the vaunted Lady Vols.

In the 35th year of her storied stay at Tennessee, Summitt was

trying to become the first major college coach to reach 1,000

victories. And there were times early when it looked like she'd get

there. But she was left glaring in silence at her team after

calling timeout following Whitney Hand's steal and fast-break layup

that closed an 11-2 Sooners run that put Oklahoma ahead 57-46 with

13:10 to play. When she finally broke her silence, her instructions

came in brief bursts.

By then, her Lady Vols had already blown a 15-point lead and

were threatening to get run out of the game entirely.

"We are a long way from being a 40-minute team," Summitt said.

She could only stem the tide for so long.

A few minutes later, Hand nailed her fourth 3-pointer of the

game during a run of nine straight points for the Sooners. Danielle

Robinson's fast-break layup pushed the lead to 72-54 and forced

Summitt to burn her final timeout with 5:53 left. And it was too

late to do enough damage after that.

Hand ended up matching her career-best with 20 points, Ashley

Paris - Courtney's twin sister - scored 19, and Robinson had 17

points and 12 assists. The Sooners shot 53 percent and forced 24

turnovers, 14 in the second half, on their way to a 15th straight

win.

Shekinna Stricklen scored 19 to lead the Lady Vols (16-5). Glory

Johnson added 12 and Vicki Baugh 11. Baugh had to be helped off of

the court in the closing minutes and Summitt said she didn't expect

to know her injury status until the team got back to Tennessee.

The crowd started chanting "Courtney! Courtney!" as Oklahoma

(19-2) tried to pound the ball in to Paris to extend her streak.

But she turned it over twice under the basket and also missed a

reverse layup in the final 2 minutes, and then had to leave early.

She still was able to celebrate, though, bouncing off the court

after a postgame interview.

Stricklen scored 10 points during an early 16-0 surge by

Tennessee, prompting Summitt to clap her hands and shout

encouragement to Stricklen after her second 3-pointer during the

stretch. But soon enough, her trademark scowl was back and her arms

were folded - right over left - just as they had been most of the

game, and even when the Lady Vols lineup was being introduced

before the game.

Coale gambled by putting Courtney Paris back in with two fouls,

and it paid off perfectly. She set a screen to clear Nyeshia

Stevenson for a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Oklahoma wiped

out its 15-point deficit with a 19-0 run completed by Ashley Paris'

two free throws that put Oklahoma up 37-33.

Afterward, Ashley Paris cried, too, that her sister's streak was

over. She shed 30 pounds in the offseason and said she's trying her

best just to get four double-doubles in a row and "we share the

same DNA."

"I know how hard it is to do that, and I'm so proud. And I'm

proud to have it on my last name," Ashley Paris said. "It's

tough, it's hard, and it's just unbelievable what she has done."

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