- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NORMAN, OKLA. (AP) - Freshman guard Whitney Hand scored a career-high 20 points and Danielle Robinson added 17 points and a career-best eight assists as No. 4 Oklahoma beat Marist 83-57 Wednesday night in a tuneup before its showdown against top-ranked Connecticut.

Courtney Paris extended her streak of double-doubles to 97 straight with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a season-low 22 minutes as the Sooners (4-1) opened a 15-point lead in the first 6 minutes and were never challenged.

Rachelle Fitz scored 17 points and Erica Allenspach added 10 for the Red Foxes (3-1), the top vote-getter outside the Top 25 this week.

Next up for the Sooners is a trip to Connecticut on Sunday to face the No. 1 Huskies, who they’ve never beaten in six tries. It could be their last chance with Paris, unless the teams meet again in the NCAA tournament.

It’ll be the second Top 5 showdown in two Sundays for Oklahoma, which was ranked No. 2 before losing 80-79 to then-No. 4 North Carolina in the finals of the Women’s Preseason NIT.

Marist caught the Sooners in between, and ended up paying for it.

Hand scored nine quick points as Oklahoma opened the game on a 17-2 run, keeping Marist from hitting a field goal for the first 6 minutes. The Red Foxes got back within 10 before another drought of 6 minutes later in the half, and Hand’s 3-pointer capped a 12-0 run to push the lead to 37-15.

Marist got closer than 20 points only once in the second half, following a 10-0 run that closed the gap to 65-46. Sooners coach Sherri Coale put her starters back in, and the Red Foxes’ surge came to an abrupt end.

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