LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Sherri Coale believes a big comeback two months ago continues to help her No. 2 Oklahoma team continue to roll.
The Sooners rallied from nine points down Tuesday night to beat Texas Tech 80-72 and remain undefeated in Big 12 play.
In mid-December Oklahoma trailed by 26 in the second half against then-No. 9 California and ended up winning.
"I think we built a reservoir of toughness and perseverance when we were out in California earlier in the year," Coale said. "I think we draw from it every time we're behind. I think that's where that sense of calm comes from."
Courtney Paris scored 23 points and grabbed 20 rebounds, marking the 11th time in her career she's gotten over 20 points and rebounds in a game.
The Sooners (23-2, 11-0 Big 12) trailed 63-54 with 8:08 left before going on a 16-2 run over the next 4½ minutes to take a 70-65 lead with 3:51 left. They held on for the victory marking the best record in school history through 25 games.
Ashley Paris added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Sooners, whose winning streak matches the best in program history set during the 2006 season.
Jordan Murphree scored a career-high 25 points for the Lady Raiders (14-11, 4-7).
"Nothing comes easy in the Big 12 conference," Coale said. "Jordan Murphree was unstoppable. We never did figure out a way to stop her. Her shooting was off the charts."
Oklahoma trailed by four at the half before Texas Tech opened up its nine-point lead. Murphree scored seven straight points, including a 3-pointer, that gave the Lady Raiders their 63-54 advantage.
The Sooners rallied behind the Paris sisters. They combined for 12 points during the decisive spurt, including going 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
"The thing is people always say how poor of a free-throw shooter Courtney (Paris) is but I would like someone to go back to the books and see how she is in clutch play," Coale said. "She has the uncanny ability to be huge in that situation and convert for us. She did it again today. She was a big factor of the second-half."
Ashley Paris' free throw with 5 minutes left gave Oklahoma a 66-65 advantage — its first lead since midway through the first half.
Texas Tech was able to get within four points twice in the final 1:33, but Oklahoma made all six of its free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
"I thought we had some poor possessions," Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. "We had some shots roll out and some poor shot selection. We got pushed underneath and lost some key offensive rebounds but everyone gets pushed underneath. You have to credit Oklahoma and how they played down the stretch."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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