Oklahoma Baylor Basketball

Oklahoma's Courtney Paris (3) shoots over Baylor's Rachel Allison, left, during the first half of a women's college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 10, 200,7 in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte)

A couple of days after her Sooners came back to beat Nebraska, Oklahoma women’s coach Sherri Coale commented “the glue” only grows stronger through adversity. The Sooners hadn’t played anything close to their best game, but they prevailed nonetheless.

One day later, Wednesday night at Ferrell Center — if Coale’s theory is right — the glue got that much stronger all over again.

Not only did No. 8 OU knock off No. 9 Baylor 76-63, putting itself in the Big 12 driver’s seat on the Bears’ home court a second straight season, the Sooners did it on a night they played some of their worst basketball of the season by turning around and playing their best basketball of the season.

“I thought our comeback was outstanding,” Coale said. “I don’t know what it is about this place, that we feel like we kind of have to dig ourselves a hole.”

After a quiet first half, Courtney Paris took over in the second, scoring 21 of her 32 points and grabbing 11 of her 16 rebounds. But she was only the most conspicuous player wearing crimson.

After the half, the Sooners (13-1, 2-0) outscored the Bears (15-2, 2-1) 49-28, outrebounded the Bears 27-20 and got to the foul line 10 more times than the Bears, making 13 to the Baylor’s four.

Sooner forward Leah Rush, who finished with 13 points and a season-high 12 rebounds, said there were a few halftime adjustments, but the night and day of the two halves was more basic.

“I think the difference between the first half and the second half was intensity,” she said.

As OU began chipping away at what became a 10-point deficit with 19 minutes to play, the game was shaping up as one more classic between the conference’s two best programs. The only problem was, upon catching up, the Sooners never stopped, holding the Bears to one field goal over the game’s final 6:15.

All the while, the Sooners continued pounding the ball into the post where, in the ultimate example of picking the wrong poison, Baylor refused to double-team Paris. Insulted or not, she kept going to the basket.

“That’s like Erin Higgins being wide open and not shooting it,” Paris said of any other course. “If they’re going to put just one person on me, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Before the Sooners’ blitz, the story of the game was Bernice Mosby, the senior post who transferred from Florida in time to play one season in Waco. Appearing every bit the star as the recently departed Sophia Young and Aby Wabara, Mosby finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds, almost all of it in the game’s first half hour, before OU started making Baylor look like it was standing still.

“We got tired,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Credit their defense. Credit their team. Credit their seniors.”

The most telling sequence of the game came with 61/2 minutes to play, when Chelsi Welch won a scrum for the ball, pulling it through two Baylor defenders before getting fouled on her way to the basket. She made the first free throw and missed the second, only to have Rush chase down the rebound. Eventually, Welch worked free for a layup only to miss, only to have Rush grabbed another board, get fouled and go to the line, where she canned both her tries, putting OU up 61-56.

“Special seniors. Special seniors,” Coale said. “There’s a sense of urgency that these seniors really understand. They will possessions out there. I really believe that.”

Clay Horning366-3526cfhorning@normantranscript.com

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