NORMAN, Okla. — With Amanda Thompson rediscovering her game, No. 11 Oklahoma is looking more like a contender again.
While Courtney Paris was breaking another rebounding record, Thompson tied her career-high with 18 points and also had two late blocks to help the Sooners seal a 65-57 win against No. 18 Georgia on Sunday.
After Thompson’s second block in the final minute, the Sooners (13-4) jumped up and down, celebrating more like they’d just won a championship than they were about to win a game.
"She’s just that type of person. She’s going to make those plays that just lift our spirits or do something crazy," Paris said. "I’m going to be pretty embarrassed about it when I look back on that, but she’s a good player and she works hard."
Paris added 18 points and 14 boards, setting the Big 12 rebounding record en route to her 78th consecutive double-double. She now has 1,322 career rebounds, surpassing the previous Big 12 record of 1,316 set by Baylor’s Sophia Young.
But it’s been Thompson’s play over the past two games that has made a world of difference for Oklahoma. She scored 16 points in a 78-39 blowout of conference rival Texas Tech on Wednesday, then came back to shoot 8-for-12 against the Bulldogs.
She had been 9-for-27 in the two games before her current hot stretch.
"Shot selection has a lot to do with it. I don’t think it’s range because my area is 15 to 18 feet. That’s my bread and butter," Thompson said. "I think it’s just repetition and practice, just doing it over and over. And then in the game, it’ll come easy."
Sooners coach Sherri Coale backed her up, saying simply: "She’s just in the gym working her tail off."
The Bulldogs (16-4) made a late charge at Oklahoma after trailing by 10 at halftime, but still lost for the fourth time in their last seven games after a 13-0 start.
Paris and her twin sister, Ashley, were able to keep Georgia’s inside tandem of Tasha Humphrey and Angel Robinson in check for much of the game. Robinson left early in the first half after picking up two fouls, and wasn’t much of a factor in the second half either.
Humphrey struggled to a 3-for-16 shooting performance, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range, and scored 11 points. Christy Marshall added 16 points, one off her career best, and Megan Darrah also scored 11.
"We knew it was going to be tough coming in here because they are great inside with Courtney and Ashley. We knew it was going to be a challenge, and they outplayed us," Humphrey said. "It is as plain and simple as that."
Ashley Paris added 14 points and Danielle Robinson scored 12 for Oklahoma.
Georgia clawed back into the game with an 11-3 surge that Marshall started with a 3-pointer and ended with a putback of Darrah’s fast-break layup to cut the deficit to 51-49. She then answered Danielle Robinson’s basket by putting back her own miss.
Marshall missed a foul line jumper that would have tied it at 53, and Danielle Robinson then hit two free throws at the other end for the Sooners. After Georgia let the shot clock expire, Courtney Paris added a basket underneath as Oklahoma started to gain a more comfortable cushion.
"We didn’t execute to the finish offensively, and we needed more productivity out of our inside people," Georgia coach Andy Landers said. "I thought we got in good shape, I thought we executed to get in there and get them shots but we didn’t finish offensively."
Ashley Houts made two free throws to cut the deficit to 57-53 with 3:14 to play, but that’s as close as it got. Thompson made sure of it by blocking a 3-pointer by Darrah and a driving layup by Houts to spark the Sooners’ celebration.
The Sooners went into halftime on a 14-3 run, capped when Houts fumbled her dribble and Ashley Paris picked the ball up and fired it downcourt to Danielle Robinson for a layup that made it 38-28. They never trailed again.
"We’re trying to string together those consecutive stops, those possessions with toughness, and we’re getting better," Coale said.