[1] Oklahoma vs. [3] Louisville

Sunday, April 5, 2009

TV: ESPN

Records: Oklahoma 32-4, Louisville 33-4

Coaches: Sherri Coale (286-131 in 13 seasons, all at Oklahoma); Jeff Walz (59-14 in two seasons, both at Louisville)

When: Sunday, 7 p.m.

The Paris twins have consistently provided a strong inside foundation for Oklahoma -- Courtney is the only player in NCAA history to accumulate 2,500 career points and 2,000 rebounds, and Ashley has more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds -- but what got the Sooners to their first Final Four since 2002 was the balance provided by their guards.

Sophomore Danielle Robinson, who has averaged 16.3 points in the tournament, doesn't spot up from outside (just three three-point attempts in her career); she prefers to get to the basket and to the foul line, where she has made 115 of 127 free throws this season (90.6 percent). Freshman Whitney Hand has made 12 of 32 three-point attempts in the tournament, and when she hits long shots, "we feel like we're invincible, and we sort of play that way," Coach Sherri Coale said.

That back court will be challenged by Louisville's physical pressure defense, which features an array of full- and half-court traps. The Cardinals hounded Maryland into 21 turnovers and 38.9-percent shooting in the South Region final, and the Terrapins -- one of the country's top offensive teams -- admitted afterward that they were never able to get into a rhythm.

Senior Angel McCoughtry is the only active player who has scored more career points than Courtney Paris; she has 2,738 to Paris's 2,715. Louisville, which is in its first Final Four, also has a young back court, with sophomore Deseree' Byrd at point guard -- a position she had never played before this season. She had nine assists and just three turnovers against Maryland and scored 17 points.

-- Camille Powell


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