Originally created 03/09/06

Oklahoma fends off Cyclones' upset bid



DALLAS - Erin Higgins made a 3-pointer with 49 seconds remaining to help lift No. 8 Oklahoma past pesky Iowa State, 78-74, on Wednesday and advance to the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.

Though freshman Courtney Paris scored a season-high 36 points, the top-seeded Sooners needed Higgins to bail them out. Brittany Wilkins scored with 1:05 left to cap a 16-3 run and give the ninth-seeded Cyclones a 74-73 lead.

But Higgins' 3 from the top of the circle put the Sooners (27-4) ahead for good, 76-74. Laura Andrews made two free throws in the final 24 seconds, and Paris blocked Wilkins' layup attempt with 10 seconds remaining to seal Oklahoma's 15th consecutive win.

Paris, whose previous game-high was 32 points against Texas on Jan. 25, added 16 rebounds and six blocked shots. Teammate Chelsi Welch scored 13 points.

Wilkins had a career-high 28 points for Iowa State (17-12), while Lyndsey Medders had 15 points and 12 assists.

NO. 10 BAYLOR 79, KANSAS STATE 74

In Dallas, Sophia Young became the all-time leading scorer in conference history, and her six consecutive points in overtime helped Baylor beat Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals.

Young had 35 points and reached the scoring milestone early in the first half to surpass Kansas State's Kendra Wecker, who had 2,333 points from 2002-05.

NO. 19 UTAH 67, AIR FORCE 47

In Denver, Kim Smith scored a season-high 29 points and had 13 rebounds to lead Utah to a win over Air Force in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference.

The Utes (22-6) struggled in the first half, especially from beyond the arc, but managed to take a 28-18 halftime lead over the Falcons (13-15) thanks to Smith, the four-time league player of the year. She had 13 points and 10 boards at the break.

NO. 20 BRIGHAM YOUNG 65, COLORADO STATE 45

In Denver, Ambrosia Anderson scored 20 points and led a second-half charge to help Brigham Young University beat Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The top-seeded Cougars (24-4) took the lead for good at 7:22 of the first half when Jennie Keele's short jumper made it 22-21, but they went to the locker room clinging to a 29-26 halftime lead.

UNLV 57, NO. 21 NEW MEXICO 45

In Denver, UNLV used its athleticism and aggression to put a quick end to New Mexico's hopes of a fourth consecutive Mountain West Conference Tournament title.

The Rebels upset the Lobos in the quarterfinals on the strength of Sherry McCracklin's 15 points and 12 boards and a 15-1 game-ending run.

NO. 24 BOWLING GREEN 73, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 61

In Cleveland, Bowling Green, back in The Associated Press women's Top 25 poll for the first time since 1994, survived a shaky start and advanced to the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Liz Honegger had 17 points and Ali Mann scored 12 - all in the second half - and added 15 rebounds.