When Oklahoma star Courtney Paris made the promise to win the NCAA Women's Championship this year, two things could be assumed: (1) She is serious, and the basketball world as we know it is about to be turned upside down, or (2) she's listening to too much Lady Gaga.
But whether she's bluffing or not, Paris' poker face is set, and all the chips are on the table. Paris put all $64,000 of her scholarship money on the line. The question now is, does she have all the right cards to win? Paris, Danielle Robinson, and Nyeshia Stevenson have a war on their hands. Not only do they have to dig deep to win it all, they have to take on the juggernaut UConn Huskies.
The Huskies have won four titles in the last five years. This year, they're winning games by an average of 30 points against top-25 ranked teams. Led by standout Maya Moore, the Huskies are the easy favorite to win it all this year.
And to say that Paris hasn't earned her scholarship would be foolhardy. In her four years at Oklahoma University, she was named to the All-American team in her freshman year, won player of the year, won her third consecutive Big 12 Player of the Year award, and now leads the Sooners into the dance with a No. 1 seed.
Paris' legacy in NCAA history, let alone OU, is secure, hands down. So why take a risk? Why up the ante instead of playing it safe?
Maybe Paris and the Sooners know something that the rest of us don't. Maybe they've studied enough tape to know how to expose their opponents' weaknesses until there is no one left at the table. Or maybe they're suffering from delusions of grandeur.
Either way, Paris and the Sooners are all-in now, and there is no option to fold. She will have to beat the house or literally buy her way out of her bluff. I hope they know what they're in for—otherwise Paris will have 64,000 reasons to remember.