Augustus, Latta head women's All-American team
In her first college game, Courtney Paris broke loose for 24 points and 10 rebounds -- in only 20 minutes.
As it turned out, she was just getting warmed up.
Four months and 33 double-doubles later, the Oklahoma center has become the first freshman selected for The Associated Press All-America team in women's basketball.
• Seimone Augustus, LSU, senior
• Ivory Latta, North Carolina, junior
• Cappie Pondexter, Rutgers, senior
• Courtney Paris, Oklahoma, freshman
• Sophia Young, Baylor, senior
• Jessica Davenport, Ohio State, junior
• Monique Currie, Duke, senior
• Candice Wiggins, Stanford, sophomore
• Candace Parker, Tennessee, freshman
• Crystal Langhorne, Maryland, sophomore
• Sylvia Fowles, LSU, sophomore
• Tasha Humphrey, Georgia, sophomore
• Khara Smith, DePaul, senior
• Kim Smith, Utah, senior
• Candice Dupree, Temple, senior
LSU senior Seimone Augustus was the lone unanimous choice on the team released Tuesday, and the only first-team repeater from last year. Also chosen were North Carolina junior Ivory Latta, Rutgers senior Cappie Pondexter and Baylor senior Sophia Young.
Augustus was a first-team pick on all 46 ballots from the national media panel that votes in the weekly Top 25, receiving the maximum 230 points. Latta had 39 first-team votes and 210 points, while Pondexter had 36 and 207, Paris 30 and 184 and Young 25 and 183.
Since the AP began selecting women's All-America teams in the 1994-95 season, four freshmen had made the second and third teams, including Augustus, a third-team pick in 2003.
A season filled with eye-popping numbers enabled the 6-foot-4 Paris -- daughter of former NFL lineman Bubba Paris -- to break into the first five.
"It's pretty weird to think that last year you're in high school, and now you get to college a few months later and you get to be with Ivory and all these other guys," Paris said. "It's humbling to be considered in the same group."
Tennessee's freshman sensation, Candace Parker, was voted to the second team, along with Duke's Monique Currie, Ohio State's Jessica Davenport, Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Maryland's Crystal Langhorne.
The third team included LSU's Sylvia Fowles, Georgia's Tasha Humphrey, DePaul's Khara Smith, Utah's Kim Smith and Temple's Candice Dupree.
Paris showed up at Oklahoma with her twin sister, Ashley, and their impact was stunning. After finishing 17-13 last season and barely making the NCAA Tournament, the Sooners became the first team to go 16-0 in the Big 12 and were 31-5 overall.
"Without a doubt, she's changed the complexion of everything," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.
During the regular season, Paris averaged 21.4 points, led the nation in rebounding (15.1) and made 61 percent of her shots. She reached double figures in points and rebounds in all but three games and became the first NCAA women's player with 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a season.
Paris also broke a 21-year-old NCAA record by pulling down 539 rebounds.
"Courtney's consistency has been uncanny," Coale said. "There's no other way to describe it. We've come to learn that one way or another, she's going to get it done."
Augustus has played so well and so consistently that she has become everyone's All-American. She was a unanimous selection last season, when she was the national player of the year, and was unanimous on the preseason team last November.
Her 23-point regular-season average led the nation and she shot 57.8 percent, including 51.5 percent from 3-point range.
"I feel good about it," Augustus said. "I think I've worked hard enough to be deserving of this. It's just a joy being able to go into other states and have people know who you are and appreciate what you're doing for the women's game."
Latta, North Carolina's effervescent 5-6 point guard, averaged 18.4 points and five assists in leading the Tar Heels to the ACC regular-season and tournament championships and their first No. 1 ranking.
"I don't really look at what I've done individually," Latta said. "We're just a total package as a team."
But it wouldn't be the same team without her.
"She's our heart and soul," coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "Her spirit and enthusiasm are what drives us."
Pondexter returned to Rutgers after passing up a chance to turn pro and led the Scarlet Knights to a 16-0 Big East record. She averaged 21.5 points and 3.2 assists and became the first Rutgers player to earn first-team All-America honors.
"It has been five long years of hard work to get to this point, so it is really special to be rewarded and acknowledged in this way," Pondexter said. "To be the first Rutgers player to be a first-team AP All-American -- that's incredible."
Young led Baylor to the national championship last year and came back with a solid senior season, averaging 22.2 points and 10 rebounds and becoming just the fourth Division I player to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 steals and 300 assists.
"To be named as one of the top five players in the country is amazing," Young said. "It is a tremendous accomplishment and I feel extremely blessed."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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