Paris leads AP women's All-Americans
Courtney Paris has been the model of consistency in her college career. It's something she learned growing up.
"Ever since eighth grade, I was always annoyed when a girl would score five points one game and then 20 the next," Paris said. "I always wanted to be consistent, so when I got to Oklahoma, I considered it my job."
• Candace Parker, Tennessee
• Courtney Paris, Oklahoma
• Lindsey Harding, Duke
• Ivory Latta, North Carolina
• Jessica Davenport, Ohio State
• Sylvia Fowles, LSU
• Candice Wiggins, Stanford
• Crystal Langhorne, Maryland
• Angel McCoughtry, Louisville
• Chrissy Givens, Middle Tennessee
• Katie Gearlds, Purdue
• Erlana Larkins, North Carolina
• Alison Bales, Duke
• Armintie Price, Mississippi
• Tasha Humphrey, Georgia
The Oklahoma center has done just that, racking up 61 straight games with double-figure scoring and rebounding and becoming the first player selected her first two years for The Associated Press All-America team in women's basketball.
"It's a big honor to me," said Paris, the 6-foot-4 daughter of former NFL lineman Bubba Paris. "I'm really excited. When you're younger you dream of getting to college and becoming an All-American. To know people voted you in is really special."
North Carolina senior Ivory Latta also is a repeater from last year's first team.
"It's definitely a tremendous honor to be a part of the All-America team again this season," Latta said. "To be considered among the best players in the nation is an exciting privilege, and I'm glad I have been able represent my team and my school well."
Also chosen was Duke senior Lindsey Harding, who helped lead the Blue Devils to a perfect 29-0 record in the regular season, Ohio State senior Jessica Davenport and Tennessee sophomore Candace Parker.
"I wouldn't want to play against them," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "Across the spectrum you got your guards, a swing, your posts, that team would be fantastic."
Parker was a first-team pick on 49 of the 50 ballots from the national media panel that votes in the weekly Top 25, receiving 248 points. The voting was done before the start of the NCAA Tournament.
"It's a huge honor," Parker said. "I wouldn't be where I am right now without my tremendous teammates."
Tommy Deas in Tuscaloosa, Ala., was the lone voter not to select the Tennessee star.
"She is a very good player and was one of several I considered for first team," Deas said. "I chose by position and although she is very versatile, I couldn't pick her."
Paris had 46 first-team votes and 242 points, while Harding had 44 and 234, Latta 38 and 218 and Davenport 20 and 188.
"It's a goal I've always had from day one, of being an All-American and making that team," Harding said. "I've worked so hard to get there."
Harding's college career ended when she missed two free throws last Saturday with 0.1 seconds left with Duke trailing Rutgers by a point in the Greensboro Regional semifinals. Her coach quickly put into perspective the impact of her star guard.
"She's carried us all year long," Blue Devils coach Gail Goestenkors said. "I've watched her grow as a player, she deserves every award. She was a consummate leader for us and I know she'll use the misses as motivation."
Parker, who played on the U.S. team that won a bronze medal last year at the world championships, will be joined in the national pool by Harding, Davenport and Paris.
"It bodes well for the USA," said Goestenkors, an assistant on the national team. "We're really trying to prepare these young players so we can get them ready."
The four players will spend time in Italy in April when the U.S. team heads there for a training trip.
"It's going to be a great experience," Harding said. "It's going to be a huge wake-up call from college to the next level. I'm playing with some of the most experienced players and coaches. I'm going to be a sponge. I do have a lot to learn."
Maryland's Crystal Langhorne led a trio of juniors on the second team, along with Stanford's Candice Wiggins and LSU's Sylvia Fowles. Middle Tennessee senior Chrissy Givens and Louisville sophomore Angel McCoughtry rounded out the second team.
The third team included Purdue's Katie Gearlds, North Carolina's Erlana Larkins, Duke's Alison Bales, Mississippi's Armintie Price and Georgia's Tasha Humphrey.
The preseason All-America team was Paris, Parker, Latta, Wiggins and Langhorne.
Joining Paris and Latta on last year's first team was Seimone Augustus of LSU -- a unanimous selection, Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers and Sophia Young of Baylor.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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