Coaching finalists also announced for Naismith Trophy
ATLANTA -- LSU's Sylvia Fowles, Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, Tennessee's Candace Parker and Stanford's Candice Wiggins have been named finalists for the 2008 Naismith Trophy, presented annually to the top Division I women's college basketball player.Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, LSU's Van Chancellor, Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer and Tennessee's Pat Summitt also were named finalists for the 2008 Naismith Women's College Coach of the Year.
The winners will be announced in Tampa, Fla., on April 7 at the Final Four.Both Parker and Paris also won the Naismith National High School Female Player of the Year award. Parker is the only player to win it twice (2003 and '04); Paris won the honor in 2005. Both players were finalists for the Naismith Trophy a year ago, when Duke's Lindsey Harding became the first Blue Devil to claim the honor. Finalists were chosen through a vote by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors and its national voting academy, which narrowed the midseason list of 31 candidates down to four. The academy is comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, and based its criteria on player performances during the 2007-08 basketball season. Fowles, a 6-foot-6 senior center, led the Lady Tigers in scoring at 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. She was an All-American in 2007 and first-team All-SEC in 2006 and is the 2007-08 SEC player of the year. Paris, a two-time All-American and junior center, averaged 18.3 points, 14.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game during the regular season for the Sooners. Paris is the only player in NCAA history to register 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks in a season. Parker, a 6-4 junior who will forego her final season of eligibility at Tennessee, led the Lady Vols in scoring (20.6 points) and rebounds (8.8) this season. Parker is a two-time Kodak All-American, a three-time first-team All-SEC unanimous selection, the 2006 SEC freshman of the year and 2007 SEC player of the year. Wiggins, a senior guard, averaged 19.1 points for the Cardinal, and recently broke the Pac-10 scoring record, passing former Southern Cal star Lisa Leslie. Wiggins is a three-time second-team Associated Press All-American and two-time Pac-10 player of the year. Between them, Auriemma and Summitt have won the award nine times. Stringer won the Naismith Award in 1993 while at Iowa. Van Chancellor is a three-time WNBA coach of the year. Summitt has won the award a record five times.