Fowles, Paris, Parker and Wiggins Vie For Player of the Year Honors with the Naismith Trophy

Four of the nation's top women's college basketball players, including two former winners of the Naismith National High School Female Player of the Year award, were named as finalists of the 2008 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Sylvia Fowles (LSU), Courtney Paris (Oklahoma), Candace Parker (Tennessee) and Candice Wiggins (Stanford) will make up the final ballot for the most prestigious national award in college basketball. The Naismith Women's College Player of the Year winner will be announced at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association convention in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, April 7.

Parker holds the distinction of being one of only two female athletes ever to win the Naismith National High School trophy twice, having claimed it in both 2003 and 2004 when she played at Naperville (Ill.) Central High School. Paris won the award in 2005 at Piedmont (Calif.) High School. 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 mid-season list of 31 candidates down to these 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.

"All of these players have had not only tremendous seasons, but spectacular careers as well," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. "Any one of them would be a deserving addition to the Naismith awards family."

Again this year, AT&T will give fans an unprecedented voice in selecting the winner. Fan voting, through the power and ease of text messaging, will account for 25 percent of the selection process. Fans can text message "VOTE" to "87654" to receive the final ballot and participate in the voting process. Voting for the Naismith Trophy Women's College Basketball Player of the Year will end on Saturday, April 5, 2008, at
11:59 p.m. EDT. AT&T is making the voting open to other wireless
carriers allowing even more fans to participate. Other wireless carriers must opt-in for their subscribers to participate.

"This program sets the standard in college athletics for integrating fans into the voting process and provides them with more input than any other major collegiate sports award," said Tim McGhee, Director of National Sponsorships for AT&T. "AT&T is excited to work with the Atlanta Tipoff Club for the fourth year in a row and enable fans to be a part of the selection process for one of the most coveted awards in college sports. We wish the best of luck to each of the finalists for the Naismith Trophy this year."

The 2008 finalists include:

Sylvia Fowles: A 6-6 senior center from Miami, Fla., Fowles 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.

Courtney Paris: A two-time All-American, the 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.

Candace Parker: The 6-4 junior 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.

Candice Wiggins: The senior guard from San Diego, Calif, averaged 19.1 points per game for the Cardinal, and recently broke the Pac-10 scoring record, passing former Southern Cal star Lisa Leslie, who scored 2,414 points as a Trojan from 1991-94. Wiggins is a three-time Second-Team Associated Press All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year.

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The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club has presented the Naismith Trophy since UCLA's Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969.

The Naismith Awards program has become an emblem of excellence for the game, recognizing the Men's and Women's College Player of the Year, Men's and Women's Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and overall contribution to the game.

Story Courtesy: Lady Vols Sports Information

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