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Thursday, February 22, 2007
Davenport, Doron among finalists

ESPN.com news services

Two Duke players are among the 10 finalists for the 2006-07 Senior CLASS award.

The finalists -- Alison Bales of Duke, Amanda Brown of Penn State, Jessica Davenport of Ohio State, Dee Davis of Vanderbilt, Shay Doron of Maryland, Katie Gearlds of Purdue, Lindsey Harding of Duke, Kate Hobbs of the United States Naval Academy, Ivory Latta of North Carolina and Shay Murphy of Southern California -- were selected from a list of 30 candidates.

While on-court performance was a factor in determining the finalists, the off-court areas of focus -- classroom, character and community -- also were integral.

The finalists will be placed on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award ballot for a nationwide vote during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches, media and sponsors to determine the male and female recipients. Winners will be announced during the men's and women's Final Four weekends.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. Lowe's has extended the award in 2007 to include four other NCAA sports: baseball, softball, men's hockey and men's lacrosse. Those winners will be decided in separate balloting.

The award was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as Honorary Chairman. It was inspired by former Duke star Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season, led the Blue Devils to the national championship in 2001 and earned his college degree.

Past recipients of the women's award include Sue Bird of Connecticut (2002), LaToya Thomas of Mississippi State (2003), Alana Beard of Duke (2004), Kendra Wecker of Kansas State (2005) and Seimone Augustus of LSU (2006).