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.
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
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
The third team included LSU's Sylvia Fowles, Georgia's Tasha
Humphrey, DePaul's Khara Smith, Utah's Kim Smith and Temple's
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
"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
"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."