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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."

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.