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Paris Named AP Player of the Year
March 31, 2007

CLEVELAND -- Courtney Paris' young career has been characterized by the astonishing total of school, conference and NCAA records she has accumulated.

So it came as no surprise that Paris snared another unprecedented feat when she was named Associated Press National Player of the Year on Saturday afternoon. 

Paris became the first sophomore to win the award since its inception in 1995.

Of course like all other basketball related ventures, Paris has a history of 'firsts' with the Associated Press. She was the first true-freshman to earn first team All-America honors last season and this year she became the first player to earn the highest All-America honor as a freshman and sophomore.

The honor came as a surprise to Paris, who was honored at a press conference inside Cleveland's Downtown Marriott.

 
The award has a history of being a badly guarded secret. If that was the case this year, it was certainly kept from the Sooner sophomore.

"I am shocked and speechless," said Paris.  "I thought I was coming here for an All-American banquet.  Turns out I am Player of the Year.  It's surprising and humbling.  The credit goes to my teammates and coaches, who have put me in the right position to succeed." 

Paris becomes the first Sooner and Big 12 Player to take home a national player of the year honor.  The only other Sooner to garner finalist status was Stacey Dales during her senior season in 2002.

"Her consistency is mind boggling," said OU head coach Sherri Coale. "Every player has off nights and Courtney is no exception. But she is the exception to the rule because it never shows up on the stat page.  She always gets her double digit points and double digit rebounds and most of the time she is posting 25 and 18."

Few thought Paris could duplicate, let alone top her dominant freshman season, but that was exactly what she did in 2006-07. 

The California native improved or held steady in every statistical category except field goal percentage. She finished the year with averages of 23.5 points, 15.9 rebounds, 3. 4 blocks, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals. The California native was first nationally in double-doubles (33), second in rebounding, third in scoring, fourth in blocks per game and 16th in field goal percentage (.570).  She also extended her NCAA record double-double streak to 61 games.

"It is my job to get a double-double and to dominate the paint," said Paris.  "That is my mindframe everytime we take the court.  This reaffirms that I am reaching those goals.  Now the next goal is to lead my team to a Final Four and National Championship. I would much rather be here in Cleveland with my team preparing for games."

After becoming the only player to reach 700 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks as a freshman, she repeated that effort in her second season with 775 points, 526 rebounds and 111 blocks. 

Paris set the NCAA record for fastest pace to 1,000 career rebounds, when she reached the mark in her 66th game. 

She also became the first player in NCAA history to reach 1,000 boards before the end of her sophomore season.

The two-time All-American also set another NCAA record with her two year total of 1,065 rebounds.  Drake's Wanda Ford is the only other player to have tallied 1,000 rebounds over a two-year time frame.

By the end of her sophomore season, Paris owned 12 NCAA records.

Paris is also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and Women's Wooden Award.  The Naismith award will be announced on Monday at approximately Noon EDT.  If Paris wins, she will fly to Atlanta along with Coach Coale on Thursday, April 5 for the official awards banquet.

The Wooden Award will be announced at the Los Angeles Athletic Club Saturday, April 7.  The 30-minute show will air nationally on CBS at 1 p.m. CDT.

Duke coach Gail Goestenkors was also named AP National Coach of the Year at the press conference. 

 

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