ATLANTA For the second consecutive year, fans have been given the chance to vote for the 2007 Naismith Trophy. Courtney Paris is one of four finalists for the award along with Ohio State's Jessica Davenport, Duke Lindsey Harding and Tennessee's Candace Parker.
AT&T is giving 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. This program sets the standard in college athletics for integrating fans into the voting process and providing them with more input than with any other major collegiate sports award.
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, March 31 at 9 p.m. EDT.
After sending the "VOTE" text, individuals will be asked to vote for four awards, in the following order: Men's Player of the Year, Women's Player of the Year, Men's Coach of the Year and Women's Coach of the Year. Each opportunity to vote will come in a seperate text message. For your vote to count, you must vote for all four awards.
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Naismith Announces Finalists
Four of the nation’s top women’s college basketball players were named as finalists for the 2007 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Jessica Davenport (Ohio State), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Paris, (Oklahoma) and Candace Parker (Tennessee) will make up the final ballot. The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the men’s and women’s players of the year, and men’s and women’s college basketball coaches of the year.
Finalists were chosen through a vote by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, who narrowed the mid-season list of 30 candidates down to the final four. The Board, which is comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, based its criteria on player performances this season.
The four finalists will attend the Women’s Basketball Coaches Awards program in Cleveland on Monday, April 2, where the winner will be presented with the Naismith Trophy. The Women’s College Player of the Year Award winner will be honored at the Naismith Awards banquet April 5 in Atlanta.
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.
“It’s appropriate that the schools enjoying the most success this year are represented by the four Naismith Trophy finalists,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “We are proud to associate these tremendous student-athletes with this prestigious award.”
“These are four outstanding candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T,” said Marc Lefar, chief marketing officer for AT&T’s wireless unit. “We are proud to give the fans a voice in determining the winner for the third consecutive year.”
Jessica Davenport: A two-time WBCA and Associated Press All-American, she became the only Big 10 player to be named three-time conference Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Big 10, and three-time Big 10 All-Defensive team member. In her senior campaign, the 6-5 center led the league in scoring (20.2 ppg) while Ohio State went 28-3 (15-1) claimed its third straight Big Ten regular season title. The back-to-back Big 10 Player of the Year became the only player in conference history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocked shots in a career. At Ohio State, she was the all-time leader in made field goals (871) and field goal percentage (.605), and third Buckeye to surpass 2,000 career points.
Candace Parker: A 6-4 sophomore, Parker was named the 2007 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and was a unanimous SEC First-Team selection. She leads the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks and ranks in the top-10 in the SEC in six different statistical categories. The 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year, first-team All-SEC selection and SEC Tournament MVP, Parker becomes the first Lady Vol in program history to nab top-rookie and top-player honors in back-to-back years. Parker became the fastest player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau and is a former two-time winner of the prestigious Naismith High School Women’s Player of the Year award, which she claimed in 2003 and 2004.
Lindsey Harding: Led Duke to a 29-0 record in the regular season becoming the 14th team in NCAA history to go undefeated, and was named ACC Player & Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-ACC, ACC Player of the Week twice and Blue Sky Classic MVP. The 5-8 senior guard averaged 14.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game and notched six games with 20+ points. Harding became only the sixth ACC player in NCAA history to register 1,000 pts., 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 250 steals in a career.
Courtney Paris: The 6-4 sophomore center was named Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year while leading Oklahoma to a 25-4 overall record, 13-3 in the Big 12 and share of the conference title with Texas A&M. The title was the Sooners' sixth all-time and fifth in the Big 12. Paris led the Big 12 in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots for all games and conference-only games. Her season averages are 24.0 points, 16.0 rebounds and 3.41 blocks. She improved her numbers in Big 12-only games to 24.3 ppg, 16.5 rpg and 3.75 bpg. Paris scored 30-plus points in five games this season and more than 40 in two games, including a Big 12 season-high 43 points vs. New Mexico. She scored 20 or more points in 19 games in 2006-07 and grabbed at least 20 rebounds in three, while registering a double-double in all 28 games to date. Paris, who was also a finalist for the Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year in 2006, won the prestigious Naismith High School Women’s Player of the Year award in 2005.
For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.
Last year’s Naismith Trophy recipient was repeat winner Seimone Augustus from LSU, who also claimed the award in 2005, one of only six multiple winners. The others were: Cheryl Miller (USC, 1984, 1985, 1986), Clarissa Davis (Texas, 1987, 1989), Dawn Staley (Virginia, 1991, 1992), Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee, 1998, 1999) and Diana Taurasi (Connecticut, 2003, 2004). For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com.