It’s unanimous, Paris is a preseason All-American

By Doug Feinberg

Courtney Paris has been a regular on The Associated Press’ preseason All-America team the past few years. Now, the senior has joined an elite group as only the sixth unanimous choice in the 15-year history of the squad.

Joining the Oklahoma center on the team were Connecticut’s Maya Moore, Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, Maryland’s Kristi Toliver, and Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley.

“It will always be special to be part of that team,” said Paris, a three-time preseason All-American. “It’s nice that people outside of basketball respect you and what you do.”

For the first time, Paris was on every ballot of the 45-member national media panel. Previous unanimous selections were Chamique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi, Alana Beard, Seimone Augustus and Candace Parker.

“I’m honored to be a part of that group,” said Paris, who was two votes shy of being a unanimous choice last season and three short as a sophomore.

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    Paris enters her final year at Oklahoma having recorded double digits in points and rebounds in 92 straight games. She already owns two NCAA records and a host of Big 12, and school marks, too.

    “There is no question she has been a dominant player over her career so far,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.

    Besides making the preseason team the past three years, Paris has earned All-America honors all three of her seasons, becoming just the third player to do so. The others were Holdsclaw and Beard.

    Moore might be the fourth to join that group. She became the second freshman – Paris was the first – to be chosen to the All-America team last spring. She also came close to being a unanimous preseason selection herself, getting 44 votes.

    The sophomore was instrumental in leading top-ranked UConn to the Final Four last season, averaging 17.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. Being part of the preseason All-America team wasn’t lost on her.

    “It’s a great honor to be selected as part of that group,” she said. “Last year was special, but we have bigger things that we still want to accomplish as a team at UConn.”

    McCoughtry had 39 votes, Toliver 38, and Riley 19. Paris and Moore were first-team All-Americans last season. McCoughtry, Toliver, and Riley earned second-team honors.

    McCoughtry led Louisville to its best season with a loss to Connecticut in the Big East tournament finals and a run to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. She averaged 23.8 points and 4.1 steals as a junior.

    “I’m humbled by this honor,” McCoughtry said. “It was a dream of mine to bring national recognition to Louisville women’s basketball.”

    Toliver brought instant respect to Maryland as a freshman when she hit a 3-pointer that sent the national championship game against Duke into overtime. The Terps eventually won.

    “Not many people play the game as beautifully as Kristi,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “There isn’t a better shooter in the country and her ability to make plays separates her as one of the best point guards.”

    As a sophomore Riley helped guide Oklahoma State to a 27-8 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament round of 16. The Cowgirls also lost in the Big 12 tournament championship game. Riley set the school record for points (807) and scoring average (23.1).

    “There are so many people in this nation that work hard and to be considered one of the five best is incredible,” Riley said.

    Last year’s preseason team was Paris, Parker, Sylvia Fowles of LSU, Candice Wiggins of Stanford, and Crystal Langhorne of Maryland.