Parker is Wooden finalist

Tennessee freshman basketball sensation Candace Parker is among 18 finalists for the 2005-06 Women's Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 8, during a national CBS telecast of the John R. Wooden Award ceremony that will air live at 2 p.m. EST from The Los Angeles Athletic Club.

The 2006 SEC Freshman of the Year and Tournament MVP, Parker averaged 21.0 points and 10.0 rebounds during the conference tournament and nailed the game-winning shot with 17 seconds remaining to defeat LSU for the second straight year in the championship game and hand Tennessee its 12th SEC Tournament Title in 17 trips to the finals. She leads the Lady Vols in scoring (16.6 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg) and blocks (2.2 bpg) this season and is the only Tennessee player to earn a starting nod in all 32 contests.

During her short career at Rocky Top, Parker has earned first team All-SEC, the Paradise Jam MVP, a spot on the Naismith Award midseason list, and is a finalist for the 2006 V Foundation Comeback Player of the Year Award. She was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week four times, SEC Player of the Week once and January?s Lady Vol Athlete of the Month.

A Naperville, Ill., native, Parker ranks in the top-15 in the SEC in seven different statistical categories. She has led the team in scoring 15 times and in rebounding 22 times this season en route to ten double-doubles and 14 games of one turnover or less. In 15 games against ranked opponents, she averages 18.1 ppg and 8.4 rpg.

"The Wooden Award Selection Committee had a tough chore in narrowing the list to the final ballot due to the parity of today's elite players and teams," said Mike Solum, director of the John R. Wooden Award. "We feel that these 18 players are the most deserving for consideration, and we applaud each of them for their outstanding effort both on and off the court."

Eight NCAA conferences are represented on the list, including the ACC, Atlantic 10, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Mountain West, Pac-10 and SEC. The best-represented conferences are the Big East and SEC, which have six and four candidates, respectively. LSU, featuring Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles, is the only team with two National Ballot candidates. In total, nine seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen are included on the National Ballot.

In order to be considered for the National Ballot, all players must have been accredited by their university as meeting the Wooden Award criteria which includes making normal progress towards graduation and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

A panel of over 200 voters, comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation, will have until 3 p.m. EST on Monday, March 27 to cast their votes for both the five-member All-American Team and Wooden Award recipient as the most outstanding women's collegiate basketball player in the United States. The Wooden Award opts for the March 27 deadline because it allows voters to evaluate players up until the Final Four has been determined.

The 2006 Wooden Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Men's and Women's Wooden Award, the Wooden Award All-American Teams, and Legends of Coaching Award recipient Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on April 8, 2006, and will be broadcast live on a national CBS telecast. The top five male and female finalists will be invited to Los Angeles for the awards ceremony and will receive a contribution from The Los Angeles Athletic Club for their university's general scholarship fund.

2005-06 Wooden Award National Ballot

Seimone Augustus 6'1" Sr. LSU; Monique Currie 6'0" Sr. Duke; Jessica Davenport 6'5" Jr. Ohio State; Jessica Dickson 5'11" Jr. S.Florida; Megan Duffy 5'7" Sr. Notre Dame; Candice Dupree 6'2" Sr. Temple; Sylvia Fowles 6'6" So. LSU; Tasha Humphrey 6'3" So. Georgia; Crystal Langhorne 6'2" So. Maryland; Ivory Latta 5'6" Jr. N.Carolina; Courtney Paris 6'5" Fr. Oklahoma; Candace Parker 6'4" Fr Tennessee; Cappie Pondexter 5'9" Sr. Rutgers; Khara Smith 6'2" Sr. DePaul; Kim Smith 6'1" Sr. Utah; Ann Strother 6'3" Sr. UConn; Candice Wiggins 5'11" So. Stanford; Sophia Young 6'1" Sr. Baylor.

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