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BIG EAST AND ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCES HEADLINE NAISMITH TROPHY WOMEN’S PRESEASON WATCH LIST

Maryland Leads With Four Candidates Followed by Connecticut and Rutgers With Three Each

ATLANTA (Dec. 18, 2007) – The Big East and Atlantic Coast conferences have combined to place 17 players on the 2007-08 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T women’s preseason candidate watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris and Tennessee’s Candace Parker, finalists from a year ago and past winners of the Naismith National High School Player of the Year, headline the list.

Led by Connecticut and Rutgers, with three apiece, the Big East Conference is represented by 10 players. Seniors Laura Harper and Crystal Langhorne, and juniors Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver helped Maryland lead the Atlantic Coast Conference, which placed seven candidates overall.

Coming off an appearance in the Women’s 2007 NCAA Championship game, Rutgers is represented by Seniors Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson, along with junior Kia Vaughn. Connecticut, which has claimed four Naismith trophies in its storied history, is represented by Senior Charde Houston, junior Renee Montgomery and sophomore Tina Charles. Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh each had one player on the list.

The Naismith Trophy is the most prestigious national award presented annually to college basketball’s players of the year. The watch list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its preseason criteria on player performances from last season and expectations for the 2007-08 campaign. There are 27 seniors, 18 juniors and five sophomores on the list, which does not include incoming freshmen, who will be considered in the first ballot in January, 2008.

“While the major conferences are well-represented, we are also impressed by the players from mid-majors,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “Its proof positive that the talent level of Women’s Basketball is as strong as it’s ever been, and selecting the Naismith winner this year will be a challenge.”

AT&T will continue to set the standard in allowing fans to participate in determining this year’s winner. Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for an unprecedented 25% of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.

In January, the Naismith Trophy voting academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, will narrow its preseason list to the top 30 players in the nation. Those players will be eligible for the final ballot in March. In April, the Naismith Trophy winner will be recognized at the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

Last year’s Naismith Trophy recipient was Duke University guard Lindsey Harding, who became the first Blue Devil woman to win the award. The last Big East player to claim the trophy was Connecticut’s Diana Taurasi, who won it in back-to-back years (2003 and 2004). Other notable winners include Cheryl Miller (USC), Dawn Staley (Virginia) and Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee).

The pre-season women’s candidates for the Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, listed in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Last First Class Position School
Ajavon Matee Sr. Guard Rutgers
Allen Charel Sr. Guard Notre Dame
Anderson Jolene Sr. Guard Wisconsin
Anosike Nicky Sr. Center Tennessee
Appel Jayne So. Forward/Center Stanford
Balerio Tahnee Sr. Guard Missouri State
Beck Kimberly Sr. Guard George Washington
Cann Jernisha Jr. Forward IUPUI
Carson Essence Sr. Guard/Forward Rutgers
Charles Tina So. Center Connecticut
Cirone Kristi Jr. Guard Illinois State
Coleman Marissa Jr. Guard/Forward Maryland
Cowher Meagan Sr. Forward Princeton
Dahir Brandy Sr. Forward Drake
DeHaan Allyssa So. Center Michigan State
Edwards Traci Jr. Center Wis.-Milwaukee
Ellis Krystal Jr. Guard Marquette
Fowles Sylvia Sr. Center Louisiana State
Hampton Devanei Jr. Forward/Center California
Harper Laura Sr. Forward/Center Maryland
Harris Amber So. Forward Xavier
Hightower Carlene Sr. Guard/Forward La Salle
Hornbuckle Alexis Sr. Guard Tennessee
Houston Charde Sr. Forward Connecticut
Humphrey Tasha Sr. Forward Georgia
Jackson Tye Sr. Guard Houston
Kahle Kelsey Jr. Guard/Forward Portland State
Kelly Crystal Sr. Forward Western Kentucky
Langhorne Crystal Sr. Forward/Center Maryland
Larkins Erlana Sr. Forward North Carolina
McCoughtry Angel Jr. Forward Louisville
McFarland Jackie Sr. Forward Colorado
Montgomery Renee Jr. Guard Connecticut
Morales Mandy Jr. Guard Montana
Murphy Marlena Sr. Forward Campbell
Neal Sherell Sr. Forward New Mexico State
Packer Marscilla Sr. Guard Ohio State
Paris Courtney Jr. Center Oklahoma
Parker Candace Jr. Guard/Forward/Center Tennessee
Parker Rebekah Sr. Guard/Forward Evansville
Smith Tanya Sr. Forward Hawaii
Starks Takia Jr. Guard Texas A&M
Thomas Toni Jr. Forward Cal. State Fullerton
Toliver Kristi Jr. Guard Maryland
Vaughn Kia Jr. Center Rutgers
Walker Ashley Jr. Forward/Center California
Walker Marcedes Sr. Center Pittsburgh
Waner Abby Jr. Guard Duke
Wiggins Candice Sr. Guard Stanford
Wright Monica So. Guard Virginia
         


ABOUT THE ATLANTA TIPOFF CLUB
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, an Atlanta Sports Council property, is committed to promoting the game of basketball and recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of those who make the game so exciting. The Atlanta Tipoff Club has presented the Naismith Trophy since UCLA’s Lew Alcindor first won the award in 1969. Old Dominion’s Anne Donovan won the inaugural Women’s Naismith Trophy in 1983.

The Naismith Award has become an emblem of excellence for the game, recognizing the Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, as well as awards for outstanding achievement in high school basketball, officiating, and overall contribution to the game.

ABOUT AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation's leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at www.att.com.

© 2007 Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.


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Contact:
Eric Oberman
Atlanta Tipoff Club
(404) 586-8506
eoberman@macoc.com

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Eric Oberman

Atlanta Tipoff Club
(404) 586-8506
eoberman@macoc.com



 
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