Don't Forget Paris

Feb. 16, 2006

By Debbie Antonelli

Special To



Debbie is an analyst for CSTV basketball and contributes to regularly. E-mail here!


From where I sat on the sidelines of Sunday's Baylor-Oklahoma battle, one very simple fact became abundantly clear:


Courtney Paris is on track to be one of the most dominant players in our game.


Take a look at this freshman center through the eyes of history and the numbers alone tell the story. The NCAA's all-time leading scorer, Jackie Stiles, graduated to the WNBA with 3,393 career points in her four years at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University). Her freshman year, she averaged 20.6 points per game through 30 games.


Paris, in 25 games so far this season, is averaging 21.5.


Stiles, a 5-foot-8 guard with a quick step, averaged 3.8 rebounds per game her freshman year.


Paris is averaging 14.8.


By her senior year, Stiles was pulled down well over 25 points per game and had fallen short of double-figure scoring only twice in 129 career games, another NCAA record. Barring injury or circumstance that determines otherwise, Paris could blow Stiles' career numbers out of the water in her next three years at Oklahoma.


I personally witnessed four years of Jackie Stiles. For Paris to be on pace to reach the bar that Jackie set is phenomenal. Especially because I have always believed that in the women's game it is easier to neutralize great post play than great guard play. But when it comes to Paris, you cannot stop her. You can only delay her from going where she wants.


Try putting Paris up against the nine players who have become Kodak All-Americans as freshmen. There she comes in second only to Lynette Woodard, an All-American from Kansas in 1978, who averaged 25.2 points and 14.8 rebounds. Mississippi State's LaToya Thomas, a 2000 pick and second-highest freshman All-American scorer behind Woodard, has a stat line that Paris has already trampled, besting Thomas' points, rebounds and, at this point in the season, outblocking Thomas 73-30.


All of these number speak volumes about where Paris is in her game already. Sunday's nailbiter against No. 12 Baylor was one of the best-played games of the year. Even against Sophia Young, a world-class athlete who happens to have polished, refined basketball skill, it was Paris who sank two free throws in the last minute to preserve the Sooners' 81-77 win.


With a season like the one this freshman is having, none of us will soon forget Paris.


Kodak Quick Picks


My current ten picks for Kodak All-American, in alphabetical order:


Seimone Augustus, senior forward, LSU

Augustus is putting together another stunning season, and is the sexy pick as the No. 1 choice in this summer's WNBA draft.


Monique Currie, senior forward, Duke

"Mo" is taking her fifth year to give the No. 1 Blue Devils that edge they may need to break through into the elite.


Sylvia Fowles, sophomore center, LSU

Fowles' game will only get better with time. I've already called her one of the most dangerous centers in the game.


Tasha Humphrey, sophomore forward, Georgia

Humphrey's notoriety will only grow if the `Dogs can make headway against SEC rival Tennessee.


Crystal Langhorne, sophomore center, Maryland

Langhorne is among the very best of Brenda Frese's young crop of athletes already contending for an NCAA top seed.


Ivory Latta, junior guard, UNC

This spark plug has her team playing some of the best ball in the nation, with an infectious energy on and off the court.


Courtney Paris, freshman center, Oklahoma

What more is there to say? Paris is having a historic freshman season


Candace Parker, redshirt freshman forward, Tennessee

The nation's most-heralded recruit has become one of the most difficult matchups of 2006. Forget the dunk, Parker is a threat from anywhere on the floor.


Cappie Pondexter, senior guard, Rutgers

UConn coach Geno Auriemma validated what I have long believed about Pondexer: she deserves to be the No. 1 pick in this season's WNBA draft. Minnesota needs a point guard, and who better than Pondexter, who has played on five USA teams, won four gold medals and served as captain three times?


Sophia Young, senior forward, Baylor

Young muscled her team to the national title last season, and she's keeping her team in the running with her special blend of athleticism and finesse.


Noticeably absent are Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Ohio State's Jessica Davenport, who were Kodak  picks last year. But that's how it is, folks. If I was headed to the playground to play, these are the ten I'd pick to play on my team.



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