Tampa, Fla. Candace Parker has earned all sorts of honors - All-American, national champion, future Olympian. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt offers another distinction: the top player in the history of women's basketball.
"I went into the season thinking she's one of the best ever," Summitt said. "Now that we're approaching the end of her career - I've coached Cheryl Miller, Chamique (Holdsclaw), Lynette Woodard, Nancy (Lieberman), Anne Donovan - Parker is the best."
Parker, a junior, averaged 21.6 points and 8.3 rebounds to lead the Lady Vols this season. The All-American on Saturday was voted player of the year in women's college basketball by the Associated Press. Geno Auriemma of Connecticut was the coach of the year, the fifth time he won the award.
Parker received 40 votes from the 50-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Maya Moore of Connecticut was second with five votes. Sylvia Fowles of LSU and Candice Wiggins of Stanford had two each and Crystal Langhorne of Maryland one.
Auriemma received 13 votes, followed by North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell with 11 and Utah's Elaine Elliott and Kansas State's Deb Patterson with six each.