Parker named top women's player

Tennessee forward Candace Parker was named winner of the 2008 Naismith Trophy on Monday.

Parker, a Naismith finalist last season, beat out LSU's Sylvia Fowles, Oklahoma's Courtney Paris and Stanford's Candace Wiggins for the award, presented annually to the top Division I women's college basketball player. Tennessee joins Connecticut and USC as having the most women's Naismith Trophy winners with four.

Parker also is one of two female athletes to have won the Naismith National High School trophy twice, in 2003 and 2004 at Naperville (Ill.) Central. In addition, she is one of only five to win the award in both high school and college, joining Tamika Catchings, Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi.

"We are proud to welcome a former winner back into the Naismith family, especially someone who has achieved excellence on a consistent basis," Gary Stokan, president of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, which presents the award, said in a statement. "Candace has enjoyed a tremendous season and career at Tennessee and the college game will miss her dearly."

Parker and the Lady Vols plan Stanford for the national championship on Tuesday.

Parker led the team in scoring (20.6 points) and rebounding (8.8) this season. She is a two-time Kodak All-American, a three-time first-team All-SEC unanimous selection and the 2007 SEC player of the year.

"The Naismith Award has been long considered as one of the top honors for both high school and collegiate athletes," Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said in a statement. "Candace Parker is one of those rare talents who has been able to win the award on both levels. The Lady Vol basketball family is extremely proud of her accomplishments."