February 10, 2009
There is some great play going on in Women's College Basketball this year. I thought it was time to narrow down who I think is making some news in the game and having some great performances. These women are making it happen for their teams and individually reaching some milestones of their own.
1. Courtney Paris, Oklahoma Sooners, Center
Courtney continues to impress me. She has to be leader in the race for Player of the Year.
Her streak of double-doubles ended last week against Tennessee but she keeps on going. In her next game against Oklahoma State she became the all-time rebounds leader in women's basketball. She surpassed Wanda Ford of Drake.
She also broke the Big 12 career scoring record of 2,480 points, set by Baylor's Sophia Young from 2003-2006, and Young's Big 12 field goals record of 1,034.
Courtney is consummate team player and a hard worker. This year the Sooners have a legitimate chance of making some noise and reaching the Final Four and beyond. It's all because of Courtney's game and her maturity. She is the all-time "double-double princess."
2. Maya Moore, UConn Huskies, Forward
Maya is probably the best all around player I have seen since Diana Taurasi. She can take over a game. And, her jump shot is as smooth as any that I have seen in the men's college game this year.
She is averaging 19.9 points a game and 9.1 rebounds. Her Huskies have had a hold on No. 1 for quite some time now and still remain undefeated. She was actually tagged by ESPN as the preseason favorite to win POY and she is only a sophomore.
If it were not for Courtney Paris she is a runaway for Player of the Year and still may be closer than I think. She was the first freshman to garner player of the year honors in the Big East last year. Maya is worth all the hype and more.
3. Kristi Toliver, Maryland Terrapins, Guard
Kristi has to be considered one of the nations' top guards. She is the only one on my list that has a national championship under her belt.
This young lady has ice water running through her veins. She is definitely a big shot taker. She had a buzzer-beater against Florida State in a thriller and was just recently named ACC Player of the Week.
She wants the ball when the game is on the line. She can pull up and take a three-pointer or she can drive it down the lane for a lay up. She is a hustler and loves to play defense.
She is averaging 17.3 points a game and shoots 46 percent behind the three-point line. If I was starting a team this young lady would definitely be on it.
4. Epiphanny Prince, Rutgers Scarlett Knights, Guard
Epiphanny has been player of the week twice in the Big East. And, for such a small player she has a big game. She is averaging 20.5 points a game and converting 82.5 percent from the free throw line.
The Rutgers Ladies haven't realized as much success as other years, but they are young and Epiphanny is evolving into one of the best guards in the nation.
Size does hamper this player as she will pull up for a jumper or drive it in the lane for a lay-up against a lot bigger foe. This small guard has earned the right to have the ball in her hands in the last moment of a game.
5. Jantel Lavendar, Ohio State Buckeyes, Center
I have had the opportunity to see this freshman play in person now. All of the hype is warranted.
She is contributing 21.0 points and pulling down 10.8 rebounds. Both those numbers leads the Big Ten.
She also has 53 games where she has scored in double figures. She recently reached 1,000 points in just her second year playing. This is a future player of the year in women's basketball. She is a force on both ends and her teammates love her.
6. Chante Black, Duke Blue Devils, Center
Chante is probably the most physical of this bunch. At 6'5" she definitely makes others coming down the lane alter their shot.
She is getting 2.3 blocks a game, 15.0 points, and 8.7 rebounds. She has reached the 900 rebound club and she still remains the only player in ACC that has scored double-digits points every time out.
Her experience keeps them ranked and gives them a chance to win every game. She is not afraid to mix it up and she will run the floor with you. I love her game and I think she will see playing time at the next level.
7. Sha Brooks, Florida Gators, Guard
This is my personal favorite but, I don't think my judgement is clouded in including her in this list.
This senior has paid her dues on some mediocre teams. But now, she is leading her team right into their No. 9 ranking.
Brooks is averaging 16.4 points a game, but it is her overall will that she imposes in any game that makes her dangerous. She averages five assists and two steals a game.
She has stretches where she will make consecutive threes on trips down the court and then come back on defense and take a charge. She is tenacious and finally understands how to help her team to close games. Her grit is the core of this years' Lady Gators
8. Ashley Walker, California Golden Bears, Foward/Center
Ashley is able to play several positions and is a scoring machine averaging 20.2 points a game. She is a force on the boards bringing down 8.1 rebounds. She is the main reason that Bears are ranked No. 3 behind UConn and Oklahoma.
Cal is playing very good team ball and Ashley has been an experienced leader. She is a two-time All-American and just moved into second place on the Bear's all-time scoring list. Her importance to women's college Basketball this year is evident.
9 Danielle Robinson, Oklahoma Sooners, Guard
Courtney Paris may be filling the stat sheet, but this young lady is leading the team with speed, good ball-handling and outstanding decision making.
Danielle can change the complexity of a game. She keeps everyone involved on her team and always finds the open player. She gives opposing guards trouble on defense. She can beat the press with ease. She is the real deal and was named Freshman of the Year in the Big 12.
She was also the only freshman last year to be on the conference's All-Defensive Team. She had three double-doubles this year and also had a career 12 assists in a game.
She's a great decision maker and her speed in unmatched. With just being a sophomore she is the future of Sooner Basketball.
10. Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, Forward
Now Alysha is my surprise to some in this top ten list. But, if you know women's basketball at all you can't leave her off.
She is the second leading scorer in the nation, averaging 25.0 points per game. She is also grabbing 9.5 rebounds a game.
She is 5'11", plays for Middle Tennessee State, a volleyball player, an aspiring journalist, and model.
Her game is just as well rounded. Middle Tennessee State will make the tournament. They have played the likes of Oklahoma and Tennessee and held their own.
She is a transfer from Belmont and I am positive Middle Tenn is glad they discovered this double-double machine.
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