IRVING -- Five Texas A&M women’s basketball players received preseason All-Big 12 Conference individual honors in a vote by the league’s head coaches Wednesday.
Senior A’Quonesia Franklin (Tyler, Texas) and junior Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) were selected to the five-member Preseason All-Big 12 Team along with Colorado’s Jackie McFarland, Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris and Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin. Franklin and Starks were both All-Big 12 First Team selections a year ago. An Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention in 2007, Franklin led the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio for the third-straight year (1.91) and ranked fifth-best in assists (4.7). Starks was A&M’s leading scorer averaging 14.2 points per game which ranked eighth-best in the Big 12.
Meanwhile, senior Morenike Atunrase (Shreveport, La.) and junior Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.) received honorable mention nods. Atunrase was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2005 and an All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2006, while Gant was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection, a member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and the inaugural recipient of the league’s Sixth Man Award in 2007.
The Aggies boasted the most honorees of all Big 12 Schools as freshman Tyra White (Kansas City, Mo.) garnered Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honors. A McDonald’s High School All-American and 2007 Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year, she averaged 18.5 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks per game as a senior at Hickman Mills High School. White was rated the No. 17 overall prospect and No. 4 shooting guard in the Class of 2007 by the All-Star Girls Basketball Report.
Led by 2007 Big 12 Coach of the Year Gary Blair, the Aggies look to defend their first Big 12 regular season championship with a veteran lineup and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. Joining Franklin, Starks, Atunrase, Gant and White are junior La Toya Micheaux (Missouri City, Texas), senior Patrice Reado (Houston, Texas), sophomore Damitria Buchanan (Houston, Texas), senior LaToya Gulley (Fayetteville, Ark.), sophomore Ashlaa Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas), sophomore Katrina Limbaha (Riga, Latvia), senior Katy Pounds (Shallowater, Texas), freshman Sydney Colson (Houston, Texas) and freshman Maryann Baker (Dallas, Texas).
2007-08 BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
(coaches not allowed to vote for their own players)
Preseason Player of the Year
Courtney Paris (Oklahoma)
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Dominic Seals (Texas Tech)
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Tyra White (Texas A&M)
Preseason All-Big 12 Team (listed alphabetically by school)
Jackie McFarland (Colorado), Kelsey Griffin (Nebraska), Courtney Paris (Oklahoma),
A’Quonesia Franklin (Texas A&M) and Takia Starks (Texas A&M)
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school)
Angela Tisdale (Baylor), Danielle McCray (Kansas), Ashley Paris (Oklahoma), Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State),
Morenike Atunrase (Texas A&M) and Danielle Gant (Texas A&M)