Starks On Wooden Watch List

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LOS ANGELES – Texas A&M’s Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) was selected as one of the nation’s top 30 preseason candidates for the prestigious John R. Wooden Women’s Award Wednesday.

Starks, a 5-foot-8 junior shooting guard, becomes only the second player in school history to receive preseason John R. Wooden Award honors next to senior combination guard/forward Morenike Atunrase. One of the top returning players in the Big 12 Conference, Starks was selected to the five-member preseason All-Big 12 Team and averaged a team-leading 14.2 points for the Aggies in 2006-07. She ranked eighth-best among league scorers and seventh-best in three-point field goal accuracy (39.6). A consensus All-Big 12 First Team selection by the league’s head coaches, The Dallas Morning News and The Waco Tribune a year ago, Starks is the cousin of former NBA star John Starks who played for the New York Knicks from 1990-98.

“T-Kay is the best two-guard in our league and in the country,” Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair said. “She improved on her ball handling and she improved on her driving ability last year. Each year, she tries to come back with something new added to her game. If I’m the opposing defense, she is the person I have to go in and stop every game. She is definitely a next level player.”

Created in 1976, the award is the most prestigious individual honor in all of college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation's best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 or better grade-point average. The award is named in honor of the three-time college basketball All-American, 1932 Player of the Year and 10-time national championship coach at UCLA and is voted on annually by national sports writers and broadcasters.

Past winners include such notables as Larry Bird (1979), Michael Jordan (1984) and Tim Duncan (1997). On the women’s side, Duke’s Alana Beard was the inaugural winner of the award in 2004 followed by LSU’s Seimone Augustus (2005 and 2006) and Tennessee’s Candace Parker (2007).

2007-08 JOHN R. WOODEN WOMEN’S AWARD PRESEASON TOP 30 CANDIDATES

Matee Ajavon, 5-8, Senior, G, Rutgers

Charel Allen, 5-11, Senior, G, Notre Dame

Jolene Anderson, 5-8, Senior, G, Wisconsin

Nicky Anosike, 6-4, Senior, C, Tennessee

Jayn Appel, 6-4, Sophomore, F, Stanford

Kimberly Beck, 5-8, Senior, G, George Washington

Tina Charles, 6-4, Sophomore, C, Connecticut

Marissa Coleman, 6-1, Junior, G/F, Maryland

Allyssa DeHaan, 6-9, Sophomore, C, Michigan State

Essence Carson, 6-0, Senior, F, Rutgers

Sylvia Fowles*, 6-6, Senior, C, LSU

Devanei Hampton, 6-3, Junior, F/C, California

Amber Harris, 6-5, Sophomore, F, Xavier

Alexis Hornbuckle, 5-11, Senior, G, Tennessee

Tasha Humphrey, 6-3, Senior, F, Georgia

Crystal Kelly, 6-3, Senior, F, Western Kentucky

Crystal Langhorne, 6-2, Senior, C/F, Maryland

Erlana Larkins, 6-1, Senior, F, North Carolina

Angel McCoughtry, 6-1, Junior, F, Louisville

Renee Montgomery, 5-7, Junior, G, Connecticut

Mandy Morales, 5-9, Junior, G, Montana

Marscilla Packer, 5-9, Senior, G, Ohio State

Courtney Paris*, 6-4, Junior, C, Oklahoma

Candace Parker*, 6-4, Junior, F/C, Tennessee

Takia Starks, 5-8, Junior, G, Texas A&M

Kristi Toliver, 5-7, Junior, G, Maryland

Kia Vaughn, 6-4, Junior, C, Rutgers

Mercedes Walker, 6-3, Senior, C, Pittsburgh

Abby Waner, 5-10, Junior, G, Duke

Candice Wiggins, 5-11, Senior, G, Stanford

*indicates player was a 2006-07 Wooden Award All-American