Candace Parker is considered the best women's basketball player in the nation (although there are some folks on the Stanford campus who would assert that Candice Wiggins is).
During their game against the University of Kentucky in Knoxville yesterday, Pat Summitt told Candace Parker to quit shooting fadeaway jumpers and go strong to the hoop.
Boy, did she ever. For the sixth time in her NCAA career Candace Parker executed a dunk in a regular season game as number 2 ranked Tennessee mauled the Wildcats 79-51. With 8:08 remaining in the game and the Vols up by 18, Parker picked up a loose ball that UK's Chante Bowman lost at midcourt. The ensuing fast break found Parker on the baseline, but she stopped, got control of the ball, then turned and dunked it home as the Thompson-Boling Arena crowd went wild.
The 6-foot-4 Parker executed four dunks last season, including one against rival Connecticut. She's one reason why the United States women will be heavy favorites to take the gold in Beijing this summer. During her freshman season she dunked twice in an NCAA Tournament game against Army.
6-foot-7 LSU All-American Sylvia Fowles is the only other women's college player to dunk this season. She executed her slam during a November 21, 2007 game against the UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns that LSU won 72-37. With 9:29 remaining in the first half, Fowles stole the ball from Winnie Dunlap and drove slightly more than half the court before dunking from the right side.
Only six women have dunked in a college game. The other four members of this elite sorority besides Parker and Fowles are Georganne Wells of West Virginia, Charlotte Smith of North Carolina, Sancho Lyttle of Houston, and Michelle Snow of Tennessee.
Ironically, Sancho Lyttle and Michelle Snow are currently teammates on the WNBA's Houston Comets. They have yet to dunk in a WNBA game, and Lisa Leslie of the LA Sparks remains the lone woman so far to execute a slam dunk in a WNBA game.
With Candace Parker as part of Team USA and Lisa Leslie back at center, I feel very good about the USA women's chances to take their fourth straight Olympic gold medal since 1996.
As far as Tennessee repeating as NCAA champs, that's a tougher proposition.