NEW YORK -- Four University of Texas women's basketball incoming signees were named to the elite PARADE All-America Girls Basketball Team on April 10, with the team headlined by UT signee Erika Arriaran (Norco, Calif./Norco HS), a consensus First Team All-America 5-10 guard who was named the 2005 PARADE Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Arriaran, who averaged 17.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game for 28-1 Norco HS this year, was recognized with her second National Player of the Year honor for 2005. In March, she was named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/State Farm National Player of the Year as well. She also was a finalist for McDonald's and Naismith national player of the year honors. She leaves Norco as the school's career leader in assists, three-pointers, free-throw percentage.
A total of 40 standouts (10 per first, second, third and fourth team) from 20 states were named PARADE All-America as selected by coaches, scouts and recruiters from throughout the country.
The other three Texas signees selected for PARADE All-America honors were 5-7 guard Carla Cortijo (Bellaire, Texas/Bellaire HS), a Second Team pick; and Fourth Team selections 6-0 forward Earnesia Williams (Sapulpa, Okla./Sapulpa HS) and 6-3 post Mariana Mergerson (Duncanville, Texas/Duncanville HS).
Arriaran and Williams also were tabbed a McDonalds All-American and WBCA All-American this year, playing in both organization's respective High School All-America Games last month.
Williams also was named the 2005 Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year while averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists points for Sapulpa HS. She is the first player in the state of Oklahoma to be named to the McDonald's All-American Team.
Mergerson played in only seven games this season after a torn ACL last summer (suffered while competing at the USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival) sidelined her for most of the 2004-05 season. She averaged 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists and helped Duncanville reach the Class 5A Region I quarterfinals. Cortijo sat out her 2005 senior year while recovering from a knee injury.