Athlete Spotlight - Nazr Mohammed

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" That's three in a row for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers and two of the last three for the Kentucky Wildcats. The days of the Big Ten - Pac Ten - ACC exclusive triangle are gone for good. "
  - Vol Mako Shark


  PAGE.JPG (46k)
The only proof you need that Page really loves rebounding is that she leads the nation.    (AP)

Murriel Page,
Florida

Class: Senior     Position: F/C

Height: 6'2"

DOB: Sept. 18, 1975

Hometown: Louin, Miss.

High School: Bay Springs

Vital Stats: 19.2 points per game, 12.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 56.8% field goals

by Dana Gelin

Among Murriel Page's favorite things are actor Wesley Snipes, her mother's cooked cabbage and, luckily for her team, rebounding. "A lot of people don't like to rebound, they prefer to score," says Page. "With me, it's the opposite. It's all about me trying to be different."

Page has differentiated herself even among other rebounders with her nation- leading 13.0 per game average. She led the Southeastern Conference in that category for the second straight year and is a two-time All-SEC selection. She also averaged 19.3 points per game and has 64 career double-doubles to her credit. As Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said of Page before the Lady Vols played Florida in January, "Her scoring and rebounding really get my attention."

Lately, Page has drawn all sorts of attention. Fans besieged her for autographs when she attended the ABL All-Star Game in Orlando last January. The second-team All-America is expected to be among the top draft picks in either that league or the WNBA, and Florida coach Carol Ross expects her to be popular wherever she lands. "If you appreciate hard work with talent thrown in," Ross says, "you'll love Murriel Page."

With a total of 378 rebounds this season, Page has grabbed more than one for every person in her hometown of Louin, Miss. (pop. 300). Growing up there, Page's quickness earned her the nickname Speedy, which is tattooed onto her right arm. Her leaping ability earned her state titles in the long jump and high jump, and she also led her Bay Springs High team to two basketball crowns.

She made the starting lineup in half the games her freshman year at Florida and has been a permanent fixture ever since. In 1996-97, she and 6'1" DeLisha Milton were known as the Twin Towers. But when Milton went on to play for the Portland Power as the second pick in the ABL draft, Page was called upon to step up. Before this season started, Ross said Page would be her team's focal point, and predicted she'd be opponents' focus, too. "That was true to some extent before," Ross said, "but then she had her sidekick DeLisha with her."

Even without Milton around, Page has excelled. During the summer of 1997, she led the U.S. to a silver medal at the Jones Cup tournament in Taiwan, scoring 14.7 points per game. Back on campus, she scored the Lady Gators' first 16 points in a November win over Texas and finished that game with 28 points and 20 rebounds. "She's done whatever we've asked her to do," Ross says. "And we've basically asking her to do everything."

Other Spotlights
March 12: Brian Earl, Princeton
March 11: Tyrone Weeks, Massachusetts
March 10: Brett Robisch, Oklahoma St.
March 9: Larry Hughes, Saint Louis



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