It's been a whirlwind year for

Candace Parker


She led Tennessee to a second straight national championship in women's basketball, was the first pick in the WNBA draft, took the league's MVP and rookie of the year awards, and helped the U.S. win a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal.

Now Parker has been selected female athlete of the year by members of the Associated Press.

"Wow, that's amazing," the 22-year-old Parker said. "It's been a great year from so many standpoints. I haven't really had a chance to sit back and let it all sink in."

Parker received 36 votes from members of the Associated Press, barely edging golfer Lorena Ochoa , who had won the previous 2 years. Rounding out the top five were gymnast Nastia Liukin, swimmer Dara Torres, and gymnast Shawn Johnson.

Sport Stops

* The PGA Tour has lost the Ginn sur Mer Classic from its Fall Series because of the economy. Also, the Valero Texas Open has been moved from the fall to the spring to replace the defunct AT & T Classic in Atlanta.

* Spain would prefer to launch a joint-bid with Portugal for the 2018 World Cup, according to the head of the country's football federation. President

Angel Maria Villar

has already said that Spain would bid for the event, but the sports daily


reported that he favored a joint bid. Candidates to host the 2018 World Cup include Mexico, the United States, England, Russia, Qatar, China, Australia, Japan and a combined Netherlands-Belgium bid.

* Daisuke Naito (34-3-2) of Japan defeated compatriot Shingo Yamaguchi (23-2-6) on a technical knockout in the 11th round Tuesday to retain his WBC flyweight title. *