Tennessee's Candace Parker palmed the ball as she jumped, stretched her long arm above the rim and deposited the ball in the basket.

Hundreds of fans stood and cheered the Lady Vol who could become the fourth woman to dunk in a college game.

The wait for that chance is over.

Parker, one of the most decorated female high school players ever, finally makes her debut in a Lady Vols uniform this month. She had to sit out last season as a freshman to recover from two operations on her left knee.

"I can't imagine what it's going to be like the first game, the feeling and how excited I am. I cannot wait," Parker said.

The Lady Vols open the regular season Nov. 20 against Stetson.

Fans wanting a sneak peek at Parker's ability gathered at an exhibition last week that culminated in a dunk contest. Parker was the only Lady Vol dunking, and she lost. But she had already dunked one-handed four times during ordinary drills and a scrimmage.

"There's been a lot of talk about her. She's an awesome player for us, but I haven't seen her play in an actual game," senior Tye'sha Fluker said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do in the games."

The 6-foot-3 forward from Naperville, Ill., was named national high school player of the year as a junior and senior. By sinking all of her dunks, she became the first woman to win the dunk contest for McDonald's high school all-Americans in 2004.

But dunking is no big deal to her. She first slammed one as a sophomore in high school after her brother told her he didn't think she could do it.

"It's a part of the game, but it's not the game. Women's basketball is so much more than just dunking," Parker said. "It's a little higher than a layup. That's how I look at it."

Parker dunks almost nonchalantly -- no hanging on the rim, fancy moves or celebratory fist pumping.

It's easier to understand how it looks natural when you see Parker.

"Her body is so amazing because she's 6-4 or 6-5 with arms as long as I am tall," said Shanna Zolman, a 5-foot-10 guard. "They're so long she can disrupt the passing lanes. She can play above the rim. You can box her out and she'll still get the rebound."

Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt has given Parker the green light to dunk whenever it seems appropriate and would not be a risk to injury. Parker tore her left ACL before her senior year in high school.

"I just want her to play the game under control. And for her, it's much different from any player I've ever coached in that she can be flat-footed and go up and dunk. So it's not like things have to be perfect in her basketball world for her to dunk. If she goes up inside and dunks it, more power to her," Summitt said.

Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks has dunked in a professional game, and players in three different decades have recorded dunks in sanctioned women's college games.

Georgeann Wells of West Virginia claims the first recorded collegiate dunk, a one-handed slam off a full-court pass from a teammate in 1984. She had another a few weeks later.

The next dunk came 10 years later by Charlotte Smith of North Carolina in December 1994.

If Parker dunks, she will be the second Lady Vol to do so. Michelle Snow dunked three times in her Tennessee career.

The first was in November 2000 against Illinois at the Maui Women's Invitational. She slammed it in with two hands and hung on the rim, a move televised by Oxygen Sports Network and replayed over and over on ESPN.

Snow dunked again at the end of a win at Vanderbilt in 2001, and the final came against South Carolina in 2002. None of Snow's dunks were in Knoxville.

Parker's teammates are all for making history.

"It's going to come in a game," guard Alexis Hornbuckle said. "It will bring attention not only to her but to Tennessee as a whole. The game is not all about dunking, but it's going to bring in the fans."

Tennessee's Candace Parker goes for a dunk during a contest in Knoxville, Tenn. She could become the fourth woman ever to dunk in a college game.