INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Maya Moore is in a class by herself. Her coach will have to share his award.
Moore is The Associated Press player of the year once again, becoming the third two-time winner when she was honored on Saturday.
“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We’re fortunate to have had her.”
Moore, who joined Seimone Augustus of LSU and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee as the only two-time winners, also received the award as a sophomore. She finished second in the voting her freshman and junior years.
The four-time All-American got 37 of the votes from the 39-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Baylor’s Brittney Griner received the other two votes.
Moore powered UConn back to the Final Four for the fourth straight season, putting the Huskies in position for a third straight title. That would match their run from 2002-04 and Tennessee’s dominance from 1996-98.
“To see what she’s done this year as the lone All-American on the team which starts two freshmen and a sophomore is really remarkable,” Auriemma said.
It’s the seventh time since the award was first given in 1995 that a Connecticut player won.
Auriemma won his seventh coach of the year award, including three of the past four seasons. The three coaches each received 10 votes with Doug Bruno of DePaul finishing fourth in the balloting with three votes.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have some really good players playing for me,” Auriemma said. “This season is really special considering what we lost to graduation.”
“It’s hard for me to believe that this is the first one because there’s been some unbelievable accomplishments by Stanford and the consistency they’ve enjoyed over the years. If this is her first this is long overdue,” he said.
“For us to be going back it’s thrilling,” she said. “We took an 11-year hibernation. We call this our renaissance. We never take it for granted.”