- Associated Press - Saturday, April 2, 2011

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.”

Auriemma shared coach of the year honors with Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer and Miami’s Katie Meier, marking the first time ever that an AP college award has had a tie.

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.”

While Auriemma has an office full of AP trophies, Meier and VanDerveer won for the first time. He was shocked to learn it was the first for the longtime Stanford coach.

“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.

VanDerveer has Stanford back in the Final Four for the fourth straight year and this time she hopes to end the Cardinal’s 19-year championship drought.

“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.”

VanDerveer’s team ended UConn’s record 90-game winning streak on Dec. 30 and went 33-2 on the season.

“I’m very honored and know that it’s more what you do on the court,” VanDerveer said. “Because you have an award you need to earn it every day and help them be the best they can be.”

Meier helped guide Miami to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title a year after finishing in last place in the conference. She then led the Hurricanes to their first NCAA tournament win since 1993 before falling to Oklahoma.

“I’m very touched in the sense it’s a heck of a lot more meaningful with two of the best coaches who ever coached,” she said.

Meier was recruited out of high school by Auriemma when he was an assistant at Virginia. She fondly remembers that first meeting.

“He came to my living room and then went to school with me,” she said. “I remember my friends asking who that cute guy was.”

Meier ended up going to Duke.