March 5, 2010
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -Connecticut center Tina Charles was selected the Big East’s player of the year Friday and gave a lot of the credit to teammate Maya Moore, the reigning national player of the year.
“I know you always wanted to put an emphasis on helping make your teammates better, and that’s what you did with me,” Charles told Moore during her acceptance speech.
The award was one of several presented between sessions of the first round of the conference tournament.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma shared coach of the year honors with West Virginia’s Mike Carey. Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers is the conference’s freshman of the year.
The win for Charles, who is averaging more than 18 points and eight rebounds per game, is the third straight for UConn, and the 16th in program history. Moore, who is also averaging more than 18 points a game, took home the last two.
“The difference is that the two years previous, Maya just overwhelmed the league and everybody,” said Auriemma, who led the Huskies to a 30-0 record and an 18th regular-season conference championship. “And I think this year, Tina took over that role, and that didn’t have anything to do with what Maya didn’t do.”
A win in Sunday’s quarterfinals would give the Huskies 70 consecutive wins, tying the longest streak in women’s Division I history.
Moore, who was selected as the conference’s scholar-athlete of the year, said neither she nor Charles cares which of them gets the postseason honors.
“We are sisters,” Moore said. “And even after we graduate we will always be family and I will always be proud of Tina Charles.”
Carey has guided the No. 7 Mountaineers to a 26-4 record and 13 conference wins, the most in team history.
Rodgers, who is averaging more than 18 points per game, is the first Hoya to win the freshman award since Rebekkah Brunson in 2001. She has led the Hoyas to a 25-5 record and a No. 12 record.
“I hope this is just the beginning for the Georgetown program,” she said.