UConn wants Moore in Indy
Huskies seek another title while senior claims more awards
The best women’s basketball players in the nation are in Indianapolis to decide the 2011 NCAA Championship, but there’s no denying who is the star of the show. And, deservedly so.
Connecticut senior forward Maya Moore has led the Huskies to a 150-3 record, two NCAA Championships and four consecutive Final Four appearances during her career, and was announced the first three-time Wade Trophy recipient. Moore and the Huskies will be battling for a third consecutive title beginning with a semifinal match-up with Notre Dame on Sunday night.
The native of Lawrenceville, Ga., paces the Huskies in scoring (22.5 ppg), rebounds (8.2 rpg) and field goal percentage (.526), and is a First-Team All-America selection for the fourth year in a row. Moore’s résumé is lengthy, and undoubtedly puts her near or at the top of the list of all-time greats in women’s college basketball. She is mentioned in the same conversations as USC’s Cheryl Miller and Connecticut’s Diana Taurasi, who both led their teams to multiple NCAA titles and were twice named Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
On Saturday afternoon, Moore was selected as the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner, honoring the most outstanding senior student-athlete, who has notable achievements in four areas -- community, classroom, character and competition. She carries a 3.7 GPA in an individualized major of sports media promotion, and is a three-time Academic All-America and was recently named the Capital One University Division All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America for the second-consecutive year.
At both the Wade Trophy press conference, and the Senior CLASS Award announcement, her teammates burst into cheers for their senior leader.
“I love how my team celebrates the things I do more than I do,” Moore said.
“I think she's the very best,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I don't think there's anybody better. I think that she is an amazing player in every facet of the game. I think she works extremely hard. She's really well-respected. She's a great student. I think when you look at the overall package I don't think there's ever been a player that's better than her.”
|UConn's Journey to the Final Four|
HOW THEY GOT HERE: No. 1 UConn defeated No. 16 Hartford 75-39; No. 9 Purdue 64-40; No. 5 Georgetown 68-63; No. 2 Duke 75-40.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Freshman point guard Bria Hartley, the 2001 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, is averaging 12.5 points per game, and has posted a 13.3 scoring average in four NCAA Tournament games. However, Hartley will have to limit her turnovers after committing five in each of the last three contests.
DID YOU KNOW? UConn has won 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament games, dating back to the 2009 season. The Huskies last loss in the NCAA Tournament was to Stanford in the 2008 semifinals.
This season, she has directed a short-handed team that rotates just six players, and has two freshmen as key contributors.
“You'd be hard pressed to find somebody that went to four Final Fours, won two national championships, scored 3,000 points, was First-Team All-American four years in a row and led a team of a bunch of young people that have no other All-Americans to the Final Four and played a schedule that we played and won as many games as we did and played as well as she did in all those big games,” Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma said.
But where Moore fits into women’s college basketball history is not a conversation that Auriemma has with his star player too often.
“I don't get to hear it a whole lot,” Moore said. “I think our coaching staff and just as a program as a whole does a really good job of making sure that we're always staying hungry, always aware of the shortcomings in our team and as players individually so we're always working on something, always striving to be better at something in practice, and our coaches do a good job also making sure that when game time comes we're confident and we're ready to go and we know we're prepared.”
Moore’s drive to be the best in all of her endeavors has made quite an impression on her teammates, especially the freshmen as they look to replicate just a fraction of her accomplishments.
“Maya is a great player,” UConn freshman point guard Bria Hartley said. “You see her breaking all these records, 3,000 points, a three-time Wade Trophy winner. She just has a great winning edge and is so competitive out there and if there is anything she is not good at it, she will get better at it. That is a great quality to have and she is just such a hard worker, and she proves it every day. You look at her work ethic and her competitiveness and you just try to follow in her footsteps and know that if you do those things, you will always be your best out there.”
Moore is averaging 19.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in her four NCAA Tournament contests this season, leading the Huskies in both categories.
“When you're a senior you want your last game to be on a win, and winning a national championship,” Moore said. “So as great as it is to make it to the Final Four, I'm not satisfied … until we can win a national championship, and that starts tomorrow.”
“We’re going to miss her, but she’s not done yet,” Auriemma said.