UConn, PSU players share top honor
LOS ANGELES -- Schmoozing with President Barack Obama has become a regular occurrence for Connecticut forward Maya Moore.
Moore and her Huskies teammates met with Obama for a second straight year in May after the team won its second consecutive NCAA championship.
"We haven't lost a game since he came into office," Moore said. "He made sure we remembered that."
Moore reached another milestone Monday when she and Penn State outside hitter Megan Hodge were named winners of the Honda-Broderick Cup.
The two were surprised to learn they both earned the award, which is given to the nation's top female college athlete, during a ceremony at UCLA. It was only the second time the award has been given to two athletes in the same year. Southern California basketball standout Cheryl Miller and Florida swimmer Tracy Caulkins were co-winners in 1984.
"I wasn't really expecting it," Moore said. "You always think there's going to be one winner, but I really think it's more special when you can share it with somebody else and the fact that we both come from team sports, it's an honor."
Moore and Hodge were chosen over a third finalist, Iowa State track and field star Lisa Koll.
Moore, a three-time AP All-American was named the Final Four's most outstanding player. As a junior, she averaged 18.9 points per game and 8.9 rebounds and finished last season with 736 points, the second most in school history for a single season.
Moore's efforts helped the Huskies to an unprecedented 78 straight victories over two seasons. Named the Big East scholar athlete of the year, Moore was a Wooden Award finalist and had a 3.85 GPA.
She is the third UConn basketball player to receive the Honda-Broderick Cup, following in the footsteps of Rebecca Lobo (1995) and Jennifer Rizzotti (1996).
In four years at Penn State, Hodge amassed a 142-5 record and finished her career with 2,142 kills to become only the second player in school history with more than 2,000.
She guided the Nittany Lions to their third straight NCAA title in 2009 and second straight undefeated season. Hodge led the Big Ten and was eighth in the nation with an average of 4.67 kills per set and was second on the team with 295 digs (2.46 per set). She was named the 2009 Big Ten and Division I national player of the year.
Hodge is the first player from Penn State to earn the award. She was awed when watching a video montage that showed each previous winner since the award was first presented in 1977.
"Just to win the award is an honor and was very unexpected," Hodge said. "It means a lot to my university and family.
"This ranks right up there. I just think it's awesome for me to be grouped in that category [with the other winners] now."
Louisiana Tech track star Antoinette Cobb received the Honda Inspiration Award. After missing her sophomore season with colon cancer, Cobb returned to win four WAC titles her junior and senior years and finished her career as the seventh-best 100-meter hurdler in the country.
Concordia University setter Maggie McNamara was named the Division II athlete of the year and Bethel University track and field standout Marie Bonner was named the Division III athlete of the year.
Hodge is representing the U.S. national team in the Pan-American Cup and will play professionally in Italy this winter.
Moore will be a senior at UConn in the fall and looks forward to mentoring the Huskies' five incoming freshmen.
"I'm just trying to make sure they're ready for the first day of practice right now," Moore said with a laugh. "I'm at a point in my career where I feel ready to be a senior, ready to be challenged in new way, so I'm excited."
Despite the inexperience of the team, Moore didn't rule out the possibility of a three-peat.
"Anything is possible," Moore said. "We're trying to see President Obama every year. That's the goal."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press