Commentary

What could be Moore unanimous?

UConn sophomore Maya Moore tabbed ESPN.com's player of the year

Updated: March 13, 2009, 4:52 PM ET
By ESPN.com

Great players make fans cheer. Transcendent players make them gasp.

[+] EnlargeMaya Moore
David Butler II/US PresswireConnecticut sophomore Maya Moore is ESPN.com's unanimous pick for player of the year.

"And even if it's an unofficial stat, Maya Moore leads the nation in gasps induced," writes ESPN.com columnist Graham Hays. "Moore is the most complete offensive player in the college game, and yet by dint of her defense and work ethic, she could dominate a game without taking a shot -- not that Geno Auriemma would ever let that happen."

No, but everything that has happened at Connecticut this season has revolved around Moore, a 6-foot sophomore forward who is ESPN.com's Player of the Year.

"Moore's sophomore season proved her ability to elevate an already pretty airtight game," ESPN.com columnist Mechelle Voepel writes. "This year, her defense has become even more energized and dynamic, her ability to run the court is sharper, and her leadership skills -- which complement, not compete with, senior Renee Montgomery -- more valuable."

The Huskies are 33-0, have topped the Top 25 polls since the preseason, have beaten three top-five foes by at least 28 points apiece and are just six victories away from capping the fifth perfect season in Division I women's basketball history.

Yes, UConn's starting lineup is littered with former high school All-Americans, and three players helped comprise our 10-member All-America teams (see below). But Moore remains at the heart of the Huskies' success.

"The Huskies shook off the decision of prized recruit Elena Delle Donne not to come to UConn. They dealt with the loss of another freshman, Caroline Doty, to a knee injury. They seamlessly replaced the important, if understated, contributions of last season's senior class," Voepel adds. "And they have answered any and all challenges thus far. Maya Moore's leadership and steady personality are essential to UConn handling all of that."

Moore and Montgomery were both unanimous selections to ESPN.com's five-member first-team All-America team.

A look at the squads, as voted on by Voepel, Hays, Bracketologist Charlie Creme and ESPN.com women's basketball editor Melanie Jackson (stats through games played as of March 11; * denotes unanimous pick):

ESPN.COM'S ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM
Players Credentials
Rebecca Lobo

DeWanna Bonner*, Auburn, 6-4, senior, guard

Stats: 21.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.8 spg, 1.7 bpg, 1.5 apg, 48 percent from field

"DeWanna Bonner's all-around game and ability to score inside and out have been the key to Auburn's rebirth. She combines unusual length with a guard skill set and is one of the best finishers on the break in the game today." -- Charlie Creme

Angel McCoughtry

Angel McCoughtry*, Louisville, 6-1, senior, forward

Stats: 23.5 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.4 spg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 bpg, 45 percent from field

"When you think of Louisville women's basketball, chances are you think of Angel McCoughtry. And that's not a bad legacy to leave. She closed out her career doing what she always did on the court -- scoring and ball hawking better than just about anyone in the country. But the team's 'crazy aunt' has also done her best work as a leader this season for a young team." -- Graham Hays

Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery*, Connecticut, 5-7, senior, guard

Stats: 15.8 ppg, 5.2 apg, 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio, 1.9 rpg, 1.5 spg, 44 percent from field, 37 percent from 3-point range

"For all the progress Connecticut's football program has made in recent seasons, the best quarterback in Storrs remains Renee Montgomery. Her tangible contributions are immense, from team highs in assists and 3-pointers to a gaudy assist-to-turnover ratio, and yet those All-American numbers pale in comparison to her intangible contributions and competitiveness." -- Graham Hays

Maya Moore

Maya Moore, Connecticut*, 6-0, sophomore, forward

Stats: 19.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.6 bpg, 53 percent from field, 40 percent from 3-point range

"No player does more things great at the most important times as smoothly as Maya Moore. She creates and finishes on equally high levels. Same for the way she shoots and rebounds or defends at the rim and on the perimeter. If she was able to concentrate on one particular area of her game, she'd instantly be the best at it." -- Charlie Creme

Courtney Paris

Courtney Paris, Oklahoma, 6-4, senior, center

Stats: 16.1 ppg, 13.7 rpg, 1.6 apg, 2.6 bpg, 59 percent from the field

"Nobody has pulled down rebounds like Courtney Paris, the all-time Division I career leader. Paris' double-double streak ended this season at a preposterous 112 in a row, when she scored nine points in the Sooners' win over Tennessee. She had another nine-point game, against Kansas, and once her rebounds dipped below double digits, too (eight at Oklahoma State). But those are the only dents you'll find in a remarkable career of consistency, power and production from Paris. She also has become a better passer out of the post and a more reliable defender for the Sooners." -- Mechelle Voepel

ESPN.COM'S ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM
Jayne Appel
Stanford
Tina Charles
Connecticut
Marissa Coleman
Maryland
Epiphanny Prince
Rutgers
Kristi Toliver
Maryland
Jayne Appel Tina Charles Marissa Coleman Epiphanny Prince Kristi Toliver
6-4, jr., F/C
15.4 ppg
9.1 rpg
3.0 apg
6-4, jr., C
16.1 ppg
8.3 rpg
1.6 bpg
6-1, sr., G/F
17.7 ppg
8.1 rpg
3.4 apg
5-9, jr., G
19.2 ppg
4.8 rpg
2.7 spg
5-7, sr., G
18.4 ppg
5.0 apg
3.4 rpg

Also nominated: Kristi Cirone, Illinois State; Jantel Lavender, Ohio State; Ashley Walker, California