Moore 2nd soph to be named top player

Updated: April 5, 2009, 3:30 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ST. LOUIS -- Connecticut sophomore Maya Moore is the runaway choice as The Associated Press' college basketball player of the year.

Moore became only the second sophomore to win the award. She joins Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, who won in 2007.

She is the sixth Connecticut player to be selected as the player of the year since the award began in 1995. Her name will now hang high above the Gampel Pavilion court in Storrs with past winners Rebecca Lobo, Kara Wolters, Diana Taurasi, Jennifer Rizzotti and Sue Bird.

"It's really humbling to be mentioned in the same group as them," Moore said. "It really hasn't had time to sink in, but it's something that I know I will look back on down the road and enjoy."

Moore averaged 19.2 points and 8.9 rebounds, helping UConn to a 37-0 record and within two wins of the school's third unbeaten season. The Huskies play Stanford on Sunday night in the Final Four.

Moore was surprised to have won the award. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma hadn't wanted her to know beforehand that she was the recipient, hoping she'd have time to enjoy the moment. With her entire Connecticut team looking on at the ceremony, Moore graciously accepted the trophy.

"I wouldn't be anywhere near the player I was without the people that I play with," said Moore, who received 37 votes from the 45-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. "I'm blessed to play with such tremendous individuals."

Teammate Renee Montgomery was second in the balloting with four votes.

Moore credited coach Auriemma for helping her improve.

"He always pushes me everyday to get better," she said. "He has helped me attain levels that I didn't know I could reach."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE