Moore of the same
UConn junior Maya Moore repeats as ESPN.com's preseason player of the year
Don't stop us if you've heard this before.
It's not that we can't come up with more complimentary and flowery things to say about Connecticut junior Maya Moore. It's just that in naming her ESPN.com's unanimous preseason player of the year for the second straight season, anything we have to say seems a little redundant. And not at all surprising.
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Moore, a 6-foot junior forward, remains simply the best player in women's college basketball. She lived up to the label last season, leading the Huskies to a 39-0 record and the program's sixth national title.
Moore's skill set and on-court savvy continue to elevate her above her peers. And while she continues to refine every aspect of her game, the 20-year-old's maturity is perhaps the most impressive.
"There are presumably times when Maya Moore looks and acts like someone born just five months before the fall of the Berlin Wall," writes ESPN.com's Graham Hays. "But those times do not seem to come on or around a basketball court. Of all the things that set her apart from every other college player in the country, none may be as striking as the maturity with which she plays."
"They have different personalities, for sure, but Moore and former UConn star Diana Taurasi are much alike in their ability to do everything so well that their dependability almost comes to be taken for granted," Mechelle Voepel writes. "Moore doesn't have that outward joyful swagger like Taurasi, but she's just as intense a competitor."
Last season, More led UConn in scoring (19.6 ppg) and steals (1.9 spg), tied for the lead in rebounding (8.9 rpg) and was second in assists (3.3 apg) and blocks (1.5 bpg). In other words, Voepel adds, "She was everywhere, all the time."
And seemingly always in the right place.
"Defensively she plays the passing lanes like a snake ready to pounce yet is rarely out of position," Charlie Creme writes. "And she's smooth and efficient offensively as anyone the game has ever seen.
Moore's ability to do it again, in addition to embracing a bigger leadership role, will determine whether the Huskies can repeat as national champions.
"With Renee Montgomery's leadership no longer an anchor for UConn, there is more emphasis on yet another quality Moore has: staying calm no matter how much pressure is on," Voepel adds. "UConn is so good, the Huskies aren't likely to be tested all that often. But when they are, Moore will keep her composure."
ESPN.com women's basketball editor Melanie Jackson and columnists Graham Hays, Mechelle Voepel and Charlie Creme contributed to this report.