Moore unanimous preseason All-American for second time

Connecticut’s Maya Moore, shown dribbling around cones during a drill in the Huskies’ First Night workout Oct. 15 in Storrs, Conn., was a unanimous choice for the AP preseason All-America team.

Connecticut’s Maya Moore, shown dribbling around cones during a drill in the Huskies’ First Night workout Oct. 15 in Storrs, Conn., was a unanimous choice for the AP preseason All-America team. Photo by The Associated Press.

Maya Moore has proven throughout her career at Connecticut she is in a class by herself.

On Tuesday, the UConn senior became the second player to be a two-time unanimous choice on the Associated Press’ women’s basketball preseason All-America team, receiving all 40 votes from a national media panel.

“Wow, that is really something special,” said Moore, who joined Duke’s Alana Beard in that select club. “It’s such an honor.”

Moore was joined on the preseason squad by Baylor’s Brittney Griner (36 votes), Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike (34), Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender (21) and Oklahoma’s Danielle Robinson (18).

Moore has already made the postseason All-America team in her first three years and was the AP’s player of the year as a sophomore. She averaged 18.9 points and 8.3 rebounds last season in helping UConn to a second straight 39-0 record. The Huskies are again No. 1 in the preseason poll.

“I would be hard-pressed to find somebody who’s had a better career than that at Connecticut, or anywhere else for that matter,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

Last season, Moore became the seventh unanimous choice, joining Courtney Paris, Chamique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi, Beard, Seimone Augustus and Candace Parker. Moore also became the fifth three-time selection on the preseason team, which began in 1994.

Griner may be the next member of that group. She burst onto the national scene last season as a freshman. She broke the NCAA record for blocks and helped Baylor reach the Final Four. The 6-foot-8 star changes the game on both ends of the court.

“I thought she handled herself beautifully as a freshman,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “She’s a better offensive rebounder, has gotten stronger and understands the intensity level that you need at this level.”

Griner is only the second Baylor player ever to earn preseason honors, joining Sophia Young in 2005.

Ogwumike led Stanford to the national championship game last season. She scored 38 points in the semifinal win over Oklahoma and averaged 18.5 on the season, earning Pac-10 player of the year honors. The junior had 9.9 rebounds per game.

“This is well-deserved recognition for Nneka to be named a preseason All-American,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “Nneka is a great leader and unselfish team player here at Stanford, and she has only continued to improve heading into her junior season.”

Robinson averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 assists as a junior last season. The 5-9 guard shot 84 percent from the free throw line and 47 percent from the field.

“She’s grown leaps and bounds over the last few years where she wants to take the last few shots,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said.

“She’s done a great job in the offseason increasing her range and also has been a great leader working with the younger players showing them what it takes to become a better player.”

Lavender averaged 21.4 points and 10.3 rebounds in helping Ohio State to a 31-5 record and another Big Ten title. It’s the second straight season Lavender was honored as a preseason All-America.

“That is some team,” said Coale, whose Sooners will play against three of the All-Americans this season. “The length they have covering the court and the talent. That is some group.”

Moore and Lavender were the only returning members of last season’s All-America team. Griner and Ogwumike earned second-team honors while Robinson was on the third team.

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