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Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Updated: February 10, 5:38 PM ET
Huskies trio headlines All-Big East honors

By Beth Mowins
Special to

Editor's note: As the NCAA celebrates its 25th season of women's basketball, ESPN and are counting down the top 25 moments of NCAA Tournament history.'s experts will also name five-member, all-time all-league teams for several conferences. Here, Beth Mowins gets us started with the top players in Big East history.

The University of Connecticut has produced some of the greatest players in women's basketball history. And some could argue that the five best players ever to come out of the Big East all called Storrs, Conn., home during their collegiate careers. Though three Huskies headline's all-time All-Big East team, the squad wouldn't be complete without the league's first real superstar and an Irish center who led her team past UConn for the 2001 title.

A look at the top five players in Big East history:

Sue Bird, Connecticut '02

The point guard directed the attack for arguably the greatest college team ever as the Huskies went 39-0 to win the 2002 NCAA championship. The ultimate winner, Bird led her UConn teams to four regular-season and four Big East tournament titles under her guidance.

Rebecca Lobo, Connecticut '95

Lobo was the central figure of the 1995 national championship team that catapulted the Huskies -- and the women's game -- to new heights. She won two Big East Player of the Year honors and is still the league's career shot block leader.

Shelly Pennefather, Villanova '87

The first real superstar of the Big East Conference in the mid-1980s, Pennefather won three league titles. She also led the conference in scoring twice and won three Big East Player of the Year honors en route to 2,408 career points and a 20.5 career scoring average.

Ruth Riley, Notre Dame '01

Riley secured her place in Big East history with a record-setting senior season. In 2001, the center transformed the Irish into a powerhouse with their first Big East title, first No. 1 national ranking and ultimately the school's first NCAA championship.

Diana Taurasi, Connecticut '04

Taurasi won three national championships while establishing herself as perhaps the best player in NCAA history. She was a two-time national player of the year, often doing things on the floor that hadn't been done before.