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Monday, June 27, 2011
Maya Moore named top NCAA female athlete

By Amanda Rykoff

NEW YORK -- Adding to an already impressive legacy, including two NCAA championships, four Final Four appearances and a 150-4 collegiate record, former UConn women's basketball star Maya Moore made history again Monday afternoon when she won the Honda-Broderick Cup as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

Moore joins swimmer Tracy Caulkins (1982 and 1984) as the only athletes to win the prestigious award twice in its 35-year history and becomes the first back-to-back winner. Moore is no stranger to the spotlight, having starred at UConn for four years and been selected the top overall pick in this year's WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx.

At the awards ceremony, hosted by ESPN's Sage Steele at Columbia University's Low Library, Moore spoke of her faith and thanked her family, her UConn teammates and coach Geno Auriemma as she accepted the award live via satellite from Minneapolis.

"I'm just feeling excitement for this moment and realizing what this means in the history of women's sports," Moore said. "It's just so cool to be able to share this with the world."

Moore was honored not only for her athletic resume -- she's a four-time All-American and the fourth-leading scorer in NCAA history -- but for her impressive academic record, as well. She finished with a 3.669 grade-point average at UConn and earned a degree in sports media and promotion.

The ceremony also honored the other finalists: volleyball player Blair Brown of Penn State and distance runner Sheila Reid of Villanova. Brown graduated in December 2010 after leading the Nittany Lions to their fourth straight NCAA volleyball championship. Reid became the first woman in NCAA history to win both the 1,500- and 5,000-meter races at the NCAA outdoor championships in the same year.

Field hockey player Sammy Macy of the University of Massachusetts Lowell was honored as the Division II athlete of the year. Amherst College swimming standout Kendra Stern won the Division III award.

In a separate ceremony Sunday night at New York's Hemsley Park Lane Hotel, former University of North Carolina basketball star and current New York Liberty player Jessica Breland was honored with the annual Honda Inspiration Award. Breland was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009 and successfully beat the disease to return to the court for the 2010-11 season. Breland credited her faith, thanked her friends, family and teammates for their support during her battle, and pledged to use her success story to help others facing similar challenges.