Moore becomes first frosh to win Big East POY honor

First, LSU's Sylvia Fowles was named the top SEC player instead of reigning national player of the year Candace Parker.

Now, Connecticut freshman Maya Moore has done something even Huskies star Diana Taurasi didn't do.

A noteworthy awards season continued Friday when Moore made Big East history, becoming the first freshman in the league's 26-history of both men's and women's basketball to be named the conference's player of the year.

Moore, a 6-foot forward, was also the unanimous choice as the Big East freshman of the year, again the first player in league history to sweep both awards. Earlier this week, she became the first freshman -- male or female -- to win Big East player of the week honors.

Moore led UConn in scoring with 18.4 points per game in the regular season and is averaging 7.3 rebounds. In the Big East, she also shot a league-best 48.8 percent from 3-point range (39 of 80) and broke the Big East rookie single-season records for scoring average (19.6 ppg) and field goals made (123). Moore is the only player in the league to score in double digits in all 30 games this season, and holds the UConn mark for consecutive games in double figures to start a career. She has scored 551 points, passing Svetlana Abrosimova's mark of 532.

Teammate Ketia Swanier was the league's top reserve and coach Geno Auriemma shared the coach of the year award with Quentin Hillsman of Syracuse. The awards were handed out on the eve of the conference tournament.

Auriemma won his 650th game on Monday against Rutgers and guided UConn (29-1, 15-1) to its 16th regular-season championship. Hillsman led Syracuse to a 22-7 record in just his second season as head coach.

Rutgers' Essence Carson was defensive player of the year for the third straight year. Teammate Epiphanny Prince averaged almost 14 points per game as a sophomore and took home the league's award as the most improved player.

The conference sportsmanship award went to Meg Bulger of West Virginia, and its scholar-athlete award went to Allie Quigley of DePaul.

Moore is the 14th UConn player to earn Big East player of the year honors and the 10th freshman of the year, an award the Huskies have won three straight seasons.

The previous two freshman of the year, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles, joined Moore as first-team Big East selections. The rest of the first team includes Quigley, Prince and Matee Ajavon of Rutgers, Charel Allen of Notre Dame, Krystal Ellis of Marquette, Angel McCoughtry of Louisville, Olayinka Sanni of West Virginia, and Shavonte Zellous of Pittsburgh.