LOS ANGELES – The University of Connecticut’s Maya Moore was named the 2009 Wooden Award winner as the college basketball player of the year at The Los Angeles Athletic Club this afternoon. Caryl Levy, the Chairman of The Los Angeles Athletic Club Board of Governors, made the announcement and presented Moore with the unique Wooden Award trophy that represents Coach Wooden’s ideal basketball player.
A finalist and Wooden All American a year ago as a freshman, Moore led Connecticut to a dream undefeated season in 2009, capped off by a win over Louisville in the NCAA title game on Tuesday. The 6-0 forward was the Big East Player of the Year in averaging 21.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 2.3 blocks. Moore recorded 20-plus points 15 times and registered 16 double-doubles this season. In a storied program, Moore became the fastest player in Husky history to reach the 1,000-point milestone. Among her accolades this season were being named to the All-Tournament team at the Final Four, being chosen Most Outstanding Player of the Trenton Regional and being selected an Academic All-American by ESPN.
In the Wooden Award voting, Moore finished with 176 points, followed by Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris (133 points), Angel McCoughtry of Louisville (101), Connecticut’s Renee Montgomery (97) and Maryland’s Kristi Toliver (68). Moore and Paris, a four-time Wooden All American, attended the announcement, as did Moore’s head coach, Geno Auriemma. In addition to the Player of the Year Award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club also presented Texas Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Barnes with the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor. The men’s award will be presented later this afternoon.
Balloting by more than 300 members of the media and college basketball experts was conducted through the games of the Sweet 16. Voters selected 5 players for the Wooden All-America team from the 19 student-athletes listed on the ballot, and ranked them from 1 to 10. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason, as well as a player’s character and academic performance. All players on the ballot were certified as maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA at their current school, including the most recent semester.
Moore joins a distinguished group of Wooden Award winners, including Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Larry Bird (Indiana State), Candace Parker (Tennessee), Seimone Augustus (LSU). Moore is the first sophomore to win the Award and the first Connecticut player to be honored.