UConn's Maya Moore. Photo © Vito J. Leo for HTNP.com
The NCAA is meticulous about referring to the participants in college sports as “student-athletes,” although oftentimes as the “athlete’s” stats increase, the player’s grades don’t necessarily keep pace.
But then there’s Maya Moore, the ultimate “student-athlete” by anyone’s definition.
In addition to her second straight selection as the Big East “Player of the Year,” Moore was named to the 2009 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-America First Team.
The 6-foot, versatile forward from Georgia is almost as perfect in the classroom as she is on the court, currently maintaining a 3.74 (out of 4.00) Grade Point Average (GPA) at the University of Connecticut.
Maya was the only sophomore named to the academic first team. The other four student-athletes that made the grade come from much smaller programs than UConn, such as Liberty College and Murray State.
Moores’ achievement mark’s the sixth time a member of Coach Geno Auriemma’s team has attained Academic All-America first-team status, the most recent being Jennifer Rizzotti in 1996.
UConn's Renee Montgomery. Photo © Vito J. Leo for HTNP.com
Another UConn stalwart was also recognized for her off-the-court achievement. Senior floor leader Renee Montgomery is this year’s recipient of the Big East Sportsmanship Award, the first time a UConn player has earned this honor.
That trophy will have to share space on Renee’s mantle with the 2009 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, which the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame presents to the NCAA player 5-feet-8-inches or shorter who has performed at the top of her game, both in her sport and in her studies.
Montgomery was also chosen as a First-Team All-Star by the Big East, an honor bestowed on her for the third year in row.
She now shares that accomplishment with Diana Taurasi, Svetlana Abrosimova, Kerry Bascom and Rebecca Lobo.
It’s no wonder that with credentials like these, a few weeks ago Renee became the first UConn player inducted into the “Huskies of Honor” – while still playing college ball.
Joining Montgomery and Moore as unanimous first-stringers on the league’s All-Star team is UConn junior Tina Charles, who was also named to the Big East Tournament All-Star team – along with Kalana Greene and Moore, who was named the tournament’s Outstanding Player.
And in a good sign for the future, Tiffany Hayes was named to the All-Big East freshman team.
Coach Auriemma also earned an award for guiding his team of All-Stars to a thus-far undefeated season. He shares the league’s 2009 “Coach of the Year” honors with Harry Perretta of Villanova.
Posted April 7, 2009