NEW YORK (AP) — Connecticut forward Maya Moore, the Big East's top player the last three seasons, was once again the coaches' choice as the league's preseason player of the year on Thursday.
Moore averaged 18.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in guiding UConn to a 39–0 record and a seventh national championship. She was joined as an unanimous selection on the all–conference team by teammate Tiffany Hayes.
Even though Moore and Hayes are the only two returning starters from last season's team, the Huskies were picked by the Big East coaches to win the conference for a fifth straight year.
UConn will have to rely on a strong freshman class — led by preseason rookie of the year Bria Hartley — to continue its unprecedented streak of 78–straight wins.
West Virginia, which received one first–place vote, was second. The Mountaineers have their entire starting five back from last season's team that lost to UConn in the conference tournament championship. They were followed by Georgetown, Notre Dame, St. John's, DePaul, Rutgers, and Louisville.
Syracuse, Marquette, South Florida, Providence, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Cincinnati, and Seton Hall rounded out the poll.
Seton Hall will be guided by first–year coach Anne Donovan. The New Jersey native helped lead the New York Liberty to the Eastern Conference finals this past WNBA season.
Skylar Diggins of Notre Dame and Sugar Rodgers of Georgetown were the only other unanimous selections on the 11–person all–conference team.
The others on the team are Keisha Hampton of DePaul, Sarah Miles and Liz Repella of West Virginia, Monique Reid of Louisville, Angel Robinson of Marquette, and Shenneika Smith and Da'Shena Stevens of St. John's.