March 5, 2010
HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut senior Tina Charles caps off a stellar women’s basketball career earning the league’s highest honor with 2009-10 BIG EAST Player of the Year accolades.
UConn head coach Geno Auriemma shares the BIG EAST Coach of the Year award with West Virginia bench leader Mike Carey, and Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers is tabbed BIG EAST Freshman of the Year. The awards are announced in conjunction with the 2010 BIG EAST Championship Presented by New York Life Insurance Company first-round games at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. The league’s 16 head coaches voted on the selections, and were not permitted to vote for their own players.
In addition, University of Connecticut forward Maya Moore, a two-time all-America selection for the nation’s top-ranked team, has been chosen the 2009-10 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The selection was made by the Conference’s Academic Affairs Committee.
Charles is the 16th Connecticut student-athlete and the third straight to earn BIG EAST Player of the Year honors. Charles, a senior center, has been a dominant force since leading Connecticut to its sixth NCAA Championship a year ago. SHe averaged a team-best 18.9 points in conference play, and finished second in the league in scoring. An accurate shooter, Charles shot 66.8 percent from the field, making 127-of-190 baskets, good for first in the league, and ranked second in blocked shots (2.5 bpg) and fourth in rebounding (9.3 rpg).
Charles recently had a record-setting week in a Connecticut uniform as she helped lead the Huskies to their fourth straight BIG EAST regular-season title. The senior center broke the all-time scoring and rebounding records in the Huskies’ regular-season finale on March 1. Charles stands with 2,184 points and 1,272 rebounds for her career. This season, the center earned BIG EAST Player of the Week honors six times, putting her second on the all-time BIG EAST Player of the Week single-season list, matching Rebecca Lobo of UConn and Rebekkah Brunson of Georgetown. A national player of the year candidate, Charles is up for the Naismith Award, Wooden Award and the Wade Trophy, while she was named a unanimous selection to the All-BIG EAST First Team.
Auriemma shares BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for the third straight year and wins the award for the ninth time. No. 1/1 Connecticut earned its 18th outright regular-season championship in 2009-10, went undefeated in league play for the eighth time in program history and became the 10th league team to accomplish the feat. The Huskies are chasing their own NCAA-record win streak of 70 games, which can be tied in the quarterfinal game of the BIG EAST Championship on March 7. UConn has been ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press for 41 straight weeks, a poll record.
A junior from Lawrenceville, Ga., Moore will receive a $2,000 scholarship, which may be applied to graduate or professional studies. She is the fifth Connecticut player to earn the honor.
Moore is the most decorated active women’s basketball player in the nation as she completes her junior season. She was the consensus 2008-09 national player of the year after winning the Wade Trophy, the Wooden Award and the Naismith Trophy, while earning top individual honors from the Associated Press and United States Basketball Writers Association. She has been the BIG EAST Player of the Year in each of her first two seasons, was named a team captain as a sophomore, while setting Connecticut’s single-season scoring record last year (754 points) as part of the Huskies’ undefeated NCAA championship run.
As a junior, Moore enters the 2010 BIG EAST Championship Presented by New York Life Insurance Company as the leading scorer in the conference after helping the Huskies to their fourth straight BIG EAST regular-season title. As an individualized major with a 3.70 grade-point average, she was named the 2010 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America of the Year in women’s basketball and has been chosen to the Academic All-America first team in each of her two eligible seasons. Moore’s community service efforts include frequent visits to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as well as participation in a telethon to raise funds for patient care.
The BIG EAST Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award is one of a number of scholarships presented by the BIG EAST Conference during the 2009-10 academic year. In addition, 32 student-athletes (one male and one female from each of the BIG EAST’s 16 member institutions) will receive postgraduate scholarships as the winners of their respective institutions’ Scholar-Athlete Award. The conference also names a BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The winners of the institutional, basketball and football awards are then eligible for the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, which provides an additional postgraduate scholarship to one male and one female student-athlete.
Carey earns BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for the second time, the first coming in 2004-05. West Virginia grabbed the No. 2 seed in the 2010 BIG EAST Championship after finishing the conference season with a 13-3 mark, the most league wins in program history. WVU is currently 26-4 overall, tying a school record for wins in a season. The Mountaineers strung together an 18-game winning streak from Nov. 24 to Feb. 2, when they fell at top-ranked Connecticut. All four of West Virginia’s losses came on the road, and three of them were against teams ranked in the top five. West Virginia is currently ranked No. 7 nationally in both major polls, its highest ranking in program history.
Rodgers becomes the third Georgetown player to earn BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honors and the first since WNBA standout Rebekkah Brunson (2000-01). The guard finished her rookie season third in the league and first on her team in scoring, averaging 18.2 points in 16 conference games. She was in double figures in all but one conference game and hit the 20-point plateau on seven occasions. Rodgers led the team with 34 steals, 45 3-pointers and 31.8 minutes per game in league action. Named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week five times, Rodgers was also named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll three times. She started in all but one conference game, senior day, when the Hoyas topped then-No. 4/T3 Notre Dame for their biggest win in program history. Rodgers had a game-high 24 points.
The All-BIG EAST First Team, Second Team, Honorable Mention, along with the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man Award, Sportsmanship Award and Most Improved Players were announced prior to the start of the 2010 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Championship on March 4.
The BIG EAST is the largest and most diverse Division I conference in the country. It was formed in 1979 and represents the athletic interests of 16 member institutions including the University of Cincinnati, University of Connecticut, DePaul University, Georgetown University, University of Louisville, Marquette University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, Rutgers University, St. John’s University, Seton Hall University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University, Villanova University and West Virginia University. The BIG EAST Conference has captured 27 national championships in six different sports and is a founding member of the Bowl Championship Series. For more information on the Conference and its membership, please visit www.bigeast.org.
2009-10 BIG EAST WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON HONORS
BIG EAST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Tina Charles, Connecticut (Sr., Center, Jamaica, N.Y.)
BIG EAST FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown (Fr., Guard, Suffolk, Va.)
BIG EAST COACHES OF THE YEAR
Geno Auriemma, Connecticut (25th season at UConn)
Mike Carey, West Virginia (Ninth season at WVU)
BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athletes of the Year
1984-85 Leigh Curl Connecticut
1985-86 Joan Powers Providence
1986-87 Kathy Sweet Boston College
1987-88 Vera Jones Syracuse
1988-89 Geraldine Santilius Seton Hall
1989-90 Angela Alston Syracuse
1990-91 Carla Wenger Boston College
1991-92 Wendy Davis Connecticut
1992-93 Erin Kenneally Syracuse
1993-94 Rebecca Lobo Connecticut
1994-95 Rebecca Lobo Connecticut
1995-96 Jennifer Rizzotti Connecticut
1996-97 Kristyn Cook Syracuse
1997-98 Raquel Nurse Syracuse
1998-99 Rebecca Burbridge West Virginia
1999-2000 Cal Bouchard Boston College
2000-01 Ruth Riley Notre Dame
2001-02 Nicole Conway Boston College
2002-03 Alicia Ratay Notre Dame
2003-04 Courtney Mix Villanova
2004-05 Ashley Bush Seton Hall
2005-06 Megan Duffy Notre Dame
2006-07 Jenna Rubino DePaul
2007-08 Allie Quigley DePaul
2008-09 Jill Stephens Cincinnati
2009-10 Maya Moore Connecticut