I want to be careful here, because I sure don’t want to say anything that casts Connecticut sophomore forward Maya Moore in anything but a positive light. Moore won the Big East Player of the Year award for the second straight year, it was announced today. And she is certainly deserving.
But so is University of Louisville senior Angel McCoughtry. And by not voting McCoughtry at least a share of the award, Big East coaches have made an embarrassing omission.
McCoughtry was named defensive player of the year. She is the league’s leading rebounder. And she also leads the league in scoring. If you are the league’s best defender, rebouner and scorer, I don’t see how you’re not player of the year.
Unless it’s that you don’t play for Connecticut.
The Huskies’ women’s basketball team is the most dominant program in college basketball right now. I can’t argue with Geno Auriemma being coach of the year. Who could? This could well be one of the great women’s teams of all time. But again, Louisville coach Jeff Walz led his team to a clear second-place finish in the league and kept his team in the top 10 in all but the first week of the conference season, all after losing his starting center and breaking in a new point guard who few thought could play the position effectively.
But this is about McCoughtry. She stayed four years. She was not a good ambassador for women’s and Big East basketball — she was a great one. She’s going to go on to a professional career and might well be the top player taken in the WNBA Draft, though that has no bearing on a college award.
And then there’s this. Moore plays with a group of prep blue-chippers. McCoughtry plays with a great supporting cast, but nobody has what UConn has. McCoughtry not only put up better numbers than Moore in just about every category, but had to lead a team through adversity to maintain a spot in the top 10 that few thought it would hold after the preseason injury of Chauntise Wright. While Moore is the top talent for the Huskies, but she was not her team’s floor leader — that was Renee Montgomery.
Moore’s fantastic. She’s the first player to win Big East player of the year twice.
McCoughtry should have been. Or at least have shared the honor. The 43 points she scored against Providence this season were the most ever scored in a Big East women’s game.
McCoughtry was Big East player of the week seven times in 15 weeks. But she can’t be player of the year? Seven weeks McCoughtry was judged to be the Big East’s best player. Moore won the honor once.
I hate discussions like this with two players who are so good. But I can’t make sense of it.
Moore is a great player. But the league did not do McCoughtry justice on this one.