When you're the nation's top-ranked team, and you're currently on a 28-game winning streak, it's only fitting that the all-conference squad is littered with familiar faces. On Thursday, seven members of the UConn women's team earned such honors.
Guard Moriah Jefferson, guard/forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, forward Breanna Stewart and forward Morgan Tuck were named to the American Athletic Conference first team. Kiah Stokes was named to the second team, and freshmen Kia Nurse and Gabby Williams earned all-freshman honors.
There's more: Stokes' dominating play in the paint made her the obvious choice for AAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Jefferson, who seamlessly replaced Bria Hartley at point guard, was named most improved. Meanwhile, Williams was named sixth man of the year for her role coming off UConn's bench.
More details via the press release:
Stokes becomes the fifth-ever Husky to earn a conference Defensive Player of the Year and third-straight after Stefanie Dolson grabbed the honor a season ago and Kelly Faris took home the accolade in 2012-13. Stokes (125) is just six blocks shy of Rebecca Lobo’s program single-season blocks record of 131. The senior center leads the Huskies with 7.4 rebounds in just 19.7 minutes per game. Her 5.5 defensive boards per game ranks fourth in the conference and she leads the league with 4.2 rejections per contest. ...
Jefferson’s Most Improved Player accolade is the third such award in program history and first since Faris earned the distinction in 2012-13. The Texan, who is averaging 11.7 points in 27.1 minutes per game this season, has been one of the Huskies' most consistent scoring options in In total, she ranks first on the team in assists (139) and steals (79) and is one of seven Huskies shooting over 50.0 percent from the floor (56.4).
Williams earned the Huskies’ third-ever Sixth Player of the Year nod and first since Mosqueda-Lewis in 2011-12. The freshman boasts the conference’s best field goal percentage (.633) and is averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 16.7 minutes off the bench.
"I don't get tired of [being the hunted team]," coach Geno Auriemma said, via the Hartford Courant. "It's OK because [the excellence] is something we've created. So it's not like something someone dumped on us; the responsibility of being that team. It's taken us 20 years to create this. And now that we've created it we have to deal with it. But I tend to get kids to come to UConn that want to deal with it."