NEW ORLEANS – Notre Dames Muffet McGraw is the Associated Press womens basketball coach of the year again.
McGraw, who also won the award in 2001, received 24 votes and was presented with the award Saturday. Baylors Brittney Griner won the player of the year award for a second straight season.
McGraw did one of her best coaching jobs this season, getting the Irish back to the Final Four for a third straight year. Notre Dame (35-1) plays Connecticut (33-4) in the NCAA tournaments semifinals today.
Shes well deserving of the award this year with what we lost, Irish guard Skylar Diggins said. To keep us winning like this, that means a lot. Shes a great person and knows how to win and motivate her players to give their all for her. When you have someone who cares about you, youll do anything.
Last years winner, Griners coach Kim Mulkey, was second with seven votes. Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who guided the Golden Bears to their first Final Four, was third.
Its certainly an honor and truly a staff award, McGraw said. I got the best staff in womens basketball and we definitely are a great team.
McGraw became the second coach to win it multiple times. She joined UConns Geno Auriemma, a seven-time recipient.
McGraw wasnt alone in collecting awards.
Diggins was named the winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is presented to the nations top point guard, for a second year in a row, and she was named to the Womens Basketball Coaches Association All-American team.
Diggins was joined on the WBCAs All-American team by fellow guard Kayla McBride.
Griner is just the third player to earn the AP award in consecutive years, joining Seimone Augustus of LSU and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee. Connecticuts Maya Moore won it twice in a three-year span.
Those names are pretty big; to have my name in there is an honor, Griner said.
The three-time All-American got 37 votes from the 40-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Stanfords Chiney Ogwumike received two votes while Diggins earned the other.
Griner helped hand McGraws team its only loss of the season in early December.
The Irish havent lost since, winning a school record 30 straight games. Thats not bad for a team that graduated three starters from last season.
I think shes one of the best players to play the game, McGraw said. She definitely has been a really dominating presence in every way.
Griner averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks this season. She shot 61 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line.
Griner was the second all-time scorer in womens NCAA history, with 3,283 points. She is the top shot blocker ever, shattering both the mens and womens college marks with 748.