UConn’s Walker, Auriemma are AAC player, coach of the year

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              Connecticut's Megan Walker (3) looks to shoot as South Florida's Shae Leverett (21) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, March 2, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — UConn junior Megan Walker was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year on Friday, an award won by a Huskies player in each of the league’s seven seasons.

Her coach, Geno Auriemma, was honored as the AAC’s Coach of the Year for the sixth time after leading the No. 5 Huskies (26-3, 16-0 American) to another undefeated conference season.

“It’s still meaningful and it still feels good,” Auriemma said. “Even my players congratulated me, so it must be important.”

UConn has won all 136 league games since the conference formed in 2013. It will be looking for a seventh straight conference tournament title this weekend. The Huskies are leaving the AAC at the end of this season to rejoin the Big East.

The league’s other major awards went to South Florida’s Elena Tsineke, (Freshman of the Year) and East Carolina’s Lashonda Monk (Defensive Player of the Year).

Cincinnati senior Angel Rizer was picked as the league’s Most Improved Player. Tulane’s Dynah Jones took home the Sixth Player of the Year award and teammate Sierra Cheatham repeated as winner of the Ambassador Award, given for sportsmanship on and off the court.

Walker, who leads the American in scoring at 19.5 points per game, is joined on the all-conference first team by teammates Crystal Dangerfield and Christyn Williams, UCF guard Kay Kay Wright, Cincinnati forward I’ImarI Thomas and Temple forward Mia Davis.

“It means a lot for our team’s confidence,” Walker said. “We’re just building as a group … we’re trying to push in the right direction.”