Maya Moore, the former Miss Everything for the UConn Huskies, made her professional debut for the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday, May 24. She scored four points in 22 minutes of preseason action and admitted after the game that "Not exactly what I wanted, but I thought we made a little bit of progress from some of the initial jitters…"
On Friday, Moore played in her first WNBA game that counted in the standings, an 82-74 loss in Los Angeles against the Sparks. But like most of her college career, Moore stood out as one of the best players on the court, showing why the Lynx selected her with the first-overall pick of the 2011 draft. She scored 21 points, and according to the StarTribune.com, "began the game by receiving the loudest ovation of any of the Lynx starters, who otherwise were greeted with silence."
Coincidentally, Moore scored 21 points in her first college game, too, although she's likely to lose more games with the Lynx in a month that she lost in her UConn career. As always, however, Moore's post-game comments were measured and understated.
"I was just a little anxious, excited to play," said Moore, who added that it took "maybe four trips or so" up and down the court to get into the game's flow. I think everybody was trying to get their rhythm. I felt pretty confident with what we were running and getting more familiar with my teammates."
Unlike college, where Moore was accustomed to winning and playing no more than a couple times a week, in the WNBA, the season is hectic and long. Win or lose, another game is always a few days off. So after dropping the opener to the Sparks in LA on Friday, the two teams met again in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
This time Moore scored 16 points (14 in the second half) and led the Lynx to a 86-69 win over the Sparks in the home-opener. Moore started slow, going just one for five in the first half and picking up two quick fouls. But according to the Associated Press, Moore made her biggest contributions after the half.
She stole the ball on the Sparks' first possession of the second half and fed Lindsay Whalen for a fastbreak layup, then hit back-to-back three-pointers that forced a Sparks timeout. … Moore added two other long jump shots and hit Whalen for an open three-pointer as the Lynx outscored the Sparks, 24-10, in the third.
"I was just wanting to make up for the way we ended" the first half, Moore said. "We knew we had to come out and be aggressive. I like how we responded. I've always heard that the character of a team is tested after a loss."
Moore actually means that. Losing was such a rare occurrence in Storrs that she would have to take other people's words for it.
Whatever, you get the sense that no moment is too big for Moore; she's played in the biggest games on the college stage, as well as with the national team. It was reasonable to think that there wouldn't be much of a learning curve in the WNBA, either. Now it's just a question of if she can be consistent from one game to the next. With the season just two games old there will be plenty of time to determine that.