The suspense lasted as long as it took Renee Brown, the WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, to step to the podium and announce Maya Moore's name. The Minnesota Lynx made it clear in the days leading up to the WNBA Draft that they wanted Moore, but there was some speculation Wednesday that the Connecticut Sun might be interested in making a deal for Moore, who led the Huskies to three national titles, compiled a 150-3 record, and ended her career with more than 3,000 points and as one of the best players in college basketball history.
As for Moore's professional future, former UConn standout and ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo thinks the transition will be a smooth one.
"She played with the pros in USA Basketball and this is where it's a unique situation," Lobo said moments before Minnesota selected Moore first overall. "Even when you had players coming out and knew they were going to be the No. 1 pick, GMs and coaches had to project how that would translate when they played against bigger, faster, stronger competition in the WNBA."
"Well, you know how Maya is going to do. She played against the best players in the world last year at the world championships … the Lynx know exactly what they're getting in Maya Moore."
Moments after the Lynx's selection, ESPN's Holly Rowe asked Moore how her on-court focus can help her in Minnesota.
"I think it's something we have learned at Connecticut … energy is contagious whether you're bringing people down or lifting people up," Moore said. "So I just like to be one of those players that lifts people up by always playing hard and having fun on the court."
Rowe later asked Moore's former college coach, Geno Auriemma, why his program has had so much success preparing players for the WNBA.
"You get players that are never satisfied with where they are and are constantly working to get better and better," said Auriemma. "I don't think anybody represents that mindset better than Maya. She came in as a freshman as a really, really, really good player and was determined to become a great player and she accomplished that."
Now, after a wildly successful run in college, Moore will try to help revitalize a franchise that finished no higher than fifth in the WNBA's Western Conference since 2004.