September 23, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: What made Maya Moore a great wing prospect?

'She's one of the smoothest athletes to ever walk the Earth'

It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for another episode in our WNBA Retrospect series at Locked on Women’s Basketball! The series reviews game film, stats, news articles and more to determine who has been the best prospect in WNBA history. Last week, Em Adler, Hunter Cruse and Lincoln Shafer discussed Candace Parker, the No. 1 overall pick in 2008. This week, they discuss the 2011 No. 1 pick, Maya Moore.

As a college senior, Moore averaged 22.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 52.4% from the floor. She helped UConn reach four Final Fours and win two national championships during her time in Storrs. Here are Lincoln’s first impressions from Moore’s collegiate film:

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“The first thing I noticed watching Maya Moore in college is just how smooth of an athlete she is. She covers so much ground without looking like she’s exerting any effort at all and is just constantly moving. And the way that she can close with her speed is really impressive. She’s one of the smoothest athletes to ever walk the Earth, really. … She is really good and really versatile and … was just kind of filling holes and filling gaps wherever she needed to be.”

Em adds:

“The closing speed was exactly I think the thing that stood out to me most on defense. As far as offensively, the thing that stood out to me the most was her footwork on on shot attempts, really from any kind of jump shot … Her footwork is just insanely perfect. … I mean, we talked about how smooth [Seimone Augustus] was. Maya [was] the smoothest jump shooter ever. It is actually completely impossible for any defender to ever tell what she’s about to do, in terms of driving versus pulling up.”

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Moore was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx and won four championships in eight seasons. She was named All-WNBA seven times and WNBA MVP in 2014. In 271 career games, she averaged 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. She left basketball after the 2018 season to focus on helping a family friend fight to overturn his prison sentence, and she officially retired in January 2023.

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