Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Maya reflects on another championship


Consider the last month or so to be a bit of like basketball graduate school for UConn senior Maya Moore.

Moore was the only active college player on the U.S. team was forced to play out of her comfort zone at the FIBA World Championships as she was facing opponents physically gifted enough to make it difficult for her to get the shots she wanted.

Moore seemingly can score at will while playing at UConn but she had some offensive struggles in the nine games in the world championship tournament. Moore was 10 for 14 from the floor in the first three games of the tournament but was 21 for 57 in the final six games of the tourney.

"Just experiencing the physicality, the smarts of the players at the pro level made me realize that there are things I can continue to get better at," Moore said in a phone interview shortly after scoring nine points in the United States' 89-69 win over the host Czech Republic in Sunday's gold-medal game. "I feel like I have an advantage just by getting a chance to sneak on this team and get the chance to play with the older crowd. Now, I'll go back and hopefully become a smarter player.

"It is tough, you have to be able to have a counter. Coach Auriemma was explaining it to me, he said it to me before. At this level it is even more clear and easy to understand that I can't just be shoot and just hover around the 3-point line but (need to) get inside, get fouled and score from everywhere on the court. I was trying to be aggressive and attack the basket, I am still working on it and getting better but it was good to have to be able to push myself because the defense was doing a good job."

Veterans like Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird, Swin Cash and Diana Taurasi said Moore was like a sponge, trying to pick up everything she could from her more experienced teammates.

"I think I would be a fool not to," Moore said. "Whenever I am off the court or coming in off the bench, I got a chance to watch and really observe and remind myself to be ready when I came into game. It can be easy to sit back, watch and be in awe of the players that are out there but I tried to make it a point that I am ready whenever he checks me in, get a feel for the flow of the game. Just watching Tamika and Diana, the leaders like Swin and Sue and seeing how they back up what they talk (about) and knowing what to say and it is has been fun."

Moore knows she will have some catching up to do with the classes she missed while she was training and playing with the U.S. national team but as first-rate student as well as a spectacular basketball player, she will certainly take care of business in the classroom before embarking on a challenging final season at UConn.

"I have a lot to make up," Moore said. "It is going to be a good year because I feel like I will have a new challenge and have a fresh motivation of how to get better and tighten up those little things that might need (tightening)."

Moore will leave behind her U.S. teammates and reunite with her UConn teammates.

"I am so excited, Moore said. "I miss them so much. I had a chance to skype them a few times. I miss being around them, getting out there working, sweating, running with them. I am just glad that I have them to go back to."

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