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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Former UConn star Moore struggles in first game after the Olympics

Maya Moore returned from her second Olympics with plenty of memories.

However, it is safe to say she will do what she can to wipe away of any recollections of her two games at Mohegan Sun Arena this season.

Moore, one of four members of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic team on the Minnesota Lynx, looked out of sorts for much of the 84-80 loss to the host Connecticut Sun on Friday night. It was a far cry from her 40-point performance in the 93-89 overtime loss to the Sun on July 7.

Dealing with foul trouble throughout the second half, Moore was 3 of 12 from the floor and had almost as many fouls (five) as points scored (eight including one point shooting a foul shot after a technical foul was called on Sun coach Curt Miller).

Perhaps Moore and fellow U.S. Olympians Lindsay Whalen, Seimoine Augustus and Sylvia Fowles were a little tired in Friday's game but Moore certainly won't tire about discussing her Olympic experience.

Moore led the U.S. team in offensive rebounds, assists and steals. Even though she finished as the team's second-leading scorer, she showed that she was more than just an offensive dynamo.

"I am fortunate to be gifted to have a lot of weapons but I have also worked hard to make sure I
have been as versatile as possible," Moore said. "It was really a no-lose situation to be on a team where I could do everything I know I could do.

"I don't think I've ever done anything different from what I've always done, it is just a case of
people paying attention to it. It is great because it is something I love about the game of
basketball, people doing different things to help the team. it is ironic that people do focus on
my scoring but I can highlight those little things that I am always tying to celebrate in others."

Whalen was certainly impressed by what she saw from her Minnesota Lynx teammate at the Olympics.

"She was the played on our team that did all the dirty work, she got all the hustle plays, she
ignited some runs," Whalen said. "She led the team in assists which is really great. She just had a great tournament. I think Diana (Taurasi) was shooting the ball great, you have (Brittney) Griner inside, in that first group you have a great point guard in Sue Bird who gets you the ball so she kind of saw the way the game is going , she made a lot of the hustle plays. She still scored a lot of points but she really involved her game in a lot of ways and it was really fun see and be a part of it."

Moore now has multiple Olympic, World Championship, NCAA and WNBA titles.

"It was my second Olympics and how precious it is, I was more aware of how precious that moment was," Moore said.

She admitted to getting emotional before the gold medal game realizing it would be the final time this particular team would play together.

 "I was getting kind of sad of 'oh, this is it. this is the last time the 2016 will step on the floor
together,'" Moore said. "I was starting to get a little emotional during the anthem before the game and not actually after (the game) knowing it was the last time we played together as the 2016 team."

One thing Moore didn't think about was the key stretch in the gold medal game when all five former UConn stars were on the court together.

"We weren't even aware who is on the court, at least I am not, but looking back there was a time
where 'wow, it was really fun to connect with Tina' or the pass it to Stewie where I used to get the ball, it is really fun to have those moments."

Moore figures to be a key part of the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. It remained to be seen if the 34-year-old Whalen will be part of the equation in four years time.

"Who knows, four years in a long ways away," Whalen said. "If I were healthy and still good enough to be on the team, I would of course yes. I have had such a good experience with USA Basketball, love the competition but that is a long ways away."

Whalen also weighed in on another player likely to see time in future Olympics - UConn guard Kia Nurse, a star of the Canadian team that reached the quarterfinals.

"I know it helped me from 2012 to now so being 20/21 (years old), what that would do for you, it is huge," Whalen said. "I think she had a great tournament, she is obviously a great player and tough competitor and I think it will only help her in the future."

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