After the Lynx defeated the Washington Mystics on Friday and Maya Moore had scored at least 22 points for a third consecutive game, she said a player’s rhythm never continues from season to season.
“You have to work and figure it out and get to the point where we know we can be, which is elite,” said Moore, who had a double-double by halftime her last game. “That’s what we’re striving for every game and thankful that we’re able to do that with me doing my thing, everybody doing their thing together.”
Moore’s season began with a 1-for-11 performance from three-point range and has included four games in which she’s attempted fewer than 10 field goals, even though she has never averaged fewer than 11 attempts in her career. She offered one reason for her recent string of better performances.
“The ball’s going in,” she said. But really, Moore, who was 7-for-20 against the Mystics, is being more aggressive. She attempted seven free throws, a season high, and made all of them. She finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high seven assists.
When she’s active on the court, everything becomes easier for the Lynx, who play the San Antonio Stars on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center.
The Lynx have scored at least 91 points in each of their past five games, and they like their pace. They have averaged almost 72 field goal attempts during those games.
Coach Cheryl Reeve said Moore’s aggression helps her team push the ball upcourt. She prefers Moore playing off the ball in transition “because she runs right past people.”
And Moore takes people with her. Rebekkah Brunson’s three-pointer against the Mystics happened because after a Washington miss, Moore dragged the defense toward her, away from Brunson. Reeve said Moore ran the floor better Friday than she had all season.
“Everybody worrying about Maya,” center Sylvia Fowles said, “gives everybody else time to catch up.”
Sometimes Moore doesn’t need anyone to catch up.
Against the Mystics, she pulled up near the free throw line and shot a ball too softly. But she rebounded it and shot again. This one was too hard, so she rebounded again, attempted another shot, and this one went in. Plus she got fouled.
As Moore turned away from the Lynx bench, she smiled. Then she made her free throw.
“We kind of play off of the aggression,” Seimone Augustus said. “ ... That’s kind of contagious.”
It seems aggression is passed through proximity.
When the Mystics cut the Lynx lead down to seven with 6:49 left in the game, Lindsay Whalen rebounded the ball, drove the length of the court and threw a bounce pass to Fowles, who made a layup and drew a shooting foul.
As Whalen celebrated, Moore, who trailed the play and spaced the court, arrived by her side.