Maya Moore

Jeff Wheeler, Dml - Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune

Moore to bring winning ways to team in China

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ
  • Star Tribune
  • June 27, 2012 - 6:22 AM

Maya Moore has two teams right now and both mean a lot to her.

There is the Lynx, of course, and then there is her business team, led by another Lindsay -- Kagawa, not Whalen -- of the Wasserman Media Group in Los Angeles.

Kagawa is Moore's agent who recently helped Moore land a lucrative offseason job.

On Sunday night, Moore announced on Twitter she will play for the Shangxu Xing Rui Flame in Taiyuan, China, this winter.

"China was a great opportunity, a new frontier," Moore said after Tuesday's practice. "They are starting to develop more and more teams that will bring in some foreigners -- we are foreigners now -- over there. I think I can take advantage of a lot of things on the court and off the court."

She will be the only American on the Flame. Only a handful of WNBA players have played in China before. Most play in Europe.

But the Flame offered Moore a nice contract. Moore said is was "significantly more than double her rookie contract," which was just under $47,000 last year.

"China is an amazing place," said Lynx guard Seimone Augustus, who played for the U.S. women's basketball team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. "It is going to be a joy to see a great talent like Maya go over there and really open up the market there for women's basketball."

Her goal in China, as always, will be to lead her team to a championship. That seems to happen everywhere Moore goes. In college at Connecticut (two NCAA titles). On U.S. national teams (four gold medals since 2006). With the Lynx last year. And with Ros Casares in Valencia, Spain.

Ros Casares won two titles earlier this year; it was the best team in Spain and the EuroLeague, but ceased operations a month ago.

"It hurts but it happens," Moore said. "Some teams fold and then new ones come. I am not taking it as a decline of women's basketball. A lot of overseas teams are based off clubs and owners who put a lot of money into their teams and try to win. So if you can't afford to do it, sometimes times are tough."

With the Lynx, times have never been better. The defending WNBA champions are 12-1 and face Phoenix at Target Center on Wednesday.

Moore's statistics are solid -- 13.6 points per game, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists -- but not the kind to garner any player of the week or month honors or put her in the spotlight she was under at UConn. The Lynx share the ball too much; four players average in double figures.

Moore has no problem with that. "I am definitely here to win championships and be a good teammate first," she said.

Her drive to improve remains, too. She knows she can get better and she is always setting goals.

Moore wants to shoot more free throws "[and there's] getting my shooting percentage just a little bit higher or cutting down on my turnovers, just different things like that."

She should quickly build a following among the hard-working Chinese just as she has with the Lynx.

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