Getting to the WNBA All-Star Game is nothing new. Maya Moore has been there every year there has been one since she came into the league. She was there in 2011 and again last year, with a 2012 Olympic Gold Medal in-between.
But this time, another honor.
The league announced the starters for the July 19 game in Phoenix and Moore was not only a Western Conference starter, she was the leading vote-getter in the league. Moore got 28,389 votes, more than Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne (26,129), who was the leading vote-getter a year ago.
“It’s just great to be honored and appreciated by people across the world,” Moore said. “I want to make sure I’m playing as well as the accolades that I’m getting.”
Joining Moore on the Western Conference starting five are guards Diana Taurasi (Phoenix) and Skylar Diggins and frontcourt players Candace Parker (Los Angeles) and Brittney Griner (Phoenix).
The Eastern Conference starters are: guards Shone Schimmel (Atlanta) and Cappie Pondexter (New York) and frontcourt players Delle Donne, Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta) and Tamika Catchings (Indiana).
As far as keeping up with the accolades, Moore has nothing to worry about.
She is averaging season highs in scoring (22.8), steals (2.1), minutes (34.9) and rebounds (8.0) per game. She is leading the league in scoring, sixth in steals, 10th in rebounds and second among frontcourt players with 3.4 assists per game. She has scored 20 or more points in 12 games, 30 or more in six and has five point-rebound double-doubles.
She has had to do more because of injuries on the team. Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters missed the early part of the season following knee procedures. Guard Seimone Augustus missed her fourth straight game Tuesday because of knee bursitis. And forward Rebekkah Brunson has been out following pre-season knee surgery and isn’t expected back until after the All Star break.
“She’s trying to do more, and she’s been more assertive,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “I think it’s hard when you’re the focal point. I think it’s hard when her coach plays her 35 minutes a game, then gets upset with her when she makes mistakes because she’s tired. So, given all that, Maya has handled it great.”
Moore’s shooting percentages are down slightly from last year’s lofty figures, but that’s a product of a more focused opponent and Moore’s need to do more to carry the load.
Now it’s a question of who will go to Phoenix with Moore. Reeve and her staff will coach the West. Reserves for the game – which will be picked by the league’s coaches – will be named July 15.
Augustus and Lindsay Whalen are strong candidates to be named, though Augustus’ injury situation might impact her ability to play.