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.
Lynx guard Seimone Augustus will not play tonight against the Los Angeles Sparks at Target Center. It is the fourth straight game she has missed due to left knee bursitis, and the fifth overall.
At this point the team is still calling her day-to-day, but the possibility remains she could be out until after the All-Star break. That game, set to be played in Phoenix, is on July 19.
Meanwhile, a game after the New York LIberty beat the Lynx in large part because of their interior game, the Lynx have to slow a Sparks frontcourt that goes 6-2, 6-4 and 6-4.
That's about it for now. Have a good night.
The WNBA’s sixth-leading scorer, Seimone Augustus, will miss yet another game for the Lynx as she will sit out again tonight as her team plays host to San Antonio.
This is the guard’s third game she has missed since her left knee bursitis first acted up before the Lynx’s loss in Phoenix on June 18. Monica Wright will start in Augustus’ place as she did Sunday against Seattle.
Megan Ryan, here, covering the game for Kent Youngblood.
That was Wright’s first start of the season. She had surgery on her left knee in late April and only returned to playing June 15, but coach Cheryl Reeve said she thinks the extra responsibility has helped Wright shine.
“We threw her into the fire last time,” Reeve said. “We thought for her it was a good time to do that, to take the next step. Now she’s concentrating on being a starter and helping her team rather than managing her knee. So I think it took the focus off of her knee.”
Wright impressed Reeve on Sunday, earning co-player of the game nods with Janel McCarville, who scored a career-high (with the Lynx) 22 points.
And as for the fact that the Stars haven’t lost on the road in five games – the last time being when they played the Lynx on May 30 – Reeve said it just presents her team with another opportunity.
“It’s not very often that we have the chance to break somebody’s streak,” she said. “Oftentimes, it’s us doing the streak. It’s a little added incentive.”
With a rare stretch of three off days between home games, the Lynx had the opportunity focus on the details.
“That tough stretch where we didn’t get much practice time when we were kind of away from here and not in our routine, it just felt like we were just getting through things,” coach Cheryl Reeve said at Wednesday's practice. “We weren’t really good at things.”
But the Lynx have been taking the time to improve the biggest hole in their game – defense. Because anything lacking in that area is not exactly something they’d want to expose to the Stars in Thursday’s game at Target Center, as San Antonio leads the league with a .385 three-pointer percentage.
Megan Ryan, still here to keep you updated in Kent Youngblood’s absence.
Reeve said her team is well aware of what the Stars will bring, though, especially as their affinity for field goals is similar to Sunday’s opponent, Seattle.
“Our defense, we know, is very challenged,” she said. “It’s one of our weaknesses right now that we’ve really locked in on, defending the three-point line. We’re very mindful of it.”
The Lynx have a good feel for how San Antonio operates and vice versa, so Reeve said Thursday’s match will just come down to who executes better.
Seimone Augustus will likely miss another game for the Lynx because of left knee bursitis, if Tuesday’s practice was any indication.
“We’re holding Seimone out right now,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We want to make sure that when she comes back, she’s fully healthy.”
The guard has sat out two games since the problem first acted up before the loss to Phoenix on June 18. Reeve said the staff thought previously they could control the injury in three to five days. When that proved ineffective, the trainers are now giving her time to heal.
The Lynx play host to San Antonio on Thursday night.
Megan Ryan here subbing for Kent today at Lynx practice.
Reeve said there isn’t any push to do more tests at the moment as the trainers are pretty sure there is no greater issue underlying the bursitis, and she trusts that expertise.
“When he tells me to worry, I worry,” she said. “He hasn’t told me to worry.”
And while Reeve said she doesn’t anticipate having to manage this injury for the rest of the season, it was safe to say Augustus would not be available until she was back at 100 percent.
As for the rest of practice, Reeve said she was pleased the team had some time to pay attention to detail. “We got through the first seventeen games. The first half of the season’s in the books. And now we have this stretch of season where we can really lock in on the things we want to get better at and have a little bit of practice time … to get better at it.”
And as for coaching the Western conference team at the July 19 All-Star game in Phoenix, Reeve said she was looking forward to scouting the competition as well as celebrating the success of last year’s team with her staff – and hopefully some players, too. “I like my players a lot more than I like the other players. It’s more fun to be with them.”