Maya Moore admitted she was disappointed by the MVP voting, but she was gracious in her praise of Candace Parker, the Los Angeles star who won the award for the second time in her career Thursday.
In the closest voting since 2005, Parker edged Moore for the MVP with 238 points to Moore’s 218.
But, after shootaround Friday, Moore congratulated Parker.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned,” said Moore, who won the WNBA’s player of the month award for both August and September. “Obviously, Candace is a great. She has had an awesome year. She’s an amazing player and can do so many things on the floor and for her team. Moving on, it’s time to focus on the playoffs.”
Still, she admitted to a bit of disappointment. “Any time you’re up for an honor, and you don’t get it, you wish you could,” she said. “But I can only control what I can control. And what I can control is helping my team win a championship.’’
Teammate Rebekkah Brunson was disappointed for Moore as well. “I think she works hard,” Brunson said. “She’s one of the hardest-working players in this league. I think she does amazing things for this organization, this team, this city. But, again, you don’t have control over those things.''
It was a rather upbeat shootaround on the Target Center’s main floor this morning. The team got cupcakes for coach Cheryl Reeve, who turned 47 today. The team seemed loose.
But, they said, they are still focused on Seattle, especially in light of what happened in the WNBA playoffs Thursday, with home teams losing both games.
Phoenix beat Los Angeles and Washington beat up on Atlanta. Call it a cautionary tale.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” Moore said. “It doesn’t matter what your ranking is, what happened in the regular season. All that matters is the game ahead of you. And we want to make sure we value every possession. I think that’s what we took away from those two games, valuing every possession and playing with poise.”
Said Brunson: “Two home teams got knocked off last night. We don’t want to be a third. We don’t want to put ourselves in that position. We know what kind of effort it takes. We know we can’t take any team for granted.”
Meanwhile, in other WNBA news:
--According to the league, the WNBA experienced double-digit growth in television viewership this season, had an increase in overall attendance and big-time growth in traffic on the league’s website.
League games on ESPN2 averaged 213,000 viewers, up 28 percent over 2011; the game between Chicago and Phoenix on opening day was the most-viewed WNBA regular season game since 2004, with 455,000 viewers.
Led by big attendance gains by Chicago (up 17 percent), Phoenix (9 percent) and Indiana (8 percent), the league saw a small overall gain in attendance, growing by one percent league-wide.
--And, how about the playoffs last night?
The Sparks took a 43-38 halftime lead on Phoenix Thursday, but the Mercury roared past the Sparks in the second half, led by Diana Taurasi, who scored 14 of her 30 points in the third quarter, as the Mercury took control. We shouldn’t be hugely surprised by this outcome; Phoenix has now given L.A. two of their last three losses at Staples Center. Parker played a strong game, but didn’t get much help; Kristi Toliver missed her first 10 shots and finished with just two points and Nneka Ogwumike was held to eight points. L.A. wasn’t exactly dominant on the road during the regular season – they were 9-8 – and it looks like Taurasi is very focused.So the Sparks could be in trouble.
Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the Mystics – the turnaround story of the season – pounded Atlanta. It appears Washington has figured Atlanta out; the Mystics have won the last three games between the two teams, and now they go home to try to finish off their first playoff series in three seasons. The key to beating the Dream, of course, is slowing down Angel McCoughtry, who led the league in scoring. Thursday she had 20 points, but she missed 12 of her first 14 shots. Afterward, McCoughtry was typically frank. “If we’re not upset right now and embarrassed on national television, then we might as well go home now and not show up in D.C.,” she said. “Right now needs to be the turning point, this very moment.”
That’s it for now. I’ll get back to you before the game.