Everywhere she goes, Maya Moore has a following. Not just fans, but expectations as well. Her reputation never stays home.

Said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve of Moore’s responsibilities on Team USA: “She just has to be Maya, one of the best players in the world.”

In Moore’s first Olympics in London in 2012, she was good but did not play at a superstar level. She averaged 9.0 points, fifth on the team, and 5.6 rebounds, good for third. Sufficient, but she knows this time, expectations will be much higher.

“I think the first one was pretty much a perfect Olympics for me,” she said. “It was a comfortable city, where they spoke English. It felt like a very family-friendly atmosphere. In Rio, there’s a language barrier, so to speak, and other things.”

Moore isn’t worried, however. She knows what she can do and she welcomes the challenge.

“I’m living my dream,” she said. “When I hear people are putting their hopes on me, it means I’ve have reached my potential. There’s such a small window to do that. This is precious.”

Jim Paulsen