It wasn’t a matter of if Maya Moore was going to re-sign with the Lynx, it was when.
And so, with Thursday’s announcement that she had signed a multiyear deal, the subject can switch to this question: Just how good can she be?
Moore, who turns 26 on June 1, is the 2014 WNBA MVP. She has been a key piece of a Lynx team that won two of the past four league titles. Since being taken first overall in the 2011 draft she has seen her numbers rise like clockwork.
And now? “Maya has a thirst to continue to get better,” coach Cheryl Reeve said. “… She is moving towards her prime, but she’s not there yet.”
That’s saying something. Moore has career averages of 18 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in four seasons. But last year, she averaged 23.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and shot 48.1 percent from the field. She began the season by scoring 30 or more points in the first four games — a league record — and finished with 12 games with 30 or more, including a career-high 48.
How do you follow that?
“Success for me isn’t about winning the actual award,” Moore said. “It’s how I go about my everyday process of trying to be a champion. There is always room for improvement in all areas.”
That said, Moore likes to set goals, and one remains: To have a season in which she hits 50 percent of her shots, 40 percent of her three-pointers and 90 percent of her free throws. She came close in 2013, falling just short on free throws.
Moore, who was in Las Vegas earlier this week for a USA Basketball camp, said there was never any question she would re-sign with the Lynx.
“It’s an organization I really enjoyed playing for my first four years as a pro,” she said. “My mind-set is no different. Over the next few years, it is to compete for championships, create awesome basketball memories, continue to enjoy the game and grow.”
Moore’s signing puts the Lynx in a good position. Four of five starters are signed beyond this season; Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus are all in the middle of multiyear deals. Only center Janel McCarville will be playing on the final year of her contract.
“We are thrilled that Maya will continue her career with the Minnesota Lynx,” said Roger Griffith, the team’s executive vice president. “Maya has proven herself to be one of the best players in the WNBA.”
Said Moore: “I’ve started to find my stride as a player, the last couple seasons especially. Hopefully I can stay healthy and we can continue to grow as a team.”