As the United States Women’s Basketball Team wrapped up their 91-48 victory over Canada today, one of the main things that stood out was how impressive 23-year-old forward Maya Moore has been throughout this Olympics.
In the first five games of the Olympics, Moore averaged nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal per game. While none of those numbers jump out, it is the solid all-around play which Team USA needs. Moore has also averaged 17.6 minutes per game, although her minutes have consistently gone up since she played 11 minutes in the first game against Croatia.
Against Canada, the United States got the same consistent all-around play from Moore that they have come to expect. She had 11 points, which is one point away from leading the team, to go along with seven rebounds, leading the team, and four assists which was second to only Diana Taurasi.
The point of this is two-fold. First, it is exciting that a 23 year old, who has only played one year in the WNBA, is able to hang with Team USA and carve out an important role for herself. She is the least experienced player on the team, slightly ahead of her former teammate Tina Charles who has played two years professionally.
Beyond the excitement of having such a young star is what she will do for Team USA over the next few games. Moore has been a young player who can give them energy and a good all-around game. To this point she has put up numbers that reflect a toned down version of her WNBA statistics, where she averaged 14.8 points, 5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the Minnesota Lynx.
Obviously Moore will not put up the same numbers when playing with a team so stacked with talent, but the effect is the same. Maya Moore is constantly doing something beneficial for the team. That could be scoring a lot, which she did when she scored 14 points against the Czech Republic. It can also be rebounding, as she has averaged more rebounds per game with Team USA than with the Lynx.
Finally, she has shown the ability to constantly improve and take advantage of the extra playing time she is getting. In the first game of the Olympics, Moore had four points, five rebounds and two assists in only 11 minutes. In the game earlier today she played a whopping 25 minutes and had 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Teams need players like Maya Moore who can do a little bit of everything. Her presence for the USA will be huge and we can count on her to not let Team USA lose in the next three games.