Maya Moore has pretty much done it all in the sport of basketball, but the Minnesota Lynx star added perhaps the one missing accolade to her resume Wednesday night as she was named WNBA MVP.
The news was first reported by Doug Feinberg of The Associated Press:
The 25-year-old University of Connecticut product was already a two-time WNBA champion and three-time WNBA All-Star in addition to winning a pair of national championships while at UConn.
According to Tim Leighton of the Pioneer Press, Moore believes the MVP award is a testament to the work she has put into every aspect of her game.
Every night, (I tried) to have the highest amount of focus and aggression on the offensive end. I'm proudest of the defensive steps I've been able to take. I don't think MVP only means who scored the most. I think it means someone who is a leader for their team (and) is really an unselfish player that will do whatever is required for their team to win. That's what I try to do.
Moore averaged a league-best 23.9 points per game and led the Lynx to a 25-9 record during the regular season, so there was never much doubt regarding her status as the MVP front-runner.
In fact, Moore was named the WNBA's player of the month for all but one month over the course of the season, per Lynx play-by-play voice Alan Horton:
Now that Moore has added the WNBA MVP award to her trophy case, she joins elite company as only two of the WNBA's all-time greats have accomplished as much as Moore, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
This is only Moore's fourth WNBA season, but she has already gained the admiration of players, coaches, fans and media members alike. It didn't take long after the MVP announcement before there were several congratulatory messages sent in her direction.
Legendary ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale had some very kind words for the new MVP:
ESPN's Holly Rowe chimed in as well with her thoughts on Moore's surge to the top of the sport:
There is no question that being named MVP is a huge deal, but Moore still has plenty of work to do this season. She will lead the Lynx against the San Antonio Stars in the Western Conference Semifinals, which is the first step toward potentially winning a third WNBA title.
According to Leighton, Moore very much has her eyes on that prize.
"It's such an awkward time, being in season and not obtaining the ultimate goal of winning a championship," Moore said. "It's hard to let myself go there. (But) it is awesome."
Moore has been a winner at every level, and one can only assume that winning championships is what truly drives her.
While Moore will likely look back at winning the MVP with fondness down the road, the success of her season will largely be determined by the fate of the Lynx as a whole.
Whether they win it all or fall short, though, Moore is the best player in the WNBA right now, and she will undoubtedly be part of the MVP discussion for many years to come.
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