Well, take a look at this short film, sent me by Sox & Dawgs, whom I thank.
During the three years they played together at UConn, Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes traveled to three Final Fours and won two national championships, usually laughing at each other’s jokes along the way.
Maya Moore’s incredible streak of playing for championships wherever she goes – high school, UConn, the WNBA and even China – continues this weekend when the Minnesota Lynx play the Atlanta Dream for the WNBA championship.
This will be Maya’s third trip to the Finals in her three seasons in the WNBA. Minnesota won the championship in her rookie season  and lost last season.
And now, they have the best regular-season record (26-8) in the league and have won 13 of their last 14 games, including playoff sweeps of Phoenix and Seattle.
“It’s something that I will definitely be able to take in and reflect upon when I am done playing,” Moore said Thursday after Lynx practice. “I have had the good fortune of being on so many competitive teams in my life. For as long I can remember I have always tried to put myself in the most competitive environment I could.
“But it’s tremendously satisfying to be here [the WNBA Finals] again [for the third time in three seasons]. We knew we had the ability. We expected to make it back. It’s easy to look at a team and make a prediction that they should do this or that. But to actually accomplish it is very satisfying.”
Against the Dream, Moore will play against her former UConn teammate, Tiffany Hayes, who just completed her second season with the Dream. Maya and Tiffany were teammates for three seasons with the Huskies. And Maya said the relationships you build with your college teammates invariably are the ones that hold the most lasting impact.
“Different teams have a way of competing in different ways. In college, you live together, room together when you are on the road,” Moore said. “You see each other all of the time and we had the opportunity to play for Coach Auriemma, the toughest coach any of us have ever had. You are together for years and there is nothing that quite compares to the togetherness that develops.
“In the WNBA and overseas it’s quite different. You are together as teammates but away from the court, you have your own lives. You are in charge of your own fate.
“Tiffany and I are very silly individuals. We seemed to always be the ringleaders for the practical joking that went on [at UConn]. And I always loved to compete with her in practice and in pickup games.
“Tiffany was always a very competitive player. She always wanted to win every time she was on the court. She was quick, she could rebound. She could slash and shoot. She was a lot of fun to play with at UConn.”
Maya Moore does make you wonder. Do championships just follow her or is she somehow singularly responsible for them, a player so inherently gifted that teams play better with her and because of her?
One thing is certain: Her report card is filled with gold stars from high school to USA Basketball, to UConn and the WNBA, to the Olympics and now China. All she does is win championships.
Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Arena, the Minnesota Lynx beat the Connecticut Sun, 91-77, and Moore was one of five players in double-figures with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes.
The win improved the hold Minnesota (19-7) has in first place in the Western Conference and solidified Moore’s credentials as a possible MVP candidate. Moore is averaging 17.8 points and 6.2 rebounds and shooting 44 percent from three-point range.
“I feel like I am coming into my own more,” Moore said. “The third year in the league is such a big difference in terms of my comfort and finding the rhythm in what my life has become right now. But I am still trying new things and I grow. The more opportunities and resources that come my way, the best I will try to do with them.”
If she wins the award, the four-time college All-American, UConn’s all-time leading scorer and former Rookie of the Year will wear the crown now perched on her former Huskies’ teammate, Tina Charles of the Sun.
Moore said Thursday her life is typically busy, but immensely satisfying.
“Being a professional athlete is a process that you learn as time goes on,” Moore said. “I was so prepared for the basketball aspect by going to UConn. And you learn a lot about how to be a role model because you are such a public figure when you play there. You learn how to be gracious and bring people into your life.
“But to me, being a pro athlete is mostly about being an adult, learning how to pay your bills and handle the responsibilities of life. There are no more college per diems. You have to handle your own money and learn how to live in many different places and homes.”
She will be hosting a skills camp this weekend in Minnesota for young female players which she is excited about.
“We’ll be having about 45 girls there, ages 12 to 17,” Moore said. “We’re going to get after it in the gym. We’re going to have a classroom segment where they are going to learn about leadership and team work, character how to help build a team. There’s going to be information about nutrition and a guest speaker from the Jordan Brand [to address marketing a promotion].
“I know when I was that age I was interested in soaking up any kind of information I could from anyone who was willing to talk to me and looked up to.”
Her success in college created a marketing opportunity with the Jordan Brand. Her success in the WNBA created a chance to explore a new frontier for women’s basketball players in China. And in her first season in Asia, she was nothing short of cultural phenomenon.
On February 5, Moore scored 34 points (including a perfect 14-of-14 from the line) and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead her Shanxi Xing Rui Flame over Liz Cambage’s Zhejiang Far East in the deciding game of the China Women’s League Championship on February 5.
“I never aniticipate playing in China, but it was an awesome opportunity. I am so glad it was presented to me,” Moore said. “They love basketball. And now they are just getting a little taste of the women’s game.”
In the previous game of the series, Moore scored 43 points with 12 rebounds and 11 assists, somehow managing to overcome Cambage’s 56 points and 16 rebounds.
Shortly thereafter, Moore, who averaged 38.7 points and 12.5 rebounds for Shanxi Xing Rui, announced that she had signed a long-term deal to play in China following her WNBA seasons. There, according to a WNBA insider, Moore makes nearly $1 million a year.
In China, Moore played for a Spanish head coach who spoke halting English. She was surrounded by a Korean teammate who spoke some English but no Chinese and Chinese teammates who spoke only basic English. Instruction was communicated by three separate translators.
“We had the connection of the court, which was very cool,” Moore said.
Carter rejoins Sun
To help add backcourt depth, the Sun will bring point guard Sydney Carter back this weekend. Carter played in six games for the Sun and averaged 4.5 points per game. She also shot 33 percent from beyond the arc before being released when Renee Montgomery and Tan White returned from injuries in mid-July.
Well, we all know that Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer is not one to filter his thoughts. He is open and usually honest and pretty much says whatever he is thinking when he is thinking it. That made him famous when he was playing in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and that has helped him stand out in a crowd of conservative coaches during his long WNBA tenure in Detroit and now New York.
Here’s the latest: Laimbeer was not happy that Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, once his assistant on a Detroit league champion, kept Miss Maya of Minnesota in the game long after the Lynx were on their way to a rout on Sunday.
And according to this report from Fox Sports North, Laimbeer had a lot to say about it, including something about Maya getting hurt because of it.
Waiting for her chance to meet the President of the United States in the summer of 2012, Baylor’s 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner could see her teammate, Shanay Washington, having trouble with one of life’s basic fundamentals.
There to be honored for winning the 2011-12 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship, Washington, then a sophomore, extended her hand to Barack Obama and then everything ground to a stop.
“She was almost starting crying,” Griner said. “She was so nervous she forgot her own name. I was like [thinking to herself], ‘Yo girl, say your name.’ Me, I was just like, ‘What’s up, Mr. President.’ I was trying to explain to her that he [Obama] is just a person like us. It was a lot of fun.
“When I got there, I asked him, ‘Mr. President, can we hoop some?’ He [Obama] said, ‘No, we’re not hooping today. I’m not letting you block my shot.’ And I said, “I’m glad you know that because I would.’”
Over the last two decades the tradition of the President greeting the champions of major professional and collegiate sports has become a Washington tradition. And on Wednesday, the UConn women’s basketball team, which won its eighth national championship last season, will make its eighth trip.
Before heading to practice at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday prior to Saturday’s WNBA All-Star game, a number of players took the time to speak to about 75 children at New London’s Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London where the league helped install a new court.
The Courant’s Matt Conyers caught up with three of the state’s favorite WNBA players and asked them what it was like to take part in the morning’s event.
Skylar Diggins recently became the fourth player in Notre Dame history to score her 2,000 career point this season.
Now she is the Irish’s all-time scoring leader (2,347), surpassing Beth Morgan, who rang up 2,322 points.
UConn has seven players who have scored at least 2,000 points and one (Moore) with over 3,000 (3,036). Diggins point total would be second all-time at UConn behind Moore and just ahead of Tina Charles (2,346).
UConn likes to win championships more than its coaching staff encourages pursuing personal milestones. It’s all about the team.
But Saturday, the two virtues may converge when the Huskies play South Florida at the Sun Dome.
The Huskies (26-2, 13-1) can win the Big East’s regular-season championship by beating the Bulls and then winning at Notre Dame on Monday night in the regular-season finale.
“This is a very big weekend for us,” Breanna Stewart said. “We need to focus.”
The contributions made by senior Kelly Faris during her UConn career have been numerous and extolled many times in this space over the last four years.
But there is still plenty of time left to add a few more adjectives. And maybe on Saturday at South Florida, Faris will again give us the reason.
Faris scored 11 points with nine rebounds, three assists and four steals during Tuesday’s 76-36 win over Pittsburgh.
That gives her 1,011 points, 745 rebounds, 503 assists and 275 steals in her career.
If she can get just five more rebounds before the season ends, Faris will join Maya Moore as the ONLY player in UConn women’s basketball history to go 1,000, 750, 500 and 250 in her career.
“I know you want me to say a lot about it, admit I am excited about it, but it’s hard to me to do that about statistics,” Faris said, ‘The way I think is that [success] is not always on paper and so I’ve never focused on numbers or gotten too into it. For me it’s what you see on the court. I could have a billion points and still be the worst teammate in the world.
“I appreciate that it is being acknowledged. I really do. But I will not sit here and gloat about or get excited. But its not necessarily what I came here to focus on.”
Moore scored 3,036 points, 1,276 rebounds, 544 assists and 310 steals.
“Hey, I”ll take being in the same conversation with Maya Moore, but uh, yeah.”