Jessica Moore doesn’t turn 30 until later this summer, but her WNBA career has already been expansive and diverse, with stops in Los Angeles, Charlotte, Indiana, Connecticut and, since early this week, Atlanta.
Moore, the former UConn center, was signed as a free agent by the Dream when it decided to part ways with Courtney Paris, the former four-time All-American from Oklahoma. Moore had spent the last six months recovering from left knee surgery after playing last season with the Sun.
“I injured my left knee playing in Turkey around Christmas time and came home [to Los Angeles]. I tore cartilage and had anticipated just getting a scope to repair it. But my doctor advised me to get a small microfracture procedure done, behind the knee cap and very small, as a preventative to the knee getting worse. So I had that done in January. The scope would have cleaned things up and allowed me to play, but I likely would have been right back where I started at the end of the summer. At that point, I likely would have required a full microfracture surgery and six months to recover.
“After the surgery, I went hard with the therapy and talked to my strength coach and doctor and they said I was ready to go, if I felt ready to play. If felt like I could try. I am out here in Atlanta now and I feel blessed and fortunate to be here and part of a great team.
“I was finally beginning to feel 100 percent again [in Turkey] and to get injured again was unfortunate. It was very frustrating.”
The Dream, a two-time defending Eastern Conference champion, has been something of a team in transition this season. Dream center Erika de Souza will miss the first half of the 2012 WNBA season to stay with the Brazilian national team to train for the Olympics. Center Yelena Leuchanka did not play in the WNBA last year due to commitments to the Belarus national team. And their new players include rookies Tiffany Hayes of UConn and Aneika Henry and free agents Laurie Koehn, Cathrine Kraayeveld and Ketia Swanier, another former Husky.
Moore said she’s happy to be reunited with Hayes and Swanier. The Huskies lead the WNBA with 12 players.
“Tiffany is an awesome player, so quick, her young fresh legs,” Moore said.
Moore is scheduled to make her debut Friday against San Antonio and should be ready for more time Sunday when the Dream comes to the Mohegan Sun Casino. She said she really didn’t give much thought to resigning with the Sun after last season.
“I really had no idea what my plan was after last season, other than just playing overseas,” she said. “I had no time to negotiate a contract.” She averaged 6.9 minutes in 29 games last season with the Sun, backing up Tina Charles.
Moore says she hopes to play at least another three seasons. But she is already planning for her future.
“I’m actually going back to school in the fall to begin my Master’s in communications and public relations,” Moore said. “I will be doing that on-line from wherever I am [playing professionally]. It’s the great thing about education these days. So many schools are beginning to offer these programs to working professionals who just can’t drop everything and be confined to a classroom. So I guess you can say I am beginning my transition to life after basketball.”
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