MINNEAPOLIS — Despite the undesired outcome, Maya Moore shined for Minnesota in Game 1 of WNBA Finals 2015 presented by Boost Mobile, scoring 27 points and pulling down 12 boards. If you were to take a glance at her final numbers from Game 2 — 19 points, five assists, eight rebounds — you would think she was again dominant throughout.
The numbers, however, don’t tell the whole story. Moore actually struggled finding a groove in the first half and she finished the first 20 minutes just 2-for-7 from the field.
“She was just awful early, just awful,” Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Shot selection, the way she was playing. It was a case where I think our team was so amped up to play, Maya being probably the one that was the most amped up, and she just had to settle down, settle down. It wasn’t for lack of wanting to do the right thing, but it was just not good.”
In the second half, though, the 2013 WNBA Finals MVP flipped the script. The Lynx locked in defensively, and Moore’s play was vital in changing the tone. It started on the defensive end where Moore — who recorded three second-half steals — was as active as she’s ever been on that end.
And, as is often the case with star players, Moore eventually got going on the other end. Moore wisely picked her spots and made savvy decisions to extend plays and create looks for her teammates.
“I think she played one of her smarter games I’ve ever seen her play,” said Lynx guard Renee Montgomery, “and I’ve seen her play a ton of games. She didn’t force a lot of shots. She took shots that were open, and then when they doubled her she passed it and made the right pass. She played great defense at times. So, I think this is one of her better games I’ve seen her play. I mean, she still ended up scoring 19. She started out slow but it came at the end.”
“She did everything she needed to do to get her teammates involved,” added center Sylvia Fowles. “She knew the shots weren’t falling for her early on. She did everything she needed to do to get us involved, and we can appreciate that because she stepped up for us when we needed it.”