- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
When Maya was in middle school, Kathryn had her researching colleges and writing r�sum�s. "I told her if you're going to send a letter to a coach, they will want to see more than Oh, she's sweet; they want information," says Kathryn, who now sells handbags out of the home near UConn's campus that she moved into last year. Moore's r�sum� included her stats—which Kathryn, a former college volleyball player, dutifully kept every game—her GPA and her summer schedule, and she sent it out to a few coaches, including Auriemma, who still keeps it in a desk drawer in his office.
Three years before she finished her career at Collins Hill High, with three state titles, back-to-back Naismith National Player of the Year awards and a 125--3 record, Moore had narrowed her choices to UConn, Tennessee, Duke and Georgia. She chose the Huskies after her junior season in part because she knew her weaknesses would be exposed every day under Auriemma's watch. "I came to the right place for that," she says with a chuckle, adding that she has agreed with 99% of the things Auriemma has yelled at her about. "All your mistakes are on tape. The coaches will say, 'And here you turned the ball over. Let's watch it again!'"
NOT ALL the tape from that historic freshman season is game footage. Moore, who for all her poise and maturity harbors a well of endearing wide-eyed enthusiasm, brought a video camera on road trips. "I heard we had a charter to almost all our away games, and I was like, I've never been on a chartered flight! I'm going to record it!" she says.
Jaded she's not. At the McDonald's All-American game, in which she played as a junior and senior, Moore was the first player to leap off the bench and hand other players water. Her Connecticut teammates have found her refreshing too. "Maya puts everybody at ease," says Dixon. "If you're upset, Maya will make you laugh it off."
A self-taught drummer, Moore pounded out rhythms on lockers and walls to get her Collins Hill and Georgia Metros AAU teammates chanting before games. At UConn she hums and beats on the walls of the cold tub she sits in after practices. "She's always making up cheers and songs," says teammate Kaili McLaren. "And the crazy thing is, when she sings, it actually sounds good."
Greene predicts that Moore will sing the national anthem on senior night a few years hence, but that's a long way off, and Moore has a lot of work to do in the meantime. There are national titles to chase, good grades to keep up—she's interested in either broadcast journalism or sports marketing—and teammates to serve. (Auriemma has named her a captain, making her just the second sophomore so honored, after senior guard Renee Montgomery, in his tenure at Connecticut.) And there is the continuing refinement of her game. "I want to be one of those players who you watch on film and say, 'Where's the weakness?'" says Moore. "I want to be one of those players like Jason Kidd, who is always in tune with the game and sees several plays ahead. I want people to know something good is going to happen when the ball is in my hand."
Last year, when Moore played primarily on the perimeter, people already had that expectation. This year she'll be asked to spend more time in the paint. Moore has been working hard on her post moves. "Now that she has another task in front of her, it's not a question of whether she'll be great at it," says Elliott, "it's only a question of when."