I still remember UConn Women's Media Day 2006 at Gampel Pavilion. The Writers asking Coach Geno Auriemma about the battle with Tennessee to get Elena Della Donne to come to UConn. I don't recall what he said, but I do remember him saying "why don't we talk about Maya Moore ?" He couldn't wait to get this young lady on campus who committed to UConn before her Senior Year of High School at Collins High in Georgia. All she did was win the Naismith Prep Player of the Year in both her Junior and Senior Years and was the Consensus National HS Player of the Year in 2007...And she was a winner..125-3 as a four year starter at Collins with four straight Georgia 5A Title Game Appearances and three championships. 2,664 pts, 1,212 rebounds, 407 assists and 467 steals.....She was the "next great one" coming to Storrs.
Now mind you, UConn was already building a formidable team with Renee Montgomery, Tina Charles, Kalana Greene, Mel Thomas and others...The addition of Moore just made the Huskies even better. In the early going of the 2007-08 season, UConn flexed it's muscle and were ready to take on all comers. Sending a message at the Paradise Jam as they soundly defeated Stanford, Old Dominion and Duke...Moore 19-12 Thanksgiving Night against the Cardinal. Greene suffered an ACL injury in a win over South Carolina...Moore already asserting herself, needed to do more...23p-7r at Louisville, 13p-17r in a come from behind win at Syracuse where Mel Thomas tore her ACL. 28p-14r at Seton Hall, a spectacular 29 at LSU all dazzling. Perhaps with with the power and grace Maya played with, her best trait was her tenacity. March 1 at DePaul down one and Renee Montgomery at the line for three, missed 2 of 3, on the third, DePaul got the rebound and Missy Mitadero dribbled down the floor to kill time. What she didn't know is #23 in blue chasing her down, tipping the ball away to get a steal and the where all to call time out...It set up Keita Swanier's mad dash to the bucket and an epic comeback win...The Huskies won the Big East Crown. At the banquet before the Big East Tournament, the league had a first, it's Freshman of the Year was also it's Player of the Year..Maya Moore. Just shy of 18 ppg (678pts) 7.6 rebounds per game, 116 assists and 63 steals..A few weeks later, Moore was named a Consensus First Team All American. Prior to the Final Four though, UConn had business to attend to. Like trying to beat Rutgers for a third time to get to Tampa. Moore had a rough shooting night as the Huskies rallied in the second half. But with the game tied and baskets at a premium, Geno Auriemma drew up a play to get Maya open at the top of the key where she drained the go ahead three that put the Huskies up for good as UConn was off to the Final Four for the first time since 2004. Stanford had other ideas in the National Semi's however ...
The Huskies returned it's nucleus from the 2008 Final Four Team, Greene was healthy and two talented freshman in Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty joined the team...Other than an entertaining opening day win over Georgia Tech and a good battle in Cancun with Florida St before Christmas, the Huskies weren't challenged all season. As Moore, Montgomery and Charles were the key three in UConn's success. Moore and Montgomery huge in an early season win over Oklahoma. Renee 31p and 13a, Moore 27p-12r....In game #55 of Maya's Career, the Huskies hosted Syracuse in Hartford. The previous season the Huskies escaped the Carrier Dome with a win...the Orange saying the only difference between UConn & Syracuse ? UConn was #1...Big Mistake..Moore and Caroline Doty set the tone early with a barrage of threes until Doty went down late first half with a torn ACL. Montgomery picked up the slack while Maya kept firing. Not only becoming the fastest UConn player to 1,000pts, but she set the UConn single game record with 10 three's made and 40 points. 10 of 18 the Huskies made that day in blowing out the Orange...Later in the Big East Tournament, where she again was Player of the Year, she dominated the Tournament and closed out with a 10/13, 6/9 from three effort against Louisville in the Final the earned her the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player....With Charles gaining confidence with every game in the post and Montgomery and Moore moving the ball unselfishly, the Huskies played great in the NCAA's..Moore averaging 21ppg as the Huskies rolled into the Final Four. First beating Stanford and then Louisville again to win the National Championship. 39-0 with three All Americans. Charles, Montgomery and the Moore, who as a Sophomore was named the Consensus National Player of the Year. 754 points (19pg) 348 rebounds (8.9pg) 127 assists, 76 steals...
And in case anyone was wondering, other than Montgomery graduating, everyone else was back from the 39-0 champs. Add Kelly Faris to the mix as a freshman and Kaili McLaren gaining momentum, the Huskies were again the favorites to win it all. And the two headed monster of Moore and Tina Charles dominated. Maya 20-11-4 blocks against Texas that included another block from behind due to spectacular hustle, 23-9 against Stanford before Christmas, 20-11 v Notre Dame as Gameday came to a Women's venue for the first time...an amazing 38p-20r night in Syracuse...Another Big East Title and Tournament Crowns added..But this Season the hardware belonged to Tina Charles. She was Player of the Year while Moore joined Tina as unanimous first team picks....Back to another Final Four and more hardware..Both Charles and Moore were consensus first team All Americans, Charles won most of the National POY Hardware...Maya did win the Wade Trophy. But work to be done, beat an up and coming Baylor Team in San Antonio featuring 6-8 Freshman Brittany Griner. While Charles 'sky hooked' her way to a 20+ point effort, Maya did her part...34 points and 12 boards in a 70-50 win..The Final against Stanford...the worst first half in a title game ever...20-12 at the half with Stanford on top. UConn with just 5 field goals. But the final 20 minutes belonged to Moore and the Huskies. 23 points in the Title Game, most in the second half. As UConn won it's 78th straight game and second consecutive National Championship with a win where Maya was the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player where she averaged 24ppg in the Tournament...for the season 736 points (18.9pg) 325 rebounds (8.3pg) 150 assists (3.8pg) and 82 steals.
Now there was work to be done..Maya was back for the 2010-11 season and so was Tiffany Hayes and Kelly Faris. Now a new group of Freshman were needed to fill voids as Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson were thrown in the mix immediately. But Moore was the focal point. 27 games of 20+ points, 2 + 30 and a career high 41....It started with 30 in a narrow win against Baylor, 30 more in her homecoming game at Georgia Tech, and 26 against LSU..In early December, Maya passed her former Teammate Tina Charles to become the schools All Time Leading Scorer in a win over Sacred Heart in Hartford. 31 against Marquette, 22-7-5-4 against Ohio State at MSG...The program's 88th straight win...Tying them with John Wooden's UCLA Teams of the early 70's for longest win streak. It fell a few nights later in a win over Florida State in Hartford where Moore scored a career high 41. The streak ended at 90 a week later when the Huskies were beaten at Stanford. Maya just continued to pile up the Numbers as UConn again won both the Big East Regular Season and Tournament Titles.Scoring 23 with 8 boards on Senior Night in Storrs where her #23 joined the Huskies of Honor. Moore earning her 3rd Big East POY Honor, then Huskies battled thru the NCAA's in an attempt to Three Peat. Georgetown, who UConn played for the third time in a month gave them a tussle in the Sweet 16. Moore 23p-14r in the win...Then against Duke in the Regional Final, Moore and her teammates used a huge second half to pull away...Maya 28p-10r and her last basket got her to 3,000 points. The run for a third straight title was stopped by Notre Dame in the National Semi's...Moore's last game a 36 point performance. Maya's senior year a memorable one..A program record 868 points (22.8pg) 313 rebounds (8.2pg) 151 assists (4.0) and 89 steals...Once again Moore was named the Consensus National Player of the Year.
In Maya Moore's Four year run in Storrs, she never really hit the Freshman Wall in year one and never stopped. Top Ten Numbers in so many categories: 3,036pts (#1), 154 games (T3)m 19.7ppg (#1), 1,171 FG made (#1), 311 3ptr made (#4) where the trailer three was her specialty...1,276 rebounds (#2) 544 assists (#8) 310 steals (#4) 204 blocks (#8) and #3 in double doubles with 50....All but 5 games in double figures, 65-20+ games, 12-30+ and 2-40+...Career Record at UConn, 150-4..
Maya didn't stop winning when she left UConn...As the #1 overall pick by the Minnesota Lynx, she helped them win 4 WNBA Titles (11, 13, 15 & 17) was the Rookie of the Year in 2011, the Finals MVP in 2013, League MVP in 2014. A Six Time All Star (3x Game MVP) 5x First Team WNBA, 3 straight Titles in China and 2 more in the EuroLeague..And yes, she's played on 2 Olympic Champions playing for Geno Auriemma and with the likes of Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash, Asija Jones, Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart..
But as most of you know, her best win came just recently. She gave up the WNBA after the 2018 season to fight for a change in our justice system. Moore is a Christian, raised by her mother Katherine, her grandparents and god parents. And with hard work and help from many, Maya Moore fought to overturn the wrongful conviction of Jonathan Irons from the Jefferson City Correctional Center in Missouri. On July 1st of this year, Irons was released and yes, in the midst of a Pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement, Moore is a Hero !!
If you ever need some comic relief, Maya too can act a little..Check out Kyrie Irving's Uncle Drew Series...in episode three, Maya plays the role of "Betty Lou"...where she can ball with Kyrie and Nate Robinson....
When people ask who the best player to ever play at UConn is, It comes down to Maya, Diana and Stewie. I'll leave that to others...But Maya might be the most complete player ever to wear the National Flag Blue...and it's only four time All American....Maya April Moore, forever a UConn Legend on and off the court.