Maya Moore arrives in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS -- In college, Maya Moore's challenge was to uphold UConn's long and storied legacy. With the Minnesota Lynx, she'll have an entirely different kind of challenge.
Moore will have to create a legacy for one of the league's most nondescript franchises.
The No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft arrived in Minnesota on Tuesday, one day after the desperate Lynx drafted her and immediately started billing her as a savior.
"It'll definitely be a challenge, but it's a new challenge," Moore said. "I'm looking forward to it. I think it will help me grow as a person and really expand my leadership and experience as a competitor."
Moore won two national titles and had a record 90-game winning streak at one point during her proud college career. Now she comes to a team that has made the playoffs just twice since entering the league in 1999.
She joins a team with plenty of big names -- Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Candice Wiggins -- but little history of success. Augustus and Wiggins have battled injuries and Whalen is starting her second season of playing back in her home state.
The Lynx went 13-21 last season, but Moore's arrival has instantly raised the bar.
"Every year the first pick has a chance to make a difference," Lynx vice president Roger Griffith said. "Every once in awhile, that first pick is above the ordinary No. 1 pick and this is one of those years."
Moore grew up in the spotlight as one of the most decorated players in women's college basketball history, so she says she is prepared to handle the attention, expectations and demands of being a star in the Twin Cities.
She plans on being more than just a star forward, too. She plans on being a pitchwoman for a franchise that toils under the radar all summer long.
"In college you probably don't have to work as hard necessarily on selling your team and getting people to be more active in that part of it," she said. "The WNBA is a lot younger than women's college basketball. ... I think I'll get a more active role in really reaching out to the fans and exposing them to our great game."
She got a running start Tuesday, when she spent the day making the rounds to various media outlets to grant interviews on a rare day when the Lynx grabbed headlines.
She'd only been there for a few hours and could already tell how hungry everyone is for a winner -- in any sport. The Timberwolves have lost 14 straight games and could finish the season with the worst record in the NBA. The Vikings imploded last season after making the NFC title game a year ago and the Wild haven't made the playoffs since 2008.
"We were in meeting some of the staff and they were just saying the reaction of the season ticket holders were just enormous," Moore said. "That's really exciting.
"Everybody's super excited. They have signs. They're wearing T-shirts. You can feel it. That's what we love to play for."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press