Shock notebook: Moore plays big
BY MARK COOPER World Sports Writer
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
7/11/12 at 4:05 AM
With three of the Minnesota Lynx's five tallest players sidelined by injuries, the team needed Maya Moore to play bigger.
And despite her size disadvantage, the 6-foot star dominated the Tulsa Shock's interior players.
Moore scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds, working inside and outside. Many of her points came on contested or fallaway shots that the Tulsa defense could do nothing to stop.
"She's just a difficult matchup," Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said.
Moore was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 WNBA draft, out of Connecticut. The Shock, who had the worst record in the league the season before, had a 44.2 percent change of getting the pick but lost in the WNBA lottery to the Lynx, who had a 27.6 percent shot. Tulsa took 6-foot-8 Australian center Liz Cambage with the No. 2 pick. Cambage will join the Shock after the Olympics.
Moore said she played some power forward at UConn, so the switch to playing bigger was familiar.
"It's just going to be a different mindset," Moore said before Tuesday's game. "Got to battle, got to focus on rebounds a little more and just continue to be aggressive."
Hodges gets more comfortable: In her first game with the Shock, Roneeka Hodges often looked uptight on the court, seemingly too focused on being in the right place and unable to get into a rhythm with her shot.
She shot just 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-4 from 3-point range in Tulsa's loss to Connecticut last Friday. But on Tuesday, in her third game with Tulsa, she fit in.
"I think I felt a lot better today," Hodges said. "Of course, seeing one fall kind of made me feel a little better."
Hodges provided the largest contribution off the bench against Minnesota. She scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and made three 3s. She also played 22 minutes, an increase from the 13 and 16 minutes she played against Connecticut and Washington, respectively. As Riquna Williams, Tulsa's established sixth man, struggled, making just 2-of-7 from the field in 18 minutes, Hodges earned more time.
"In the first two games I was trying to find my way, really trying to fit in and learn what to do," Hodges said. "The timing of the shots, I think the more games that we play, that's going to get better."