LINCOLN — A first-round pick — to one of the best teams in the league. That’s a pro basketball deal that former Nebraska point guard Lindsey Moore will easily accept.
Moore — who set NU records for career games, starts, wins and assists — was the 12th and final pick of the first round in Monday’s WNBA draft. The team that picked her — the Minnesota Lynx — won the 2011 WNBA title and lost in the 2012 finals. The Lynx also were the highest-scoring team in the league last year.
“I’m ecstatic,” Moore said in a phone interview. “Absolutely. The WNBA has the best players in the world, and to be a part of that is exciting.”
Moore said the same of her initial role as understudy to one of the best point guards in the league, Lindsay Whalen, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.4 assists per game last year for the Lynx. The All-WNBA point guard in 2011, Whalen also won a 2012 gold medal as part of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, as did fellow Lynx veterans Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore.
Lindsey Moore called Whalen “completely a role model” for how the point guard position should be played.
“She just makes everyone around her more successful,” Moore said. “It’s really cool to watch. I’m going to be able to learn a lot and not be thrown to the wolves.”
On the Lynx’s website, assistant coach Shelley Patterson praised Moore’s ability “to adapt to whatever the team needs.”
“Offensively, she can be a distributor, but if she needs to she can be a scorer,” Patterson said. “She can shoot the 3, or she can drive to the basket and finish at the rim.”
One of 12 players invited to ESPN’s studios for the WNBA draft, Moore said the Lynx selection came at the end of a whirlwind day. She and the other 11 players got to meet several ESPN employees — especially those who focus on women’s sports. Moore’s parents sat with her during the draft, while Husker assistant Sunny Smallwood, who recruited Moore out of high school, also made the trip to Bristol, Conn.
Unsurprisingly, Baylor’s Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky) and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock) were the top three picks of the WNBA draft. ESPN analysts quickly anointed the Mercury as a favorite to win the WNBA title after adding Griner.
Moore is Nebraska’s third first-round WNBA draft pick. Kelsey Griffin went fifth in 2010, while Nicole Kubik went 15th. Other NU players to be drafted or play in the WNBA are Cory Montgomery, Vonnie Turner, Kiera Hardy, Danielle Page and Anna DeForge. DeForge is the only former Husker who was a WNBA All-Star.
Moore joins a team full of All-Stars that finished 27-7 last year and expects to contend for a third straight year for the WNBA title.
“Just to be part of a championship team,” Moore said, “is amazing.”
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