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Maya Moore was the Best Player in Either Final Four

There’s no shame in the headline that you’re reading for this post. After what I’ve seen from every team in the Final Four, the best player on the court has easily been Maya Moore, and yes that includes the players in Indianapolis as well. If we want to call good basketball a game that is poorly officiated, filled with missed opportunities, and when the WINNING TEAM goes over 12 minutes without a field goal, then go right ahead (Butler-Michigan State on Saturday night). If we wanna call good basketball a game where one team thoroughly dominates the other, a game when the outcome was never in doubt, then that’s fine as well (West Virginia-Duke on Saturday night). However, the same should be said when you see a game that is officiated well, full of tremendous defense, epic performances, and one when the best freshman in college basketball is given quality basketball education before our very eyes.

Okay, look at it like this: on the most fundamental level of basketball, when a player is being fronted in the post, has a defender behind them, as well as a third on the wing, and when they catch the ball, three people swarm them, the most logical option is to pass it to an open teammate and pray they make a shot. Kobe, Wade, LeBron, Shaq (in his heyday), or any other offensive player can’t handle that, and that’s what Brittney Griner, an 18-year-old playing in her first Final Four, dealt with the entire first half. UConn is great, but if Baylor has more depth, that game would have been much closer, and Baylor would have definitely got the lead in the second half. Whether they would have kept it is unknown, but once they made that furious rally in the second half, with Kim Mulkey losing her damn religion on the sideline (she’s now one of my ten favorite coaches in all of basketball), UConn didn’t have an answer at all. The crowd was going ballistic, Geno was incredulous, furious, and even a lil…scared, and I was KICKING MYSELF for not making the four-hour drive to see it in person. Sadly, Baylor pretty much ran out of gas from that point on, and UConn capitalized…which leads me back to The Great Maya April Moore.

The same can be said for the National Championship game against Stanford. UConn wasn’t worth a damn in the first half, and it looked like Stanford was well on their way to victory, but once Moore got rolling, everyone else followed. I understand Tina Charles is the Naismith Player of the Year (courtesy of Dr. Best), but I feel that Moore is on another level from any other player in women's college basketball. She can score at will, rebound, defend, and is an outstanding leader.

She put together the best performances I saw from the men’s or the women’s side during the Final Four, and the only way someone can disagree is if they either didn’t watch any of the games, don’t appreciate true basketball, or just refuse to give women’s basketball any credit. Seriously, someone has to be able to make a true case for a better performance from a player than what I saw in San Antonio. Remember, it's one thing to disagree, and it's another thing to discredit. It’s funny, because when you have two ultra-competitive teams playing each other, you’re guaranteed to see a competitive game. That’s what was out there on Sunday night, and that’s what was out there last night.

As said on this very site last week, what the Huskies have accomplished is beyond outstanding. To win consecutive national championships, and go undefeated while doing so, is nothing short of amazing. They’re ten games away from tying UCLA’s 88-game winning streak, and when next season starts, I can’t wait to see them march towards history. As long as they have #23 on the court, they’ll be just fine.

-K. Masenda


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