WNBA great Maya Moore retires from basketball officially – On Her Turf | NBC Sports

Maya Moore has officially decided to retire from playing basketball.
The Minnesota Lynx great stepped away from the WNBA in 2019 to help her now-husband Jonathan Irons win his release from jail by getting his 50-year sentence overturned in 2020. After gaining his release, Irons married Moore soon after and the couple had their first child, Jonathan Jr., in July.
Moore had been non-committal about ever playing basketball again.
“Well, I think it’s time to put a close to the pro basketball life,” Moore said. “I walked away four seasons ago, but wanted to officially retire. This is such a sweet time for us and our family. The work we’ve done. I want to continue that in our next chapter. Be home for my community and family. … That’s what I’m moving into. Hanging it up.”
The 33-year-old Moore won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx, two Olympic gold medals with USA Basketball and two NCAA titles with UConn.
“On behalf of the Minnesota Lynx organization, I want to congratulate Maya on an incredible basketball career,” Lynx coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve said. “We will always cherish her time in a Lynx uniform and we wish her the best as she continues to pursue this next chapter of her life.”
Moore will be eligible for the Naismith Hall of Fame next year since she stopped playing four years ago.
Moore was one of the rare athletes to leave their sport in the prime of their career. She was drafted No. 1 by the Lynx in 2011 and averaged 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the Lynx. She was the league’s MVP in 2014 as well as winning Rookie of the Year.
She finished her career as the Lynx franchise leader in scoring average, 3-point field goals made (530) and steals (449) and finished second in total points scored (4,984), field goals made (1,782), assists (896) and blocks (176).
“Maya Moore has forever left a mark on the state of Minnesota, the Minnesota Lynx franchise and the hearts of Lynx fans everywhere,” Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor said. “Maya’s accolades are numerous; her leadership and talent both fearless and inspirational set the foundation for the most exciting and historic championship run in the league from 2011-2017. While today culminates Maya’s basketball career, there is no doubt she will continue to impact the game we all love. We wish Maya all the best and will root for her always.”
Moore went 150-4 in her illustrious career at UConn. The two-time AP Player of the Year was a key part of the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak that was the longest-ever until the school had an 111-game run a few years later.
Women’s sports fans have lots to look forward to in 2023: From the return of Brittney Griner to the WNBA court to the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup to several new GOAT watches (we see you, Mikaela Shiffrin!), the new year is already chock full of storylines we can’t wait to see play out. On Her Turf looks at several stories we’ll be following when the calendar flips into January and beyond.

The return of Brittney Griner

It seemed like the entire sports world at large breathed a collective sigh of relief when WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison on Dec. 8 after nearly 10 months of detention. Just eight days later, the eight-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist infused fans with even more glee when she stated her plans to be on court and wearing her familiar No. 42 for the Phoenix Mercury when the league kicks off its 27th season on May 19.

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What’s more, we’ll have at least four more opportunities to watch her play in 2023, as the WNBA increased its regular-season schedule to a record-high 40 games per team — up four games from last season. For the Mercury in particular, Griner’s return also means a reunion with teammate and 10-time All-Star Diana Taurasi, who announced in November that she’ll be returning for her 19th season in the league. Taurasi, who’s won three WNBA titles with Phoenix and five Olympic gold medals with Team USA, ended her season early last year after suffering a quadriceps injury in early August. Griner, who’s technically an unrestricted free agent, boasts career averages of 30.9 minutes per game and 17.7 points, and she was particularly dominant in the 2021 postseason where she averaged 21.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and shot 56.2 percent in Phoenix’s run to the WNBA Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Sky.
The Mercury will visit the Los Angeles Sparks for their season opener on May 19 before hosting the Chicago Sky in their home opener on May 21.
The countdown is on to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, July 20-Aug. 20, where the U.S. Women’s National Team will look to defend their 2019 title at the tournament cohosted by Australia and New Zealand. The four-time World Cup champs also have their sights set on a historic three-peat, after taking the title in 2015 and 2019. The U.S. women could become the first team in either the women’s or men’s game to win three successive World Cups.
The current USWNT includes a healthy mix of newcomers and veterans, led by Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Megan Rapinoe, winner of both the Golden Boot and Golden Ball in 2019. But an infusion of new talent is already capturing attention, led by former Stanford teammates Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma, and 20-year-old Trinity Rodman, who was a Ballon d’Or finalist this year. Smith, a member of the 2022 NWSL championship-winning Portland Thorns, earned league MVP honors, while Girma won both Rookie and Defender of the Year awards last season.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of this new-look USWNT in the new year, including next month in New Zealand, where they’ll play a two-game series (Jan. 17 and 20) against the co-host nation. The U.S. women kick off their title defense Friday, July 21, with their first World Cup Group E match vs. tournament newcomer Vietnam.
To say the last week of the year was a momentum builder is an understatement for alpine racer Mikaela Shiffrin, who swept three straight World Cup races – two giant slalom, one slalom – in Semmering, Austria, to bring her career total to 80 wins. The number puts her two wins away from the women’s record of 82 wins, held by fellow American Lindsey Vonn, and six wins away from the all-time record of 86 held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.
The 27-year-old Shiffrin, who’s won six races this season and is on a four-win streak, could tie Vonn’s record as early as next week in Zagreb, Croatia, which will host slalom races on Jan. 4 and 5. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has four previous slalom victories at Zagreb and finished second there in 2020 and 2022.
Also chasing an American legend for all-time honors is swimming great Katie Ledecky, who heads into 2023 as the AP Female Athlete of the Year, earning the honor for the second time in her career. Ledecky edged out track star Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone in balloting after winning all four of her races at the FINA World Championships in June, setting two world records in the process and becoming the first swimmer to win five consecutive world titles in one individual event (800m freestyle).
She now owns 22 career world championships medals, including 19 gold, which bests the previous U.S. women’s record of 20, held by Natalie Coughlin (eight gold). Ledecky’s 19th career gold at 2022 worlds broke a tie with Ryan Lochte for the second-most in history and puts her just seven back of Michael Phelps (26). She’ll take aim at another all-time record this July at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, where just one in individual world title would tie her with Phelps’ record of 15.
The ultimate women’s team golf event heads to an intriguing new venue, Finca Cortesin Golf Club in Andalucia, Spain. The club played host to the men’s Volvo World Match Play Championship three times from 2009-2012 and will serve as the biennial event’s backdrop for its 18th edition. The European squad, winners of the last two matches at Inverness Club in Ohio (2021) and Gleneagles in Scotland (2019), will be captained by Norway’s two-time major winner Suzann Pettersen, who boasts an 18-12-6 record overall in nine Solheim Cup appearances. The 15-time LPGA winner is known for her mic-drop moment at the 2019 matches, where she holed the winning putt for the Europeans after being away from the game on maternity leave for nearly 20 months prior to the event.
For the Americans, who have won the cup 10 times in the matches’ history, they’ll look to win the cup for the first time since 2017 and the first time on foreign soil since 2015 in Germany. Stacy Lewis, a four-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member (5-10-1 overall record), will serve as captain of the American squad, which perhaps for the first time could be considered the underdogs. Currently, there are six Americans in the top 30 of the Rolex Rankings compared to seven European players. The calendar date – set for Sept. 18-24 – should give the matches an added boost, too, as they fall one week before the men’s Ryder Cup in Rome.
The South Carolina women’s basketball team hasn’t missed a beat since winning the 2022 NCAA national championship last April, blazing through six post-season games including a 64-49 win over UConn in the tournament final. And the Gamecocks have kicked off the 2022-23 season with a 12-game win streak, maintaining their hold of the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll for 27 consecutive weeks.
The Gamecocks reached a milestone in the process, with their 27-week streak marking the fifth-longest run of all time. UConn holds the record for the longest streak at 51 weeks, dating from Feb. 18, 2008, to Dec. 10, 2010. Louisiana Tech has the second longest at 36 weeks, and the Huskies also hold the third and fourth spots on the list, with 34- and 30-week runs at No. 1. South. Carolina started last season at No. 1 and hasn’t relinquished the ranking since. With more than eight weeks left in the regular season, the Gamecocks are on track to keep climbing the all-time list.
Whether or not they’ll repeat as national champions remains to be seen, but it would mark the third national title for head coach Dawn Staley, who also was at the helm for South Carolina’s 2017 championship win over Mississippi State. Staley has four starters back this season, including 2022 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Aliyah Boston, Victaria Saxton, Brea Beal and Zia Cooke (only Destanni Henderson graduated). Boston, who’s averaging 12.4 points and 9.6 rebounds and is expected to be a frontrunner for various player-of-the-year awards again this season.
It was June 21, 1973 – the eve of Wimbledon Championships – when the already nine-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King called a players’ meeting at London’s Gloucester Hotel that would change the course of women’s professional tennis. Frustrated by the obvious gender inequity and an establishment that split the talent pool among competing circuits, King spearheaded the players’ efforts to formally join forces and pioneer their own destiny. Since then, what began as a players’ union has morphed into member association between athletes and the more than 50 tournaments on six continents, boasting parity in all Grand Slam prize money since 2007. Heading into 2023, the WTA notes that 32 countries are represented in the Top 100 of the WTA rankings, with more than 900 million fans worldwide expected to take in tour action next year.
To celebrate, the organization has unveiled a season-long campaign that will pay tribute to the game’s legends as well as its current stars — but through a lens focused on the future. Called “WTA 50: Just Starting,” the campaign will highlight not only what can be done to improve the sporting landscape for women around the world, but also how the WTA can “effectively champion equality and inclusivity for all.” Cheers to the next 50 years!
Danielle Serdachny scored with 2:44 left in overtime to lift Team Canada past Team USA in Game 5 of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series on Monday night at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The 21-year-old Serdachny, making just her second national team start, gave Canada a 3-2 win and cut the U.S. lead to 3-2 in the seven-game series.
Also scoring for Canada was 28-year-old Laura Stacey and 22-year-old Sarah Fillier, both of whom recorded their first goals of the series. Ella Shelton and Emily Clarke recorded assists on Stacey’s goal, with Brianne Jenner and Marie-Philip Poulin assisting on Fillier’s tally. Emerance Maschmeyer made 32 saves in net.
“Honestly, I just jumped off the bench,” Stacey told the NHL Network following her goal. “Ella had the puck in the middle and I kinda saw a free lane and she made the perfect pass on my stick. I don’t know what I saw, to be honest, but I just tried to kind of get in the way of the defense been there — I think it was (Megan) Keller — and put it on net and good things happen, I guess.”
Fillier’s goal with 2:54 left in the second ended a power-play drought for Canadians, who had gone scoreless in 16 previous opportunities in the series. Poulin’s assist marked career point No. 199 for the team captain, who was recently inducted into Boston University’s Hall of Fame. Earlier this month, Poulin became the first female hockey player to be named Canada’s Athlete of the Year, and she now stands fifth on the Canadian women’s all-time scorer list.
The Americans opened the scoring in first when 23-year-old Cayla Barnes – the only member of the U.S. roster who is from Southern California (Eastvale, Calif.) – scored her first goal in her second appearance in the series. The goal, assisted by Amanda Kessel and Kendall Coyne Schofield, unleashed an epic teddy-bear toss, with the stuffed animals gathered as donations to the Salvation Army.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said Barnes, who plays college hockey for Boston. “You know, family and friends are here. And just to get that first one in early is incredible.”
t’s awesome to see the young fanbase here,” added Barnes, who played her 14U hockey for the Los Angeles Kings Jr. Kings. “I didn’t have that visibility when I was younger, so just for them to be able to see us play here and see that they can do it is just an awesome experience for them.”
Also scoring her first goal in the series for the U.S. was 22-year-old Taylor Heise, who tied the game at 2-2 in the third. The University of Minnesota forward was the leading scorer in the NCAA with 34 points, earning her the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
The Rivalry Series continues in February, with the final two games being played on Canadian ice. Host cites will be announced in early 2023.
The December roster returns 19 players from the 2022 U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team that captured silver in Beijing in February. Those returners include Cayla Barnes, Hannah Brandt, Alex Carpenter, Jesse Compher, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Jincy Dunne, Savannah Harmon, Caroline Harvey, Nicole Hensley, Megan Keller, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knight, Abbey Murphy, Kelly Pannek, Maddie Rooney, Abby Roque, Hayley Scamurra, Lee Stecklein and Grace Zumwinkle.
All 23 players that represented the U.S. at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Herning, Denmark, are on December’s roster, as are 11 players from the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team that won gold in PyeongChang, where they beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout. Those players include Barnes, Brandt, Coyne Schofield, Kali Flanagan, Hensley, Keller, Kessel, Knight, Pannek, Rooney and Stecklein. Rounding out the roster are 2022 Olympian Abbey Murphy and 18-year-old Tessa Janecke, the youngest player on the U.S. roster who is made her national team debut last Friday.
The Canadians’ December roster features 16 players who won gold medals at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship and 2022 Olympic Winter Games: Ashton Bell, Kristen Campbell, Emily Clark, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Renata Fast, Sarah Fillier, Brianne Jenner, Jocelyne Larocque, Emerance Maschmeyer, Sarah Nurse, Marie-Philip Poulin, Jamie Lee Rattray, Ella Shelton, Laura Stacey, Blayre Turnbull and Micah Zandee-Hart. Two-time Olympian Jill Saulnier returned to the lineup, with Julia Gosling making her first international appearance in more than a year. Two players made their national team debut this month — Megan Carter and Danielle Serdachny.
The Rivalry Series, introduced by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada during the 2018-19 season, is designed as an annual showcase of the highest level of women’s hockey at various locations in the United States and Canada. The first series comprised three games between the two national teams, with Canada winning 2-1. Team USA took 2019-20 title, winning the expanded five-game series 4-1 and wrapping with an overtime win in the finale in front of a then-record-breaking total of 13,320 fans in Anaheim, California.
Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the Rivalry Series resumed this season with seven games over three months: three in November, two in December and two in February. Game 3 on Nov. 20, 2022, set a new U.S. attendance record as 14,551 fans turned out to see Team USA beat Canada 4-2, at Climate Pledge Arena.
Game 1, Nov. 15: USA 4, CAN 3, SO — The seven-game series kicked off last month with Team USA grabbing a 2-0 lead off goals from Hannah Brandt and Hilary Knight. But Canada battled back with three unanswered goals and held a 3-2 lead with 13 minutes to go in the third. With just 1:29 remaining in regulation, Alex Carpenter tied it for the Americans, sending the game to overtime. The U.S. ultimately won in a shootout, with Knight and Carpenter scoring while U.S. goalie Nicole Hensley made two key saves. Series score: USA leads 1-0.
Game 2, Nov. 17: USA 2, CAN 1  Canada was first to get on the board when Marie-Philip Poulin capitalized off a penalty shot opportunity in the second period, but USA’s Kendall Coyne Schofield knotted the score just 1:12 later. Alex Carpenter scored the go-ahead tally with 6:36 remaining in the third to give the U.S. a 2-1 win and a 2-0 series lead. U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney recorded 19 saves in net. Series score: USA leads 2-0.
Game 3, Nov. 20: USA 4, CAN 2 — Team USA’s Hilary Knight had two goals and one assist to lead the U.S. women to a 4-2 win over Canada. Savannah Harmon and Abby Roque also scored for the U.S., which notched three consecutive wins against Canada for the first time since 2019. Goalie Nicole Hensley made 22 saves in front of a record-setting crown at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, where fan attendance totaled 14,551. Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse scored for  Canada. Series score: USA leads 3-0.
Game 4, Dec. 19: CAN 3, USA 2  — Sarah Nurse scored the go-ahead goal with less than five minutes remaining to secure Team Canada’s first win of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series, winning 3-2 last Thursday at Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nev. Team USA’s Amanda Kessel opened the scoring late in the first, but Canada responded in the middle frame with two goals by Jamie Lee Rattray and Blayre TurnbullHilary Knight tied the game for USA in the third, but Nurse’s goal put Team Canada over the top. Goaltender Kristen Campbell made 21 saves for Canada, while Maddie Rooney made 13 saves in net for the U.S. Series score: USA leads 3-1.
Following Monday’s loss, the U.S. holds a 6-2-2-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record over Canada all time in the Rivalry Series. Canada won the 2018-19 Rivalry Series with a 2-0-0-1 record, while the U.S. won the 2019-20 Rivalry Series with a 3-1-1-0 record.
Overall, Monday marked meeting No. 172 between Canada and the U.S., the 58th meeting on U.S. ice and the second ever in California. Monday was the second time the Rivalry Series has visited California, following a Feb. 8, 2020, meeting at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Canada holds the edge in the overall (97-74-1) and in games played in the States (32-25-1). Of note, the U.S. and Canada have battled in the gold-medal game of six of seven Winter Olympics and 20 of 21 IIHF Women’s World Championship, with the two exceptions being the 2019 World Championship and 2006 Olympics. The Canadian women are the reigning Olympic and World champions.


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