After winning an Olympic gold medal and coming within minutes of taking home a WNBA championship, Maya Moore decided to do something that she hadn’t done since she entered the league in the 2011-12 season.
She stayed home during the offseason – likely giving up a sizable chunk of her income and a chance at another title. And she was joined by two other veteran starters on the Minnesota Lynx: Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen, who also won gold medals at the Olympics in 2016.
For a WNBA team – even a top one – it’s a rare occurrence. Because WNBA salaries top out in the low six figures, the majority of the league goes overseas to earn some cash – and some championship trophies. Even if that means overlapping seasons and coming home to play in the WNBA on only a few days’ rest.
Moore, for example, played a full WNBA season in 2015, then took a few weeks off before joining her team in China for 15 games. Then, in late February, she attended a USA Basketball mini-camp and started the 2016 WNBA season in May. That season was interrupted by the Olympics, where she played on the gold-medal winning team before returning home to finish out the WNBA season that extended to one of the toughest WNBA final series in recent memory.
“There’s a lot that we pour out when we’re playing pretty much year round,” Moore said this week. “I know that I definitely benefited from having the full rest … I think I have more to give during this WNBA season because of that time when I pressed pause and reset so I’m definitely really glad with my decision to take that extra rest in the offseason.”
Though it’s a small sample size, the Lynx seem to have started the season using all of the advantages of having most of their roster in training camp. They got out to a 3-0 start to sit atop early WNBA standings.
“I think to have your team together as long as possible, I think there are obvious advantages,” said Lynx guard Renee Montgomery, who played overseas in Poland during the offseason. “First of…