27 September, 2014
05 October
Maya Moore (USA)
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Moore already looking over her shoulder

ISTANBUL (FIBA World Championship for Women) - Maya Moore may be playing the best basketball of her career and be one of the biggest box-office hits at the FIBA World Championship for Women, but don't expect the USA star to ease off the gas.

Crowned regular season MVP in the WNBA recently and the stand-out player in the WCBA, Moore has worldwide appeal and a very strong case to be described as the best player on the planet.

It was indeed a moniker given to her by Spain head coach Lucas Mondelo earlier this year in the wake of their continued title success together at Shanxi Rui Flame.

But as the USA now turn the page with a host of new arrivals, Moore is determined to avoid standing still and ensure the plaudits continue to come her way.

"Every day I get a little older, I certainly hope and expect to get better," said the Minnesota Lynx guard.

"But you can't do it alone and you need some great team-mates.

"I also do a lot in my off-season time to improve aspects of my game in order to be more efficient.

"I guess I am always looking to take advantage of the gifts I have in terms of my size and being a bigger guard.

"But there is just so much more to do if you want to become a complete basketball player and continue growing.

"For example, I really don't think I will ever be good enough with the ball in my hands to be able to say I have arrived as a playmaker or a decision-maker.

"There are so many areas of the game I want to grow in - and especially because I know these younger players are getting better every day as the women's game continues to evolve."

The theme of continuous improvement seems to define Moore and is perhaps one of the reasons she is at the stellar level she now finds herself.

Ask her where she has improved most since she stepped out at the event in 2010 and you can expect an emphatic response.

"Being a better defender and my guarding of perimeter players," she declared.

"I used to remember (earlier in my career) playing against European teams and getting killed as I chased guards coming round all the screens.

"I just wasn't used to that, but now it's my job to chase guards all over the floor in the WNBA.

"I think that's definitely been the big thing - along with maybe learning how to get to the hoop and free-throw line a little better.

"So much has happened in the last four years and it seems like such a long time ago.

"But I definitely feel so much older and wiser as a basketball player.

"I remember learning about the speed of the game and the poise that you need to play at this level.

"Looking back I have come on in leaps and bounds and still having Coach Auriemma there gives me more comfort, since I know his system now and what he expects from us.

"These experiences have helped me lead a little better now and just generally speaking, I feel a lot more comfortable being out on the floor," added the 25-year-old.

If the USA and Spain both advance to the latter stages as many people expect, it could result in Moore being pitched into battle against one of her biggest fans - none other than Mondelo himself.

"He is such a fun guy and very competitive," she said with a smile.

"I guess he will try find some schemes to slow me down.

"Unfortunately for him and all the other teams we will face, there are dangers and threats right through from spots one to 12.

"But either way, playing Spain later in the competition would be a really fun contest for me."

However, before Moore can contemplate such a meeting, she must firstly help USA navigate the opening phase in Istanbul against Angola, China and Serbia in Group D.