|ESPN.com: Athlete's Life||[Print without images]|
|The biggest difference Maya Moore has noticed in her first Euroleague season? The importance of defense. Every player on the floor is a capable shooter.|
I can't believe it's already 2012 -- the Olympic year just kind of snuck up on us. I think a lot of people feel that way. It's fun to think about all the opportunities coming up, though. Everything I've done since graduating from UConn will prepare me -- if given the opportunity -- to contribute to the U.S. Olympic team this summer in London. Right now, I'm just taking one day at a time and focusing on what's ahead of me. There are four potential championships this year: the Euroleague, Spanish league, WNBA and the Olympics. Just being in the gym every day knowing a gold medal is possible is exciting.
|Maya Moore tries paella as she acclimates to life in Spain.|
Currently, I'm in Spain playing for Ros Casares Valencia. The biggest difference has got to be the language. I've never played under a coach or with teammates who don't speak English as their first language. It's one thing to have your coach yell at you in English, but in Spanish it's a whole different world! Most of the time the coach says a few things in English after the Spanish, and some teammates translate (we've also got women from Australia, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic, so we're kind of in the same boat).
Communication is really important to me -- at UConn it was huge. We worked at developing players who knew how to communicate on and off the court and I'm realizing how valuable that is! But I think I'm doing a good job of adjusting. I've learned a few words, like "screen," which is "bloqueo" in Spanish. If you're playing basketball, you need to learn that word quickly, or you'll learn it the hard way!
Plays, on the other hand, are plays in any language, so that's been OK. I've just been working to get to know my teammates -- where they like the ball and who can do what. I have some really talented teammates over here: Sancho Lyttle is really good at finishing alley-oops and Lauren Jackson [of Australia] likes the ball in the step-out spot for her turnaround-fadeaway on the baseline. One thing I've noticed though is everyone can shoot over here -- from the center to the point guard. So you have to be smart about rotations and helping out when you're playing defense.
Another different aspect of playing overseas is playing against a teammate. My first Euroleague away game was in Prague and I played against my Lynx teammate Lindsay Whalen. The last time I saw her, we were holding up a trophy together after winning the WNBA championship. My team got the win, though, so it made it a little better. That's the craziness of having two teams and seasons in one year.
Right now, I'm working to keep adding X's to the win column, learn more Spanish and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime year as it all unfolds. I'm gunning for four championships, after all!
Maya Moore will be blogging for espnW throughout 2012. Check back in March for more on her journey to win four titles this year.