Moore transferring, breaking more than a few UofL hearts

Mariya Moore is transferring, taking lots of good memories with her (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Mariya Moore broke more than a few hearts when the news broke of her decision to leave the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Like the girlfriend who breaks up without giving any reason, shaking one’s self-confidence.

Happy trails to Mariya Moore.

Hard to believe she’s gone, with all she’s been through in three seasons. She and Myisha Hines-Allen were team leaders during their sophomore and junior years, seemingly synonymous with UofL women’s basketball, ready for a big senior year.

A reminder that while “Louisville First, Cards Forever” is a good slogan, the players, often from distant locations, often have other priorities. The suggestion here is that Mariya wanted to be closer to her family in California. 

No indications of where she will wind up playing next. She could possibly wind up at St. Mary’s College, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Moraga, Calif.. where her grandfather and an uncle played basketball. Coincidentally her sister, Minyan, is transferring from Southern Cal after only one season there. 

The only hint of any discontent for Mariya was a one-game suspension in late February, with no explanation forthcoming. Moore started 36 games this season, averaging 12 points per outing, winding up with 1,365 points over three seasons.

One of Mariya’s most memorable games may have been her final game at the KFC Yum! Center. She would connect on five of five 3-point attempts, for 19 points to lead UofL to 74-65 win over a resurging University of Tennessee in the second round the NCAA tournament.

During her inaugural 2014-15 season, she would score 28 points in a victory over North Carolina. The next season she would lead UofL to a come-from-behind win at North Carolina State, scoring 24 points of 31 points in the second half.

For whatever reason, Moore was not invested in completing her career at UofL. That’s unfortunate for Mriya’s UofL fans, but hopefully her exit provides more opportunity for others committed to making the program reach the next level.  

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Cierra Johnson and Brianna Jones are transferring, too, both of them looking for more playing time. Johnson, a freshman becomes the second 6-foot-3 plus player to transfer in the past two years, following in the footsteps of Erin DeGrate. Jones played sparingly during three seasons at UofL.

 

Mariya Moore’s turn to shine, Louisville women edge Miami

Mariya Moore is not shy when it comes to shooting or rebounding, notching 24 points and 7 rebounds (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

One never knows who’s going to grab the reins, assume the leadership role in a game for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team, especially in grinders against top 20 opponents. 

Take your pick from Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr or Mariya Moore. When one or more of them is having an off-game, count on at least one of them to be having an exceptional game. On Sunday it was Mariya Moore’s turn in the spotlight, putting the team on her shoulders in a 63-59 win over Miami.

Moore seemed to have an answer every time Miami got close, scoring eight of her game-high 24 points during the fourth quarter. She dropped in her fourth 3-pointer to give UofL a five-point lead after Miami had cut the margin to two points.

Fun, fun, fun for the crowd of 10,016 at the KFC Yum! Center, especially for the fan wearing the Lamar Jackson tux (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

“Mariya wanted the ball today,” said Walz. “When she wants the ball, she screams for it. If you’re open and don’t get the ball, it’s because they don’t see you. You have to yell for it. She hit a big basket (a 3-pointer) going into half time.”

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Mariya Moore to UofL’s 1,000-point club

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Big night for Mariya Moore in a 63-47 win for the University of Louisville over Chattanooga in a college women’s basketball game at the KFC Yum! Center.  She was her team’s leading scorer with only nine points but those were enough to put the junior forward in UofL’s Thousand Point Club. 

Moore is the 25th player in the program history to exceed 1,000 points in her career. She was honored by Coach Jeff Walz with a commemorative ball after achieving the milestone.

UofL’s all-time leading scorer is Angel McCoughtry with 2,779 points, followed by Shoni Schimmel with 2,174, Nell Knox with 1,899, Jazz Covington with 1,804, and Kristin Maddox with 1,737. (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Jeff Walz sees his team again at press conference


Jeff Walz was hit hard by the flu bug over the weekend, and he hasn’t been the same since. He coached the team from a balcony overlooking the court on Monday, not wanting to infect members of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team.

He intended to coach them on Tuesday, getting out of his sick bed, hopping in his car to go to practice. “I got halfway there and had to pull over to the side of the road and go back home,” he said, without providing graphic details.  “I’m not 100% now but I’m feeling better, probably 80%. I should be okay by Friday.”Jeff Walz

He was seated at a table at an NCAA press conference Thursday, alongside Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore and Asia Durr. “This is about as close as I have been to the team in about five days. I’m very fortunate to have a great staff.  They know exactly what we’re trying to do and what we’re going to do. We all have each other’s backs, it’s something we pride ourselves on here.”

The coach’s eyes seem to light up as he heard his players discuss their commitment to getting better on defense going into Friday’s NCAA game against Arkansas Central.

“The coaches have been stressing defense all week,” said Hines-Allen. “When we played Syracuse (a loss in the ACC tournament), we didn’t play defense. Offensively, we can play with a lot of teams, we just need to work on defense.”

“Defense, defense, defense,” said Moore. “We’ve done a lot of work on defense and we need to be at our strongest in tournament play.”

Music to Walz’s ears, the coach with the bleary eyes actually managing a smile.

“The tournament is what we’ve been preparing for for six months,” he said. “If you have a bad day in the tournament, we’re done. You might not make shots,  you might not do something you normally do well but you have to figure out a way to have a positive impact. If you’re not on the floor, be cheering.

“We played enough basketball now that our freshmen are no longer freshmen. Youth is not an excuse. We’re prepared, they’re prepared. We hope it’s going to be a great weekend of basketball.”

That would put the effects of flu a distant memory.

Mariya Moore first team freshman All-America

Mariya Moore received some good news Wednesday, being named to the first team of the Associated Press 2015 All-American freshman team. She’s the second player from the University of Louisville women’s basketball team to earn the honor. Shoni Schimmel was the first.

Mariya Moore finishes with 28 points.
Mariya Moore earns place on first team AP All-America freshmen squad.

Moore led Louisville in scoring with 13.4 points per game,  including 62 three-pointers, 124 free throws and a free throw percentage of 80.5%. She had a total of 454 points and 121 assists in her freshman season, the fourth best ever in both categories.

She was named an Associated Press All-America honorable mention at the end of March has been selected for the Blue Ribbon and Coaches’ all-ACC second teams and all-freshman teams.

Myisha Hines-Allen was selected a third-team honoree on the Associated Press freshman team.  She averaged 11.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. She raised her game during the postseason, contributing a team-best 12.8 points on 55.8 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds per game.